Dr. Melissa Fortner

Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Melissa Fortner

“One of the most rewarding elements of teaching is watching students have those moments of realization that something they’re learning in class has significance for the choices they make in their own lives.”

Psychology professor Melissa Fortner aspires to promote her students' understanding of humanity, and that begins with an understanding of themselves and their relationship to the world.

"Such understanding requires a cultivation of critical thinking, honest introspection, and communication skills," she says.

Fortner cultivated those skills during her own undergraduate days at Transylvania, where she completed a double major in psychology and philosophy. Eight years later, in 2004, she returned to her alma mater, where she now helps students grapple with questions about how society shapes individuals, and how gender-, race-, and class-based systems of privilege affect all Americans.

The ultimate goal, says Fortner, is to help students develop as autonomous, authentic, life-long learners who are mindfully and ethically engaged in the world.

Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University, 2004
M.S., Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State University, 2000
B.A., Psychology and Philosophy, Transylvania University, 1996
Human Development: Childhood and Adolescence
Human Development: Adulthood
Doing Gender in Marriage
Issues In Developmental Psychology: Identity Development
Issues in Developmental Psychology: Parenting/Parenthood
Issues in Developmental Psychology: Family Development
Developmental Psychopathology
General Psychology
Statistics for the Social Sciences
Senior Seminar in Psychology
First-Year Seminar
Violence, Memory, Identity, Family: The Oral History and Psychology of Dictatorship (Travel course to Argentina)
Status-based privilege and power (e.g., based on gender, race, and class) as an organizing feature of identity development and relationship functioning
Feminist analysis of family relationships
Critical and social justice psychology
National Council on Family Relations: member of the Feminism and Family Studies section and the Race and Ethnicity section