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Dr. Keith Rieder

Professor of Psychology

Dr. Rieder holds a B.A. from Edinburg State University, an M.D. from Wesley Theological Seminary, an M.S. from Duquesne University and an Ed.D. and a Ph.D. in Psychology, both from West Virginia University.

Please describe your program and your vision for it. 

The Psychology Program has grown a great deal in the last 12 years. We have expanded the course options, improved the course content and focused on preparing students for careers as researchers and psychotherapists. We have grown to be the third largest major on campus, are rated in the top 5 percent of psychology programs nationally, and are considered the top 3rd psychology program in the state. We provide a solid base of knowledge in research and a broad understanding of clinical concerns. We want to expand further to include courses relevant to school psychology. 

What are some of your former students up to now?

We have students who are now doing psychotherapy with severely impaired patients, such as schizophrenics, working as forensic psychologists, and who are in private practice as counselors. We also have students who are administrators in mental health agencies. Others are now pursuing doctoral studies in other fields, such as anthropology. We have had students tell us that they are teaching their fellow graduate students who do not have a solid background in psychology. We have also had former students tell us that graduate professors have said that they could teach the classes in graduate school because they went to Waynesburg. There are graduates who are now in management and doing well due to what they learned here. A major aspect of our high rating as a program is that our graduates are doing better financially and in promotions than people who have attended other institutions.

If I were a student considering this major, what are some career paths I would be able to pursue? 

This is one of the surprising things about this major. There is a wide variety of careers open to psychology majors. Everything from business management to psychiatry to clinical psychology are possibilities. Many correctional systems like to hire psychology majors, as do many police departments. The knowledge of human beings is essential to many careers where people are being served or are being managed to achieve good work.

What do you think is a true differentiator for WU or your program?

Most important is our emphasis upon getting to know, support and help our students. We are a community that cares about each other. As a result, we help our students through difficult times and classes. We mentor as well as teach. Much of our time is spent helping students understand how they can achieve their goals.

Anything else you’d like to add? 

When talking with prospective students, I sometimes feel like I’m giving a sales pitch when I am really just relating the facts that we know about this program. One interesting thing is that people can get far more training in therapy at the undergraduate level here than in most other schools. 

How do you prioritize personal wellness, any tips for students and working professionals? 

Leave work at work and remember that the problems of the people you work to help are theirs, not yours.

What is the most interesting place that you have visited and why?

Ireland. My wife and I loved the country, but it was the gracious reception of the people that set it apart.

What are you particularly good at that few people know about?

I love photography and history.

Who would you invite to the perfect dinner party? 

Jesus, Buddha, Einstein, Nelson Mandela and Henri Nouwen.

What is your favorite recipe to make?

A casserole of ground beef, potatoes, carrots, onions and mushroom soup.

Learn more

Students enrolled in the Department of Humanities take courses with faculty who have expertise in many varied fields. It is home to many of our programs that are part of the traditional liberal arts curriculum. The department houses our psychology, history, and biblical ministry courses.

As a student in the Department of Humanities, you'll learn the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, empirical findings, and historical trends in your particular field of study.