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Associate Professor

Watson-Hubbard Science Center 106
Department Psychology

Mailing Address

Regis College

235 Wellesley Street
Weston, MA 02493

    About

    In 2021, Alan Whitcomb completed his third decade in higher education which includes administration leadership and faculty roles at the university, college, and community college levels: director of academic program review and accreditation, dean of curriculum and academic quality, tenured associate professor, director of institutional research, dean of students, and student support services director. Alan’s professional experience has been recognized with more than a dozen awards and other honors in these roles, including the Professor Ronald Lettieri Excellence in Teaching Award in 2013 at Mount Ida College.

    In 2019, Alan joined the School of Health Sciences at Regis College as an associate professor of psychology and program director for the psychology department. His teaching interests include research methods and statistics, and mentoring students as they work on their own research studies. Additionally, Alan regularly invites students to work with him on academically and professionally meaningful projects that enhance their academic and professional growth (e.g., presidential exit polling in Boston, tutoring, survey design, focus groups, college committee initiatives). A selected list of research projects completed by Alan’s students include:

    • "Academic Performance, MapWorks, and Student Retention" (2018; Senior Capstone)
    • "Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Yoga for Increasing Remission of Clients with Borderline Personality Disorder" (2014; Research Proposal)
    • "Social Networking Sites, Digital Communication, and Student Academic Performance" (2013; Senior Thesis)
    • "Social Media’s Role in Relationships and the Development of Depression in Adolescence" (2013; Senior Thesis)
    • "Program Evaluation of MA 093: Essential Math and Fundamentals of Algebra" (2012; Senior Thesis)
    • "Metamorphosis of a Peer Tutoring Program in Mathematics into a Longitudinal, Collaborative Study on Student Learning and Motivation Involving an Instructor and Peer Tutor" (2010; The 27th Annual Conference of the Learning Assistance Association of New England)
    • "The Search for an Alternative Method for Predicting Student Success" (2009; Senior Thesis)
    • "The Effects of Cognitive Dissonance and the Academically At-risk Student" (2009; Senior Thesis)

    Prior to beginning his career in higher education, Alan spent nine seasons at Yellowstone National Park in human resources as a resident assistant, personnel manager, and recruiter, and as a location manager at the Old Faithful Lodge, Old Faithful Snow Lodge, and Four Seasons properties. When he is not working, Alan enjoys hiking, writing, traveling, music, old friends, reading, billiards, cross-country skiing, playing cards, and good conversation. Currently, Alan is one of the two principal investigators in a longitudinal study on the effects of raising, and being raised by, a daughter.

    Education

    Doctor of Philosophy (Phd) in Applied Statistics and Research Methods, University of Northern Colorado

    Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Radford University

    Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Castleton State University

    Philosophy

    Beyond the Classroom

    While I thoroughly enjoy teaching, I find getting to know students outside the classroom to be even more rewarding because it provides opportunities to build students’ academic and professional self-efficacy as they can accomplish so much more than they think. While effective pedagogy is necessary to excel as a classroom teacher, it is not enough. Good teaching depends as well on building meaningful relationships with students in and outside of the classroom, particularly with those from diverse communities.

    Challenging, Authentic, and Supportive

    Alan Lightman wrote, in The Accidental Universe, that “perfect order in art is uninteresting [and] delight lies somewhere between boredom and confusion.” This excerpt reminds me of students, and if they are to find value in and have appreciation for what they are learning in the classroom, they must be neither bored nor confused. I strive, then, to strike the right balance between these two extremes for each student regardless of the student’s interests or level of academic preparedness. This is a challenging endeavor given the individual differences among students traditionally enrolled in my courses; nonetheless, it is a meaningful and worthwhile pursuit. To the extent possible, my assignments and meeting activities parallel those students will find in their careers, graduate-professional degree programs, and personal lives. Additionally, I am generous with my time in supporting students’ academic, intellectual, and personal development efforts beyond the classroom - during office hours, via Zoom, or by phone.

    The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

    It is difficult for young adults to know what they want to do professionally for the rest of their lives. It is equally difficult to know what one will be doing 15, 30, or 40 years beyond college graduation. How, then, do students best prepare for these professional uncertainties? Even for those who are more certain of the career path they will follow, it is unlikely that their careers will remain unchanging and static over the years. As John Naisbitt put it, "in a world that is constantly changing, there is no one subject or set of subjects that will serve you for the foreseeable future, let alone for the rest of your life. The most important skill to acquire now is learning how to learn". I will continue to promote the value of a liberal arts education and the relevance of the courses I teach for (1) helping students to identify personally meaningful careers, and (2) preparing graduates for the variety and ever-evolving nature of those careers, some of which do not yet exist.