For more than 35 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a dedicated administration and faculty to bring Psychology to Penn State Lehigh Valley students. One thing that I have learned is that students get to know what Psychology is through taking the introductory course (PSYCH 100) and a variety of advanced courses, some of which I teach on a regular basis, such as Learning, Personality, Research Methods, and Abnormal Psychology.
Another important role for Psychology faculty is conducting professional research. For me, this has meant primarily delving into the fascinating history of Psychology in a variety of ways, from the earliest students and programs in Psychology, to the more recent ways in which 20th century Psychology appeared in early radio broadcasts. Beyond the study of Psychology’s past, undergraduate students have assisted me in areas of my other research, which has been valuable for them to prepare for their own professional careers. Students have collected and analyzed data in a variety of applied psychology settings, written reports, and even presented findings at professional meetings, such as the Undergraduate Research Conference at the University of Scranton.
Dr. Peter Behrens’ office overlooks the grassy lawn on the west side of the Academic Building. Like a typical faculty member in a psychology department his office is filled with books on Freud, Skinner, and Piaget.
But the assistant professor is far from typical. Dr. Behrens, in addition to his teaching load and research, acts as the career counselor on campus. He follows employment trends and offers advice to students as they face tough decisions about their education and future employment.
“My counseling background is very helpful as I talk to students about career decisions. Courses they take now will have an effect on what type of job they can land in a couple of years,” says Behrens.
Dr. Behrens is well qualified to guide young minds in the right direction. He holds his doctorate in psychology from Lehigh University, a master’s in counseling from Edinboro University, and a bachelor’s in psychology from the State University of New York. He also regularly participates in continuing education studies in his field. He has been a member of the Penn State faculty since 1970.
He brings to the classroom a true respect and admiration for the field of psychology. “Human behavior is far more intriguing than anyone could imagine upon first entering the field. What I try to instill in my students is a healthy respect for the science of psychology and an open approach to new discoveries about people,” he says.
Dr. Behrens has traveled extensively in Germany pursuing his research interests which are primarily in the history of psychology and presenting his work at national and international conferences.
His scholarly work has brought him recognition in the form of several major grants including those from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Psychological Association.