Psychology faculty

Sandie Hoover Kinsinger, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Ph.D., University of South Dakota
M.A., University of Illinois at Chicago
B.A., Wheaton College

VPH 305 A


After graduating from Wheaton College with majors in psychology and speech/communication, Dr. Kinsinger earned a master's degree in art therapy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Subsequently, she completed a Ph.D. in human development and educational psychology with an emphasis in statistics from the University of South Dakota. Research interests are focused on resilience, particularly in the area of hope development. Dr. Kinsinger has split her career evenly between applied work and college teaching. She has worked directly in schools with students at risk of dropping out and as a school/home liaison, with a community-based adolescent pregnancy prevention program, as an art therapy consultant and psychiatric art therapist, and as a substance abuse counselor and prevention specialist. Currently, Dr. Kinsinger is the resident specialist in developmental psychology at Northwestern. She has presented at the Iowa Counselor’s Association, the Midwest Social Worker’s Conference, and the Great Lakes Regional Counselor’s Association. She has also served as a reviewer for federal and state Department of Education grants.


  • Developmental Psychology: Adolescence

    Developmental Psychology: Adolescence

    Adolescents experience many changes in a few short years as they transition from childhood to adulthood. This course explores the major psychological issues and theories in adolescent development with emphasis on cognitive development, self-concept, peer relationships and sexuality, among others.(4 credits)
  • Developmental Psychology: Adulthood

    Developmental Psychology: Adulthood

    This course explores psychological issues and theories in normal adult development, with emphasis on cognitive, social and personality functioning from young adulthood to old age.(4 credits)
  • Motivation and Emotion

    Motivation and Emotion

    Why do we do what we do? How do we know what we want and what we need? How do we set goals for ourselves and act to achieve them? These are some of the questions that the psychology of motivation and emotion attempt to answer. This course will examine universal and specific motivations and emotions in the context of physiological, cognitive and affective systems. It will also pursue applications of motivation and emotion to the psychology of addiction, health, coping and optimal functioning.Prerequisites: PSY111 and 215.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)
  • General Psychology

    General Psychology

    This course is an overview of the field of psychology and includes topics such as biological bases of behavior, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development, personality, intelligence, abnormal behavior and therapy. The course emphasizes methodologies including observation, correlational and experimental as they are used in the study of psychology. A major purpose is to have the student struggle with the question, "What is psychology?" Finally, this course provides students with the necessary background in psychology to move on to other more advanced topics in the field.(4 credits)
  • Introduction to Art Therapy

    Introduction to Art Therapy

    This course is designed to offer students a didactic and experiential overview of the field of art therapy. Students will study the history, theory, and practice of art therapy processes and approaches as well as survey the populations, settings and applications of this unique therapeutic technique. (2 credits; alternate years, consult department)

Professional experience

  • Art Therapist, Pine Rest Christian Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI
  • Art Therapy Consultant, Duffy & Associates, Iowa City, IA
  • Intake Counselor and Prevention Specialist, MECCA, Iowa City, IA
  • Prevention Specialist, State & federal grant-funded projects, Washington, IA


  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Psychological Science