Home

A-Z Index  |  Site Map  

About Transylvania

A-Z Index  |  Site Map   icons Printer-friendly version Email this page

Mike Nichols

Visiting Professor of Psychology; Assistant to the Dean of the University; Pre-Health Committee Adviser

Hazelrigg Hall 4
Transylvania University
300 North Broadway
Lexington, KY 40508-1797

Phone: (859) 233-8158
e-mail Mike Nichols


“I want my students to discover applications for psychology in teaching, music, literature, art, business, personnel management—and in living a bigger life.”

Mike Nichols has a warm personality, gentle voice, and a teaching style that reflects his affection for the students at Transylvania. “I’m grateful to share in this extraordinary chapter of their lives,” Nichols says.

And in Nichols’ mind, the study of psychology should have a place in every student’s curriculum. “Psychology is just good for all kinds of stuff! It’s good for child raising, getting along with parents and partners, and even understanding social movements.”

He hopes students draw on insights in psychology to understand music, literature, and even themselves.

“Some of the struggles we see characters have in literature can be understood by psychology. Iago, a character in Shakespeare’s Othello, is a perfect example of the anti-social personality disorder.”

On the flip side, psychological research has also demonstrated the value of the arts for human well-being. “Psychological studies have revealed the impact of music in stimulating creativity and inducing peacefulness.”

But Nichols’ favorite application of psychology is using it to reveal his students’ full potential. As assistant to the dean of the college and part-time staff member in the career development center, psychology is central to Nichols’ commitment to helping students.

It’s his job to help interpret students’ career vocation inventories. These inventories “generate ideas that students might not have thought of before and suggest jobs that students may not have even heard of.” 

As assistant to the dean, Nichols focuses on students struggling with retention. “Often students just need to talk,” Nichols says.

He speaks passionately about a session he had with a student who planned to become a pediatrician, but was not doing well in science. After a 30-minute conversation, Nichols helped her identify that it wasn’t pediatrics that she described as her dream job, but pediatric social work. “She left with a new major and something she really wanted to do,” Nichols said. “I could do that all day and never get tired.”

In the classroom, Nichols feeds off his students’ enthusiasm. He loves that moment when a concept clicks for a student for the first time. He hopes his classes are a “springboard for future learning.”

“Studies show that when fish are kept in small bowls, they swim in small circles, even when they are released into larger ponds, because they aren’t aware of the vastness of the environment.” Nichols believes that a liberal arts education teaches students to swim in bigger circles. “I want my students to know about the vastness of the pond—to live in a larger, richer world.”

Nichols' educational experiences have enriched his life outside of work. He enjoys photography, reading, writing, and opera (particularly lyric opera and works by Gilbert and Sullivan), and he collects black-and-white antique photos of film and radio stars of the early twentieth century.

“I want my students to have great careers, but I also want them to have great lives.”


Want to know more about Transylvania's psychology program?

Academic history

Courses taught

Recent publications

Areas of research

Awards

Professional memberships

Additional information

Academic history

  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 1978
  • M.A., University of Kentucky, 1970
  • A.B., Transylvania University, 1968

Courses taught

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Psychology of Religion
  • Health Psychology
  • The Movies and Mental Health

Recent publications

  • The Laurel Crowned Circle: Omicron Delta Kappa and 100 Years of Leadership, published by Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, 2014
  • Kuhn. C.C., Nichols, M.R., and Belew, B.L., "The Role of Humor in Transforming Stress Life Events," in Handbook of Stressful Transitions Across the Lifespan, Thomas V., Miller, Editor (2010,  New York: Springer)

Areas of research

  • Mental health care
  • Behavioral medicine
  • Psychology of religion
  • Psychology of humor

Awards

  • 2012 National Adviser of the Year, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
  • Distinguished Service Award and The Irvin E. Lunder Medallion, Transylvania University
  • Cheryl M. Hogle Award for Distinguished Service to Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Various teaching awards, University of Kentucky

Professional memberships

  • American Psychological Association
  • Kentucky Psychological Association
  • Religious Research Association
  • Society for Behavioral Medicine

Additional information

  • Licensed Psychologist, Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • Past President, Kentucky Psychological Association
  • National Council, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
  • Former Director, University Counseling and Testing Center, University of Kentucky
  • Former Staff Psychologist, Eastern State Hospital, Lexington, Ky.


 List of Faculty »
Contact Us | Maps & Directions | Feedback | © 2003-2014 Transylvania University. All rights reserved.

Transylvania University admits students regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other classification protected by federal or state law or local ordinance.