Department of Psychology

Psychology Department Professor Danielle Fullerton engages with her students during a lecture

The Department of Psychology explores the organized study of human behaviour and mental processes. Psychologists work in diverse fields: engaged in scientific research, practising psychotherapy and counselling, as well as working with children and adults in educational and health-care settings.

Associate of Arts, Psychology Emphasis

Diploma in Criminal and Social Justice


Psychology courses cover an immense area of human knowledge and practice – everything from the physical and chemical operations of the nervous system, to perception and learning and memory and development, to the complex interactions of the society and the individual.

Faculty and instructors

Dr. Leora Dahl

Psychology - Chair
Office: Business Building 220
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4710
Psychology instructor Leora Dahl

I have been teaching at Okanagan College in Kelowna since 2007. I teach Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, and Psychology and Law. My research interests focus mainly on police decision making and alibi believability. Outside of academics I am heavily involved in the swim community in Kelowna, as one of the organizers of the annual Across the Lake Swim (which raises money for swim lessons for all grade 3 students in Kelowna). I'm also on the board of the Okanagan Masters Swim Club and swim competitively for the club.

PhD, Forensic Psychology, University of Victoria

Research Gate Profile

Alysha Baker

Office: Business Building 233
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4963
Psychology instructor Alysha Baker

After completing my PhD at UBC (Okanagan Campus) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Denver, I joined Okanagan College in 2019. I currently teach courses on research methods and design, statistics and data analysis, and introduction to psychology but my other teaching interests include nonverbal communication, forensic psychology, applied cognition, and social psychology. My research focuses on trust assessments, emotional appraisal, deception, and self-conscious emotions. When I’m not in the classroom, I like to be outside in the beautiful Okanagan, whether that’s hiking with my dog, dirtbiking, or enjoying a good patio with friends.

PhD, Experimental Psychology, UBC
MA, Experimental Psychology, UBC

Google Scholar Profile

Tara Carpenter

Office: Business Building 216G
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4666
Psychology instructor Tara Carpenter

I started working at OC in 2012, and in 2014 I decided to go back to school to get my PhD. I am currently a PhD Candidate and am working on my dissertation as I teach. My dissertation investigates how the experience of social ostracization influences our judgments of the moral foundations of others. More broadly, I am interested in group processes, social ostracization, leadership, person perception, and moral judgments. My MA degree (2010, UBC) was in Forensic Psychology and I spent time working in the community with justice involved youth prior to working at OC. At OC I teach Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology (some years), and occasionally Psychology and Law.

PhD Candidate, Social Psychology, UBC

Linda Coates

Office: Salmon Arm Building 146
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-832-2126 ext. 8208
Headshot of Linda Coates

I focus on addressing violence and social injustice. I have investigated social responses to violence by the helping professions (e.g., therapists/psychologists), legal professions (police, prosecutors, defence council, judges in criminal and family law), and the media. I have critiqued conceptions and representations of violence, victims, and perpetrators. I developed several key concepts for understanding and representing violence and other social interactions accurately. I also co-developed Response-Based Practice, a theoretical framework for understanding human behavior. The tea-cup consent video is an almost word-for-word replication of talks I gave while in the United Kingdom (though sadly I was not credited). I work with many organizations nationally and internationally to improve institutional and professional responses in cases of violence.

PhD, Psychology, University of Victoria

Dr. Ben Coleman

Office: Main Building D332
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-545-7291 ext. 2236
Headshot of Ben Coleman

I joined OC at the North Kelowna campus in 2004. I teach Introduction to Psychology, Health Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Biopsychology, Research Methods, and Statistics. My research in Positive Psychology focuses on happiness and well-being. When not teaching, I give Positive Psychology seminars on well-being and relationships to organizations around the world, provide couples/individual counselling, and volunteer as a family history consultant.

Ph.D, Cognitive Psychology, Carleton University
MA, Neuropsychology, Carleton University
MC, Counselling, Gonzaga University
B.Sc, Psychology, Boise State University

Dr. Danielle Fullerton

Office: Lab Building 235
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4374
Headshot of Danielle Fullerton

PhD, Counselling Psychology, U of A
Registered Psychologist (CPBC#2402)

Dr. Stephanie Griffiths

Office: Ashnola Building 115
Campus: Penticton
Phone: 250-492-4305 ext. 3238
Psychology instructor Steph Griffiths

Teaching is my primary interest in psychology. My research interests also include uses and misuses of neurobiological data in interdisciplinary research.

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Simon Fraser University
Registered Psychologist, College of Psychologists of British Columbia

Alexandra Hirniak

Office: Business Building 233
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445
Hirniak, Alex

During my Masters and PhD I investigated how own and partner self-esteem and narcissism influences social support processes in romantic relationships. One of the most important aspects of my teaching philosophy is to teach to the students I have and not some typical student. I want all my students to be successful in achieving their own career goals, and I know that being a dynamic educator is important to ensuring every student is given the opportunity to succeed. Outside of teaching, I love snuggling with my pet birds and watching murder mystery shows.

Laura Loewen

Office: Business Building 216A
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4776
Psychology instructor Lara Loewen

I started at OC (then OUC) in 1995. Courses offered: intro psyc, lifespan development, environmental psyc. Areas of interest include adolescent mental health and suicide as well as workplace psychology and sustainability.

MA, University of British Columbia
BA (Hons), University of Alberta

Dr. John Mitchell

Office: Main Building C334
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-762-5445
Headshot of John Mitchell

I served as Professor of Child Psychology at University of Alberta from 1969-1998. I then served as Professor of Educational Psychology at UBCO until 2012. As Professor Emeritus from UBC, I now serve as Part-time Professor at Okanagan College. I am also now the author of numerous books in child psychology and adolescent psychology.

PhD, Developmental Psychology, University Oregon

Dr. Christopher Newitt

Office: Lab Building 237
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4924
Psychology instructor Chris Newitt

I completed my Ph.D in Developmental Psychology at the University of British Columbia – Vancouver. I have been with the Department of Psychology at Okanagan College since 2008. I have taught courses in Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, Statistics, Child Development, Adolescent Development, Adulthood and Aging, and Personality. My research interests involve social and moral decision making and the scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education.

PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of British Columbia


Join an info session or become a student for a day. 


Have your questions answered by an advisor or recruiter. 


Take the next step and enrol in a program or course at OC.