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Christopher Krebs - Assistant Professor, Psychological Sciences

Ph.D., West Virginia University


Christopher Krebs

How did you end up at Eastern?

“I grew up in Idaho and attended Idaho State University (ISU), which was the local public liberal arts college. Initially, my goal was to obtain a degree in biology and apply to medical school. I enjoyed those studies, but I found my interests shifting after taking some Psychology courses which were part of the required liberal arts curriculum. After taking a course in Behavior Pharmacology I changed my major and never looked back.”

Dr. Krebs received his Ph.D. at West Virginia University and did postdoctoral work at the University of Texas’ Center for Addiction Research. “Eastern is a small public liberal arts college similar to that to which I attended during my undergraduate studies, and I am surrounded by colleagues who share a passion for teaching and genuinely care about our students.” 

What is your favorite course to teach?

“If I had to pick one class it would be my Principles of Learning course. This course serves as an introduction to the field of behavior analysis, and it is often the first time students learn about the many things that one can do as a behavior analyst. The most rewarding part of this course is getting to see the ‘ah-ha’ moments that students have when they start seeing how principles of behavior apply to their own lives.”

Describe your research

“Much of my research has focused on advancing the understanding, prevention and treatment of impulsivity, a behavioral trait broadly defined as action without sufficient forethought, which is an important risk factor and contributor to many ill-health effects such as addiction and obesity.

“One of my first studies after postdoctoral training was to determine if a contingency management technique using self-deposit contracts could be used to increase physical activity in adults. Using self-deposit contracts, we were able to successfully increase physical activity for all our participants. I used time here at Eastern to analyze these results and write the manuscript, which was published in a peer-reviewed special issue publication on Behavior Analysis in Health, Sports, and Fitness (Krebs & Nyein, 2021).

“The follow-up for the above study is currently underway as part of a collaboration with my colleague Dr. Jenna Scisco, who is an occupational health psychologist. Our aim is to combine expertise within our respective fields to create new knowledge and be the first to apply self-tailored deposit contract interventions to increase use of treadmill desks. We are expecting to start data collection in Fall 2023.”

Eastern is a small public liberal arts college similar to that to which I attended during my undergraduate studies, and I am surrounded by colleagues who share a passion for teaching and genuinely care about our students.

Christopher Krebs posing for photo

What do you find most rewarding about teaching at Eastern?

“I’ve been able to build personal connections with many students and watch their repertoires expand while they discover their true passions. I’ve also engaged several students in transformative learning experiences by completing research and teaching assistantships. Being able to share the passion for psychology and engage with our students to build their skillset to take the next steps in their career means everything to me.”

What is your teaching philosophy?

“I believe that when students feel both intellectually challenged and supported, they are better prepared to fully engage in the learning process. In my classrooms at Eastern (both in-person and virtual), this entails a type of learning and teaching that recognizes how various parts of the whole (e.g., each individual student, our classroom community, the broader society) are interconnected and interdependent — it is based on a philosophy of “holistic learning.” It is based on building a classroom community that encourages informed discussion and respectful debate. I believe that facilitating an environment of trust early on allows us to challenge each other with controversial topics throughout the course. Teaching holistically also means a recognition that each student’s life experiences and social identities outside the classroom carry over to inform their perspectives on the materials we cover in the classroom.”

Memorable moments

“Two moments stand out. First, during my first semester at Eastern (fall 2019) we had an alumni event. This was on a Friday night and being new I wasn’t sure what to expect. I arrived at the Betty Tipton Room that evening and the place was packed with more than 100 alumni from our department. I had not yet met any of them, but I was invited to join in on conversations and watched the genuine and sincere positive interactions between them and the faculty. These were busy working professionals with families and careers who took the time to spend their Friday evening with us and I left that night feeling excited to be part of the Eastern family.

Secondly, in spring 2022 I attended my first commencement ceremony. The pandemic had delayed prior events, and this was the first in-person graduation ceremony that I got to attend. I remember vividly arriving at the XL Center and meeting up with other faculty and then getting to see the students. Seeing the excitement shared by everyone to cheer our students on and celebrate this major milestone in their lives was truly special.”

Advice for after graduation

“Life is a marathon so don’t rush it. The work that you’ve done and connections you’ve built at Eastern will last a lifetime so don’t forget that as you begin tackling the next chapters of your life. Enjoy the adventure!”

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Thank you for being a good professor and understanding life outside that may effect the circumstances behind our lives as a student.
Student Quote
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