By Caleb Dorfman
Melanie Henderson will become the newest addition to the Ohio Wesleyan psychology department this fall, and is ready to teach several different psychology courses.
Henderson’s expertise is in personality psychology, “specifically personality and social contexts, or how personality and situational factors interact to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,” she said in an email.
Henderson said her work spans “personality, social and organizational psychology more broadly, and applied topics more specifically, such as decision-making, occupational health, and workplace change.”
Henderson said her research focuses on social power and status, specifically how people recognize and use power.
“…(T)his line of research has also examined the effect of power on a specific workplace outcome—sexual harassment,” she said. “These projects have explored the role of power in women’s perceptions of and reactions to workplace gender harassment, or crude and sexist forms of harassment targeting women.”
Henderson said her own experience as an undergraduate student at Oberlin College was one of the reasons she wanted to come to OWU. She said her time at a liberal arts school was life-changing.
“My goal is to teach and do research in a student-centered, liberal arts college that strongly values teaching and mentoring …” she said.
“My research, teaching and mentoring interests are aligned with (OWU’s) commitment to students.”
Henderson said her research projects have “explored perspective taking – the act of inferring other psychological viewpoints, identity management strategies – perceived compatibility between multiple, conflicting identities, and attachment style – one’s interpersonal style in close relationships – as factors contributing to people’s power and communication tactics.”
Freshman Vinay Raj, who said he plans to major in psychology, said he is excited to hopefully take classes with Henderson next semester.
“I think that her research on power in the workplace sounds really interesting, and I am definitely interested in taking some of her courses,” Raj said.
Henderson will teach Introduction to Psychology, Personality and Assessment and Psychological Adjustment.
Henderson is originally from Amherst, Ohio. She attended Oberlin College, where she graduated with a High Honors Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 2007, according to her biography on the University of Michigan’s website.
Henderson is currently in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich. She received her doctorate in psychology (Personality and Social Contexts area) from the University of Michigan in 2013, after entering the doctoral program in 2007.