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Linda LaGrange, Department Chair
Lora Magnum Shields Science Building, Room 250

Mission of the Department of Psychology

The mission of the Department of Psychology is to contribute to meeting the educational and research needs in psychology; contribute to meeting the career needs in psychological services and research, as well as contribute to training for careers in education, engineering, physical and biological sciences, medicine, and other science fields;  contribute to meeting the need for secondary school teacher certification in psychology; and to provide psychological and sociocultural service and expertise for the region, as well as the greater global community.



group photo

NMHU Psychology Faculty (left to right): Gerald Russell, Ian Williamson, Sarah Tracy, Lara Heflin, David Pan, Nariman Arfai, Julia Jarvis, Linda LaGrange

Tenure/Tenure-track Faculty*:

♦  Daniel Chadborn, PhD (Educational Psychology with Experimental Focus), Assistant Professor of Psychology, Texas A&M – Commerce

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Social identity, internet fan communities, self-categorization

♦  Lara Heflin, PhD (Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Southern California

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Neuropsychology, health psychology, stress and coping, cancer, brain and head injury

♦  Linda LaGrange, PhD (Experimental Psychology), Professor of Psychology, University of Alberta

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Hepatoprotective and fetoprotective properties of flavonoids in treatment of alcohol abuse, Identification of biological markers of excessive alcohol consumption, biochemical correlates of personality traits/pathology

♦  David Pan, PhD (Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Southern California

Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV

Research interests: Treatment outcomes, anxiety and mood disorders, behavioral interventions, cultural identity, cultural adaptations

*Only tenure/tenure-track faculty members can serve as research advisors for Masters students


Contingent/Visiting Faculty

♦  Gerald Russell, PhD (Clinical Psychology), Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology & Neuropsychology, University of California, Los Angeles


Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV


♦  Leon Bustos, MS (General Psychology), Lecturer, New Mexico Highlands University


        Main Campus – Las Vegas | CV


♦  Sarah Tracy, PhD (Counseling Psychology), New Mexico State University


Farmington Center & Online | CV


♦  Nariman Arfai, PhD (Experimental Psychology), University of New Mexico


Rio Rancho Center & Online | CV

Affiliated Faculty:

♦  Jean Hill, PhD (Emeriti)

♦  Ian Williamson, PhD (Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs)


Department of Psychology Programs


Undergraduate Coordinator: Lara Heflin, PhD;; (505) 454-3547


Graduate Coordinator: David Pan, PhD;; (505) 454-3375


Psychology, the study of human behavior and mental processes, includes such topics as learning and memory, cognition, motivation and emotion, sensation and perception, personality, development, attitudes, social interactions, brain-behavior relationships, human sexuality, psychopathology, and mental health interventions.

The special focus in this field is the individual rather than human societies or cultures. Although the study of psychology contributes to the understanding of abnormal human behavior, knowledge of psychology also enhances the understanding of normal human behavior.

Psychological research is conducted exclusively with the scientific method in applications that range from multifactorial laboratory experiments to single case studies. At Highlands, students experience the diversity within the field through a broad selection of courses. There is a cognitive-behavioral emphasis offered in the study of mental disorders, while research psychology is represented by cognitive, biological, social, and personality approaches.

Career goals of psychologists include teaching, research, and applied psychological service. Psychologists, counselors, and psychometricians work at such sites as schools, mental health centers and hospitals, geriatric facilities, and correctional institutions. The psychological profession also includes school psychologists and human relations or organizational behavior psychologists for industry or government.


Resources and Facilities

The human riches of Northern New Mexico provide an outstanding context for psychological studies at New Mexico Highlands University. Students may engage in field psychological research and clinical practicum. Additionally, students have the opportunity to conduct research in our psychophysiology labs. Studies of human behavior emphasize field data and computer applications for analysis and interpretation.

The department provides a computer laboratory for student use. Students have access to statistical packages for data analysis, internet, word processing, and spreadsheets.

Student professional societies and organizations, such as Psi Chi, provide opportunities for student participation and program enrichment beyond the classroom

Information on Psychology Scholarships (external website)


Graduate Program Data

Number of applicants 2016-17: 13
Number of students admitted 2016-17: 10
Number of students admitted 2016-17 who accepted offer of admissions: 8
Total number of students enrolled in program during 2016-17: 25
Number of students who graduated in 2016-17: 14



This department is under the College of Arts and Sciences