Laird Edman Professor of Psychology


Ph.D., University of Minnesota
M.A., (Psychology), University of Notre Dame
M.A., (English), University of Notre Dame
B.A., Luther College

VPH 310

Laird Edman holds the Northwestern College Endowed Professorship. He specializes in the cognitive science of religion, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, and teaching and assessing critical thinking. He holds a doctorate in educational psychology that focused on cognition and learning from the University of Minnesota, as well as master’s degrees in counseling psychology and English literature from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Edman’s research has been published in Psychological Reports, The Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Resources in Education, Teaching and Learning in Honors, and The National Honors Report. He has also presented papers, workshops and seminars at the annual conferences of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, National Collegiate Honors Council, and American Educational Research Association.

Prior to joining Northwestern’s faculty, Dr. Edman taught at the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, Waldorf, and Luther College. He holds Teacher of the Year awards from Waldorf College and the Honors Program at Iowa State University. At NWC he advises senior research students and teaches Research Methods, History and Systems of Psychology, General Psychology, Learning and Cognition, Statistics, Psychology of Religion, and Christ and Psychology.

He was on sabbatical during the 2013-14 academic year, working with Dr. Justin Barrett of Fuller Theological Seminary on a book that will present the latest research on cognitive and psychological issues related to worship and discipleship.

PSY100SS - Exploring Psychology

(4 credits)(IGE option under Self and Society) In this course students learnhow, using methodologies such asobservation, survey and experimentation, psychological science exploresthe causes and consequences of human action. An overview of majorfindings from the field of psychology such as biological bases ofbehavior, learning and memory, motivation and emotion, human development,personality, intelligence, psychopathology and therapy, the effect ofothers on individuals will be discussed and students will be encouragedto apply this knowledge to their own views and actions. Students willconsider why the integration of faith and science in understanding humansis important and will explore ways of accomplishing this integration.

PSY215 - Research Design and Introductory Statistics

This course acquaints the student with basic empirical research techniques in the behavioral sciences including political science, psychology, social work and sociology. The course aims to enable the student to function as a conductor and a consumer of behavioral science research. Techniques include: observation, questionnaire and survey, interview, single-subject designs, qualitative research, and experimental and quasi-experimental methodologies. Topics include: descriptive and basic inferential statistics, sampling methods and research ethics. Prerequisites: PSY111, SOC101, PSC101, or PSC105, and fulfillment of the general education math requirement. (4 credits)

PSY216WI - Research Design and Advanced Statistics

PSY315 - Learning and Cognition

An introduction to the topics of learning, memory and cognition within the field of experimental psychology. An emphasis will be placed on approaching problems as an "experimental psychologist." Advantages and limitations of the experimental approach and applications of the knowledge base of experimental psychology will be highlighted.Prerequisites: PSY111 and 215.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

PSY402 - Introduction to Clinical Psychology

This course provides a first exposure to the theory and practice of clinical psychology. A major emphasis will be a review of the various theories of psychotherapy. The way in which these theories are applied within professional psychology constitutes a secondary, but strong, emphasis.Prerequisites: PSY111 and eight additional credits in psychology.(4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

PSY405 - History and Systems of Psychology

This course is one of the senior capstones to the psychology major. It is an overview of the history and theories which have shaped contemporary psychology. Particular attention is given to the assumptions and presuppositions underlying the discipline, as well as the nature of the discipline and the ways in which thoughtful Christians can integrate their faith with psychological theory and method. Prerequisite: 12 credits of psychology courses and at least junior status. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

PSY406 - Psychology Research Lab

As a culminating experience, senior students conduct a semester-long empirical research project and produce an APA-formatted report. This is substantive project that allows the student to individually explore a self-selected research topic in depth and to experience the research process from initial idea to finished publication-ready manuscript. It challenges the student to think creatively, to integrate knowledge and skills obtained throughout the psychology curriculum, and to produce a worthwhile contribution to the field.Prerequisites: 20 credits of psychology courses including PSY215 and 216.(4 credits)

PSY418 - Christ and Psychology

This course is one of the senior capstones to the psychology major. The course challenges thoughtful Christians to be critical but genuinely appreciative of the increasing role psychology is playing in modern life. A sizeable literature has developed which focuses on the relationship between orthodox evangelical Christianity and the formal discipline of psychology. The course examines some of this literature and asks: How can a scientific psychology be compatible with a person-oriented Christianity? How can Christians integrate their faith with psychological theory and methods? Prerequisite: 12 credits of psychology courses and at least junior status. (4 credits, alternate years, consult department)

Primary author of the Minnesota Test of Critical Thinking

Chapter in Teaching Critical Thinking in Psychology: A Handbook of Best Practices, Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.

Chapter, “Are They Ready Yet? Epistemological Development and Critical Thinking,” in e-book Essays from E-xcellence in Teaching, published by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, 2007.

Student Leadership Experiences and Epistemology, Moral Development, and Sense of Vocation (with student Sarah Connolly), annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, 2009.

Epistemology and Religiosity as Predictors of Moral Reasoning (with student Emily Meyerink Griese), annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, Chicago, 2008.

Predictors of Volunteerism Among College Students (with student Jillian Groeneveld), annual conference of the American Psychological Association, Boston, 2008.

The Affects of Cross-Cultural Experiences on Emotional Intelligence, Spirituality, Epistemology, Empathy, Optimism and Vocational Thought (with student Amy Vander Holt), 19th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., 2007.

Epistemology, Self-Concept, and Need for Achievement as Predictors of Academic Achievement and Honors Participation (with student Candace Gross), 19th Annual Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, D.C., 2007.

Associate Director of Honors Programs, Iowa State University

Teaching and Research Assistant, University of Minnesota

Instructor of Psychology and English, Honors Advisor, Luther College, Decorah, Iowa

Honors Program Director, Associate Professor of Psychology and English, Waldorf College, Forest City, Iowa

Adjunct Instructor of English, University of Notre Dame

American Psychological Association

American Scientific Affiliation

Association for Psychological Science

Christian Association for Psychological Science

International Association for the Promotion of Christian Higher Education

National Collegiate Honors Council

Upper Midwest Honors Council (president, 2003–04)

Guthrie Theater Educational Advisory Board (1994-1999)

Iowa Humanities Board Speakers Bureau (1990-1999)

Northwesten College Endowed Chair, 2011-

Teaching Excellence Award, Northwestern College, 2008

Honors Faculty of the Year Award, Iowa State University, 2002–03

Professor of the Year, Waldorf College, 1995