Deborah A. Gagnon

Professor of Psychology
"The Wells classroom is a supportive, respectful, and nurturing space where faculty and students learn together. I am constantly impressed by the engagement Wells students have with their education and with the world around them, and I think the students are equally impressed by how much the faculty truly care about both their academic and personal growth and development. At Wells, there are two things that are central to all we do: relationship and social justice. Integrity, accountability, and a clear conscience is guaranteed through a Code of Honor that is embraced by every member of the community; Wells grads take pride in carrying this Honor Code with them the rest of their lives. So you see, Wells provides not 'just' an education, but also the tools and values to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. To me, Wells is proof of what is possible in academia, and proof of the difference that educated and well lived lives can make in the world."
Zabriskie 308

Professor Gagnon enjoys exposing interconnections across the disciplines in her classes. She is as likely to be talking about art, literature, dance, or theater in her cognitive- or bio-based classes as she is to be talking about perception, attention, neurotransmitters, or the amygdala. Many of her courses feature service learning opportunities that connect the course material to the aims of social justice. Her primary area of scholarship in psychology focuses on language — how we perceive, produce, and use it — but her recent interests have migrated to strengths-based psychology, creative self-expression, service learning, and pedagogical scholarship. She especially enjoys working on research projects with others — students and colleagues alike. She is a recipient of the Doug Bernstein Award from the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology for her work on creative self-expression pedagogy and a recipient of the Award for Excellence in Academic Advising at Wells. Student evaluations consistently describe Professor Gagnon as a compassionate teacher and indeed, one of her primary aims in the classroom is to create a humane, compassionate, and nurturing environment in which all feel supported and encouraged to participate. Professor Gagnon believes that learning is inter-relational and that with a classroom environment of equality and mutual respect, we model the world we would like to see, and create a space where everyone feels safe to challenge themselves, expand their own "envelope," gain new perspectives and understanding, and grow.


1986 B.A. University at Buffalo, Psychology
1989 M.A. University at Buffalo, Psychology
1993 Ph.D. University at Buffalo, Cognitive Psychology
1993-1996 NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Albert Einstein Medical Center (Philadelphia), Neuropsychology Research Institute, Cognitive Neuropsychology

Select Publications

Gagnon, D.A., Moore, G.M., & Shanmuganathan, G.D.  (2014). Factors mediating between employee strategy awareness and commitment to organizational success. Journal of Management and Sustainability, 4 (4), 24-31.

Gagnon, D.A. (June, 2010).  This Is Your Brain on Technology: The Technology Exposure Effect.  Invited keynote address, New York Library Association, Ithaca, NY.

Gagnon, D., & Morfei, M. (January, 2007). Diversifying the Psychology Curriculum: Lessons Learned (or, When Worlds Collide). 29th Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), St. Petersburg Beach, FL.

Gagnon, D.A., Terlecki, M.S., Sweet, H., & Stoddart, R. (2006, August). Tapping the Creative: Using self-expressive methods in teaching psychology. Symposium presented at the 2006 American Psychological Association Convention, New Orleans, LA.

Courses Taught

Cognitive Psychology
Cognition & Culture
Biological Bases of Behavior
Sensation & Perception
Positive Psychology
Psychology & Art
Foundations & Methods in Psychology
Quantitative Methods
Senior Seminar in Psychology


Cognitive and Brain Science
Science, Health, and Values

Wells College promises a relevant liberal arts and sciences education. Intellectually challenging. Reinterpreted for today. Classroom teaching combined with hands-on learning. Wells graduates enter the world prepared for successful futures.

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