Psychology and the Good Life

December 11 to December 13, 2013


This three-day forum will explore the role that psychologists can play in fostering moral development and psychological well-being. In addition to student research presentations, the event includes Rod Nadeau ’87, a psychology alumnus returning to campus to discuss his work as an adventure-based counselor, and James Waller, author of Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing.

Schedule of events:

Wednesday, December 11

Psychology and the Good Life(11:45 am to 1:00 pm; Thomas Auditorium)

  • Dr. Susan Anzivino
  • Dr. Natasha Lekes
  • Dr. Karol Maybury
  • Dr. Steve Quackenbush

Narrative Adventure Therapy (7:00 pm; Thomas Auditorium)

  • Dr. Rod Nadeau (see biographical notes below)

Thursday, December 12:

Keynote Address: The Psychology of Evil: Understanding Perpetrators of Genocide and Mass Atrocity(7:00 pm; Thomas Auditorium)

  •  Dr. James Waller, author of Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (see biographical notes below)

Friday, December 13

Psychology Undergraduate Research Symposium(11:45 am to 1:00 pm; Thomas Auditorium)

  • Lauren Trudeau: Drawing the wrong conclusions: The role played by tattoos in jury decision making
  • Jasmine Portales:  The influence of ethnicity on evaluations of college students’ future success and behavior
  • Kayla Tuttle: The facial feedback phenomenon and its effect on mood
  • Kaitlin Dickinson: The beautiful bus driver: The effects of attractiveness and job prestige on perceived character.

Psychology Alumni Reunion (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Education Center Lobby)

Biographical Notes:

Dr. Rod Nadeau graduated in psychology from UMF in 1987.  He later earned his Master’s & Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Therapy from the University of Connecticut.  He has worked at the REAL School since 1999.  As the Adventure-Based Counselor, he leads kayaking, backpacking, ice/rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, winter camping, canoeing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, challenge course & teambuilding activities.  Dr. Nadeau is a licensed social worker and field instructor at the University of Southern Maine and the University of New England.  As an outdoor professional, he has been a licensed Maine Guide since 1987 and holds designations in Whitewater Rafting, Sea Kayaking, and Outdoor Recreation.  Beyond his professional life, Dr. Nadeau’s favorite activities include multi-day wilderness adventures with his family.  He is also an avid cyclist, who participates in several 100 mile charity rides.  Most notably, he has been on the Organizing Committee for the Patrick Dempsey Challenge since it began in 2009 and he loves racing his bike in the Mt. Washington Hillclimb.

Dr. James Waller is the Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College (NH).  Keene State College is home to the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, one of the nation’s oldest Holocaust resource centers, and also offers the only undergraduate major in Holocaust and Genocide Studies in the United States.  Waller is a widely-recognized scholar in the field of Holocaust and genocide studies.In addition to holding visiting professorships at the Technical University in Berlin (1990) and the Catholic University in Eichstatt, Germany (1992); Dr. Waller has been an invited participant in international seminars hosted by the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust Studies at the University of Leicester in England (2006); the Institute of Sociology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland (2007 and 2008); the Bundeszentrale fur Politische Bildung in Berlin, Germany (2009); the VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands (2009); the University of Alberta in Canada (2010); and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in London (2011).  Waller has been awarded summer fellowships by, and been a teaching fellow with, the Holocaust Educational Foundation at Northwestern University (1996 and 2007-2012) and at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. (1999, 2003, and 2005).  His fieldwork has included research in Germany, Israel, Northern Ireland, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Argentina and Tanzania.

In the policymaking arena, Waller is also regularly involved, in his role as Academic Programs Director with the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR), as the curriculum developer and lead instructor for the Raphael Lemkin Seminars for Genocide Prevention.  These seminars, held on-site and in conjunction with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, introduce diplomats and government officials from around the world to issues of genocide warning and prevention.  In addition, his work with AIPR also has included education and training in genocide prevention for the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Waller also has delivered invited briefings on genocide prevention and perpetrator behavior for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the CIA Directorate of Intelligence, and the Genocide War Crimes Unit of the International Operations Division of the FBI at the National Counterterrorism Center.  In January 2009, he was selected for the inaugural class of Carl Wilkins Fellows by the Genocide Intervention Network.  This fellowship program is designed to foster sustained political will [S1] for the prevention and cessation of genocide.  Waller has led teacher training in holocaust and genocide studies for the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center (2009 and 2012), the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (2010), and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (2010-2012).  In addition, he has consulted on exhibition development with the National Institute for Holocaust Education at the USHMM and the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre in Rwanda.

In addition to three books (one of which will be soon  released in a revised and updated third edition), Waller has published twenty-eight articles in peer-reviewed professional journals and contributed fifteen chapters in edited books.  Waller’s book on perpetrators of genocide, Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing (Oxford University Press, 2002), was praised by Publisher’s Weekly for “clearly and effectively synthesizing a wide range of studies to develop an original and persuasive model of the process by which people can become evil.”  In addition to being used as a textbook in college and university courses around the world, Becoming Evil also was short-listed for the biennial Raphael Lemkin Award from the International Association of Genocide Scholars.  Concepts from Becoming Evil have been the basis for an international best-selling novel (The Exception by Christian Jungersen) and a play workshopped in the School of Theater, Film, and Television at UCLA.  Released by Oxford in a revised and updated second edition in 2007, Becoming Evil is scheduled for a third edition release in early 2014.  Waller also is currently contracted with Oxford for a book titled Done to Death: Genocide and the Modern World with an anticipated publication date of late 2014.

Waller is also widely-recognized for his work on intergroup relations and prejudice.  In January 1996, while at Whitworth University, Waller developed an innovative study program titled “Prejudice across America.”  The study program drew national media attention and was named by President Clinton’s Initiative on Race as one of America’s “Promising Practices for Racial Reconciliation.”  Many of the experiences from the study program are chronicled in his first book, Face to Face: The Changing State of Racism across America (New York, NY: Perseus Books, 1998), and a second book released in October 2000, Prejudice Across America (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi).  Prejudice across America was short-listed for a 2001 Outstanding Book Award from Boston University’s Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.  Waller complemented the domestic success of his “Prejudice across America” study program with a new international study program, “Peace and Conflict in Northern Ireland.” This program, first offered in January 2006, used situated learning to allow students to explore the origins of, and responses to, intergroup conflict and violence in Northern Ireland.

While at Whitworth, Waller’s achievements in teaching and scholarship were reflected in his selection as the 1993 recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty Achievement, the 1996 recipient of Whitworth’s Teaching Excellence Award, and a 2008 nominee for Whitworth’s Innovative Teaching Award.  In addition, he was a four-time institutional nominee for the CASE U.S. Professor of the Year award.  In fall 2003, Waller was Whitworth’s inaugural appointee for a four-year term as the Edward B. Lindaman Chair, an endowed, rotating chair for senior faculty who are engaged in significant national academic initiatives and who contribute to public dialogue concerning important social issues.

During 1999-2000, Waller was one of sixteen national recipients of the prestigious Pew Fellowship Award to continue his work on the psychology of human evil.  In June 2007, he received the “First Voice Humanitarian Award” from the Chicago Center for Urban Life & Culture in recognition of his work in connecting students with urban communities, particularly communities in need.  In November 2011, Waller was recognized by a California Senate Resolution for “his tireless efforts to end genocide.”  In 2012, he was Keene State College’s institutional nominee for the Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize from Brandeis University, an award given in recognition of scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic, and/or religious relations.  Most recently, Waller was appointed as the Centennial Global Ethics Fellow of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs for 2013-2014.

Waller received his B.S. (1983) from Asbury University (KY), M.S. (1985) from the University of Colorado, and Ph.D. in Social Psychology (1988) from the University of Kentucky.  He is an active member in several professional organizations, including the International Association of Genocide Scholars (for which he served as the program chair at the eighth biennial meeting in 2009), the International Network of Genocide Scholars, and the International Society of Political Psychology.  He also serves on the board of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism and is an Honorary Member of the International Expert Team of the Institute for Research of Genocide Canada.

Dr. Waller lectures and speaks on Holocaust and genocide studies, intergroup relations, and prejudice for academic, professional, and public audiences.  He has lectured at more than 50 colleges and universities, including the University of Massachusetts, Amherst College, Florida Atlantic University, Claremont-McKenna College, Notre Dame, Washington State University, Sonoma State University, College of the Holy Cross, Hope College, and the US Military Academy at West Point.  Recent endowed lectures Waller was invited to deliver included the 2010 Karl Schleunes Lecture at Greensboro College and the 2011 Richard J. Yashak Holocaust Lecture at Albright College.  He is frequently interviewed by broadcast and print media, including PBS, CNN, CBC, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.  His partner, Patricia Marie, is a counseling psychologist.  His son, Brennan Martin, is 23 years old; his daughter, Hannah Marie, 20; his son, Noah Cole, 16 years old.