Cherisse Flanagan, Associate Director of ACU Psychology

Dr. Flanagan's curriculum vitae (pdf)

What unique experiences and or advantages do you think ACU graduates have?

I believe that ACU students have an opportunity to develop themselves as servant leaders during their time at ACU. The environment is so rich with Christian leaders to mentor and guide. One thing I think is very distinct about the ACU experience is global experience. It is the rare class that does not have students from different countries and cultures to learn and grow in relationship with you. I also think that students who take advantage of the study abroad program and mission programs will have a better foundation for which to maneuver our growing global world.

What is an average class like? How do you lecture? What is your teaching philosophy/style?

I love Psychology. I love teaching. My goal in teaching is to spark curiosity and engage students in questioning and learning. I believe good teaching is much more than a well-structured lecture, but includes collaboration between professor and students. I strive to blend the best of classical instruction methods with more participatory, open-ended techniques. I strongly value the use of probing and discussion in my classes and believe that I have a special talent for this. There are times when classroom dynamics make that difficult and I think of that as a special challenge to overcome. I have learned to include non-threatening activities involving self-disclosure early in the semester to help the students begin developing relationships with each other. I believe that when they are comfortable with each other and with me that it facilitates learning. I also strive to include learning activities in my classes. Among my favorites is a group activity using M&M’s to “build a house” which I use to illustrate personality styles.

What do you expect from students?

My charge to my classes is for them to be authentic, accountable, thoughtful, curious, and passionate about learning. When I teach Developmental Psychology, there is opportunity to make connections to your own development and the life of your family. I never ask students to share their own experiences if they are uncomfortable doing so, but I do try to bridge the space between theory and our personal lives.

What strengths do you bring to the department?

Enthusiasm, a desire to connect with students, and real world counseling experience. As the Psychology Clinic Director, I bring the strength of administration. I love to build programs – I enjoy creating policies and seeing my work improve the education and training of our students. Also, as one of only a few women on the psychology faculty, I bring the feminine viewpoint and a desire to mentor students. I also make really great coffee.

What are your Research Interests?

I am very interested in the development of girls, particularly in the effects of media and the over-sexualization of children. For example, we know that media stereotypes reinforce a traditional female role, limiting their vision for themselves. I am also very interested in autism spectrum disorders, infant mental health, and Alzheimer’s disease.

What is your personal background? What is most important to you?

I was born in Lubbock, Texas but grew up in Abilene, attending public school. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Psychology and a later received my M.S. in Clinical Psychology from ACU. While working on my master’s degree, I married my polar opposite and amazing husband and now father, Danny. We have two beautiful daughters here on earth, and one sweet daughter in heaven. Our lives are enriched by the close relationships with our parents, siblings, and seven nieces and nephews – all of whom live nearby.

I have a strong sense of who I am first as a child of God, then as a wife, mother, daughter, friend, and teacher. In all of those roles, I seek to develop the gifts that God gave me to his glory. I value Christian Higher Education, and especially the freedom at ACU to nurture and develop ourselves spiritually and mentally, hopefully in the pursuit of making the world a better place.

What is your education background?

  • B.A., Texas Tech University, 1988

  • M.S., Abilene Christian University, 1996
  • Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2013

Presentations and publications

Flanagan, C., Shewmaker, J. (2008). Princess and the popstar. Talk presented at Highland Church of Christ, March, 2008, Abilene, TX.

Flanagan, C. Learning disabilities: Ethical considerations of assessment and recommendations. Guest speaker for the Abilene Psychological Association, October 2006, Abilene, TX.

Flanagan, C., Schneller, G., Swenson, J.E. Current trends in mental health on college campuses. Talk presented for the Abilene Psychological Association, April 2006, Abilene, TX.

Flanagan, C. Balancing life and work. Invited speaker for the City of Abilene Employee Retreat, February 2003, Abilene, TX. 

Flanagan, C. Case study analysis. Invited clinical panelist for the Abilene Psychological Association, December 2002, Abilene, TX. 

Flanagan, C., Hughes, L. Surfin’ for love: The culture of internet dating among college students. American College Personnel Association, March 2002, Long Beach, CA. 

Flanagan, C. Surfin’ for love: Internet dating. Abilene Psychological Association, Spring 2001, Abilene, TX. 

Hughes, L., Flanagan, C. Implementing career and counseling programs in residence halls. Talk presented at the Texas Association of College and University Student Personnel Administrators, October 12, 1998, Austin, TX. 

Flanagan, C.Y., Perkins, T.S., & Vanderford, C. (1996, April). Factors affecting the activities of daily living in four stages of Alzheimer’s and related disorders. Paper accepted for  presentation at the 42nd annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Houston, TX. 

Perkins, T.S. & Flanagan, C.Y. (1995, November). Psychological Distress Level and Closed HeadInjury: Clinical Considerations and Implications. Paper accepted for presentation at the 29th annual convention of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy, Washington, D.C. 

Flanagan, C.Y. & Perkins, T.S. (1995, April). Postconcussional Disorder and Mild Neurocognitive  Disorder as proposed DSM-IV Categories. Paper accepted for presentation at the 41stannual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, San Antonio, TX. 

Hale, D.D., Perkins, T.S. & Flanagan, C.Y. (1994, April). Closed Head Injury and Personality Functioning: Preliminary Findings and Clinical Cautions. Paper accepted for presentation at the 40th annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Tulsa, OK. 

Kunkel, M.A., Williams, C.S., Plescia, J. & Yungblut*, C. (1989, April). Expectations About Counseling/Psychotherapy and Life Experiences in Elderly Persons. Paper accepted for presentation at the 35th annual meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, Houston, TX.
* Maiden name: Yungblut


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