Psychology is a scientific discipline that seeks to understand and explain human and non-human behavior. Psychology is also a profession that requires both an empathetic understanding of people as individuals and an objective, clinical perspective that studies common characteristics of human behavior. To combine these two elements, the psychology department at Simpson University offers curriculum, research activities, and community resources to give students a balanced exposure to psychology. Professors teach several psychology courses seminar-style, an interactive teaching method that links interpersonal development and academic engagement, where talking and thinking produce struggle, growth and fun.

Psychology Department Mission

To promote human flourishing as informed by the discipline of psychology and Christian theology.

Psychology Major

The psychology major is designed to provide coursework and experience central to a basic understanding of the discipline and profession. Human behavior is examined from modern and historical perspectives in both the practical and theoretical realms. The purpose of the major is to prepare students for graduate education or vocational opportunities with a mature, uniquely Christian approach.

The psychology program at Simpson University is designed to meet the diverse needs of students and prepare them for a variety of career paths. Because of an increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centers, social service agencies, substance abuse treatment clinics, and private companies, your degree from Simpson University can help you move toward a career you’ve always dreamed of. In addition to providing you with the foundation for graduate work that can lead to a career as a psychologist, your degree will also prepare you for a wide variety of careers within and beyond psychology.

Career Opportunities

  • Behavior specialist
  • Career counselor
  • Case manager
  • Child development specialist
  • College resident director
  • Correction officer
  • Family preservation caseworker
  • Psychiatric technician
  • Rehabilitation specialist

Careers beyond the Field of Psychology

  • Advertising
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Community Services
  • Consulting
  • Government
  • Human Resources
  • Labor Relations
  • Law Enforcement
  • Market Research
  • Media
  • Ministry
  • Relief / Aid Work
  • Teaching

*Also available for working adults and individuals wishing to complete their degree in Simpson University's convenient 16-month, Adult Studies (ASPIRE) program. Psychology - Adult Studies, ASPIRE program.

Danielle Beck, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology
Psychology Department Chair


Dr. Danielle Beck is a developmental psychologist who joined Simpson University's faculty in 2008. Her broad research interest includes the development of executive function in young children.

Dr. Beck also coordinates and conducts research projects with undergraduate psychology students.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of Washington, Seattle
  • B.A., Pacific Lutheran University

Courses Taught:

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Statistics and Research Methods
  • Child Development
  • Research Experience


Lori McKinney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology


Dr. Lori McKinney has a PhD in Social Psychology and over 20 years of experience teaching at the university level. Before joining Simpson University’s faculty in 2014 she held a tenured faculty position at Governors State University (south of Chicago) and had taught as an affiliate at Metropolitan State University and Colorado Christian University in the Denver metropolitan area.

Dr. McKinney’s areas of interest include social cognition, particularly in the areas of mentoring and coaching, cognitive change, and social influence.

Educational Background:

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M.A., Governors State University
  • B.A., Governors State University

Courses Taught:

  • Statistics
  • Research
  • Social Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • History and Systems of Psychology
  • Graduate Seminar in Social Psychology
  • Thesis Preparation


Rebecca Carter , M.A., L.M.F.T.

Instructor of Psychology

In Memory

Dear Simpson University community:

Professor Rebecca Carter passed away Dec. 21, 2014, after a brief but intense struggle with cancer. Such a stark statement leaves unsaid the profound sadness and pain there is in her passing. There are times such as this when it feels like grief overwhelms hope, but Rebecca's testimony, and that of her husband Mark, has been one of hope that rests solidly and unshakably in Christ. Today, what we see only dimly, she experiences in full.

In her time at Simpson University, Professor Carter worked in the Wellness Center, served as the director of the Academic Success Center, and, most recently, taught as a faculty member in the Psychology Department for two and one-half years. She has blessed our community.

May the God of all comfort grace us with His peace.

Robin Keith Dummer, Ed.D.
Interim President

More Information

Service information


In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to three charities consistent with Rebecca’s heart. The links are below:

  • Ethic of service to others
  • Content base of psychology
  • Research and language skills
  • Self-monitoring, self-awareness, sensitivity to others