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Noelle Susanna Giffin Wiersma Whitworth University

Noelle S. Giffin Wiersma, PhD, is a professor of psychology and dean of the college of arts and sciences at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington, where she has been employed for 15 years. In addition to serving as chair of the department of psychology, Dr. Wiersma regularly teaches upper-division undergraduate and master’s-level courses on theories of counseling as well as other clinical courses, including theories of personality, psychopathology, and senior practicum.  She is the two-time recipient of the Most Influential Professor award at Whitworth University. Dr. Wiersma received her PhD in counseling psychology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her undergraduate degree in psychology and French was awarded by Whitworth College in 1990. Her research interests include secondary trauma, particularly the effects of childhood sexual abuse on adult relationship partners, and factors affecting professional quality of life for various mental health and social service providers. Based on these interests, Dr. Wiersma has established community partnerships with local non-profit social service and law enforcement agencies, providing consultation, support, and in-service training and conducting collaborative survey research. As dean of the college of arts and sciences, Dr. Wiersma has concentrated her efforts on the development of interdisciplinary studies programs and advocacy for liberal arts education. Most recently she has begun teaching a required general education course addressing the social, political, and legal implications of treatment of the mentally ill. As part of her upcoming sabbatical, she will be developing a course entailing off-campus study of serial crime in the Pacific Northwest, focusing on themes of psychopathology, evil, and justice.