Helen Swanson

Helen Swanson

Office: 243 Jeter Hall
Email: swansonh@uwstout.edu


PhD Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1985

MS Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 1982

BA Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio, 1980

Research Interests

Lifespan developmental psychology with emphasis on social and cognitive factors in children and adolescents

Teaching Interests And Experience

developmental psychology with emphasis on childhood and adolescence
experimental and correlational research methods
ethics in applied psychology
forensic psychology, law and ethics
general psychology

Professional Experience

1988-Present: Assistant, Associate, Full Professor of Psychology, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Stout
1996: Director, College for Kids summer program, University of Wisconsin-Stout
1985-1988: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin Center-Manitowoc County, Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Representative Recent and Earlier Research

Swanson, H. College Students' Perceptions of Supervisory Teachers' Roles in their Interpersonal Conflict Experiences with Schoolmates during Junior and Senior High School. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois, May, 2015. 

Boone, J., & Swanson, H. Influence of sibling order and gender on adults' identification with the middle born profile.  Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois, May, 2013. 

Swanson, H. A comparison of children's and adults' common knowledge, riddle responses, and environmental pollution solutions. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois, May, 2010.

Swanson, H., & Gajda, H. Parents, siblings, or self-determination? Adults' perceptions of their personality determinants. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, Illinois, May, 2008.

Swanson H., Becker, C. Winge, B.,& Smith, T. Influence of relationship longevity, character sex and participant sex on college students' stay/leave judgments in hypothetical dating and marriage contexts. Presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, Los Angeles, California, November, 1999.

Swanson, H., Byrd, J., & Becker, C. Illusion of control and college students' perceptions of luck in a hypothetical "Powerball" lottery game.  Presented at the annual meeting for the Society of Judgment and Decision Making, Dallas, Texas, November, 1998.

University of Wisconsin-Stout Center for Applied Ethics: Ethics Scholar Accomplishments

I have a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology; my concentration area is Developmental Psychology with emphasis on social and cognitive factors. With respect to teaching, ethics has always been integrated into all courses I have taught, including developmental psychology, psychology and law, research focused courses, and applied psychology. For example, the Children’s Social Reasoning course which I developed addresses children’s moral reasoning development, inter-group biases, and social aggression. I also chaired the development of the course, Forensic Psychology, Law and Ethics, which has been designated as a Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning course within General Education.

With respect to research, ethics has also been integrated throughout my career, beginning with the topic of moral reasoning development. In my master’s thesis project, I identified bias in fourth graders’ moral reasoning judgments of story characters, based on whether they liked or disliked particular story characters. In my dissertation project, I trained second grade teachers to facilitate moral reasoning discussions based on children’s literature in their classrooms, and experimentally tested the effects on their students’ moral reasoning and behavior at school. At UW-Stout, I have collaborated with colleagues and students in a variety of ethics-related projects, including interpersonal relationship studies. For example, we examined college students’ bullying experiences (both as actor and recipient) in childhood and adolescence. Another study involved adults’ stay/leave judgments for Hillary Clinton during the Clinton white house sex scandal of the late 1990s. A social consciousness study addressed children’s and adults’ accountability judgments and solutions for environmental pollution problems.

My service work at UW-Stout has also been largely ethics focused. For example, I chaired the department’s Personnel Committee, which makes personnel evaluation recommendations to the department chair, numerous years. I also served as a member of the Chancellor’s advisory committee on the campus tobacco use policy, which led to our becoming the first four-year UW campus to initiate a tobacco use ban on the outdoor campus. Further, I served as a member of the Center for Applied Ethics in its initial years and continue to be involved in its current work.

I was honored to be selected as the first professor level Ethics Center Scholar. In this capacity I have been involved in three projects, each of which coincided with my roles as a faculty member. First, I researched the literature on formally assessing the civility/collegiality of personnel in higher education. This information was utilized at the department level through our Personnel Evaluation Revision Committee which I chaired, and was also shared with the campus Personnel and Policies Committee (PPC) and the Center for Applied Ethics personnel. Our committee also identified key questions which the PPC has forwarded to UW-System legal to address, as they continue their work in this area and as our Human Resources Department is restructured to provide leadership in addressing these concerns. Second, I published a novel which incorporates numerous ethical themes, including personal relationships between professors and graduate students and between members of differing cultural groups and religious faiths. Third, I collaborated with students on a project to assess college students’ positive and negative experiences with supervisory teachers, with respect to resolution of the students’ interpersonal conflicts with peers, in junior high and high school. That survey was administered fall semester of 2014, and the results were presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association in Chicago in  May of 2015.