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Department ofPsychology


lisa whitfield

lisa whitfield

Introducing our new Department Chair, Dr. Lisa Whitfield

The Psychology Department has a new Department chair! Senior Lecturer, award-winning instructor, and all around good time Dr. Lisa Whitfield has stepped into this leadership role for the next three years. We all know and love Dr. Whitfield already, but below, she has shared ten things you may *not* know about her already.

    1. I was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Tempe, Arizona.
    2. I went to Arizona State University where I was a first-generation college student. Woo hoo! I was undeclared until I took my Intro Psych class first semester at ASU and then I was hooked on psych! I decided at that point that I was either going to be a child clinical psychologist or a neuropsychologist. 
    3. Surprise! I’m neither a clinical nor a neuropsychologist! I chose to get a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and my dissertation focused on how young children respond when unexpected events disrupt their plans.
    4. After graduate school, I did a short stint at a non-profit organization called Southwest Human Development. I got to work in Head Start classrooms, both with the kids and families as well as the teachers. 
    5. In my first academic position, I worked at North Central College just outside of Chicago for nine years and loved it! It is a small liberal arts college that values small classes and lots of student-faculty interaction. Sound familiar?
    6. I moved to the Bay Area in 2007 due to a change in my partner’s job. (He’s a solar energy guy.) I came to Santa Clara as a part-time instructor in the spring of 2008 to teach Dr. Simone’s classes (Intro Psych and Aging) while she was on sabbatical! And I just never left….
    7. Although most of my research prior to the pandemic was with school-aged children, recently I’ve been collaborating with Dr. Simone and Dr. Bell in our Learning & Remembering Lab. Right now, we are studying primarily college students, examining the factors that influence self-regulated learning. Like whether you cram or study a little at a time over a couple of weeks, and how we can get you to do more of the latter!
    8. lisa whitfield and family
      Dr. Whitfield and her family celebrating her daughter’s graduation last spring. Go Broncos!
      I have a husband, two children who are now “emerging adults”, and two dogs, Lucy and Stella. If you take my classes, you’ll likely see photos of them on my slides.
    9. One of my hobbies is gardening and I’m always experimenting with different crops. Which means lots of failure! Corn? Uh, yeah….no. This spring I’m going to try to plant some milkweed to help out the Monarch butterflies!
    10. My favorite thing about being at a place like Santa Clara is the students! I cannot imagine being happy teaching at a big school where I can’t learn all of my students’ names or where I would have to teach behind a screen all the time. I really like learning about your lives and seeing you grow into fine upstanding citizens by the time you graduate. Go Broncos!