Psychology Professor Finds Excitement in Teaching New Courses


Dr. Dale Fryxell as he teaches one of his psychology classes in 2016.

Albert Fish (The Werewolf of Wysteria), Jeffrey Dahmer (The Milwaukee Cannibal), and Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) are just a few serial killers Dr. Dale Fryxell will be teaching about in CUH’s new Psychology of Serial Killers course (PSY 450) next fall semester. Fryxell will also be teaching two other psychology classes new to CUH’s spring semester: Sports Psychology (PSY 452) and Extreme Psychology (PSY 454).

“When I look at developing new courses, what I’m really looking at is courses that I think students will be excited about and energized by,”said Fryxell, who is also the Dean of Education Behavioral Science. “I really want them to engage in the learning process, and I think if it’s something that is interesting or cool, then it’s much easier to do that.”

A lot of the new Psychology courses at Chaminade have been running as special topic courses. When asked about how long the process is for new classes to get approved at the university, Fryxell stated that if professors or students want to propose a new course, they bring the idea to him, and then he will present it to the academic counsel at CUH. Once he submits the class, the process takes about two months before it is approved and turned into a formal course and it gets a course number.

Fryxell stated that his Sports Psychology course is designed for three groups of people. The first group is student athletes who are interested in learning more about being an athlete, how to motivate themselves, how to be good leaders, and how group dynamics work on teams. The next group are people who want to become coaches in the future. And the last group are parents that want to learn how to positively support their kids that are athletes.

In Extreme Psychology, students will dive into what goes into the minds of thrill seekers like Ted Davenport, professional BASE jumper and Freeskier. Fryxell stated that he will talk about high-endurance athletes and what goes into the mindset of somebody that can push his/her body to the limit. He’s also going to cover material like looking at navy seal training, how they combat fear and build mental toughness, mixed martial arts and what makes somebody want to get in the ring, and what makes people want to join or leave cults.

“It’s really kind of those, I call the fringe areas of psychology that are just really fascinating,” Fryxell said.

General Psychology (PSY 101) is a pre-requisite for most upper division Psychology courses, but Fryxell stated that he is willing to wave that pre-requisite if a student seems eager to take a course he is teaching.

Fryxell also stated that the new Psychology courses he’s teaching in the spring will be online only. He said that he loves teaching and misses the live contact he use to have with his students.

If you have any further questions, concerns, or want more information about the new Psychology courses at Chaminade, please contact Dr. Fryxell at his email [email protected].