Social and Behavioral Sciences

Jan Hitchcock Ph.D.

Emeritus Professor, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Office Location




Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1984
  • M.A., Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1982
  • B. A., Pitzer College, 1977


“The Social and Behavioral Sciences program’s combination of perspectives from psychology, sociology, and anthropology offers students the strengths and flexibility of interdisciplinary education.  Our students develop the ability to use tools from multiple disciplines to analyze and address diverse challenges facing individuals and communities and to pursue careers including in Early Childhood, Human Services, Education, Public Health, Counseling, and Law.”
- Jan Hitchcock, Ph.D., Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Academic Degrees
B. A., Pitzer College, 1977
M.A., Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1982
Ph.D., Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 1984

Prof. Hitchcock has been a faculty member in Social and Behavioral Sciences at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College since 1991.  After completing her Ph.D. in Personality and Developmental Psychology at Harvard University she engaged in health research and policy work at Harvard's Kennedy School of government and USM’s Muskie School of Public Service. The interdisciplinary mission of the then new Lewiston-Auburn College at USM drew her to this campus, where she has contributed to building one of USM’s largest majors.

Her teaching centers on development across the life span, including during adulthood; foundations of personality; and on interdisciplinary topics such as spirituality, risk, and poetry.  Reflecting her own interdisciplinary education, she integrates cross-cultural perspectives into many of her courses.  In addition, she regularly teaches the college’s Common Core course, “Creative Critical Inquiry into Modern Life.”  Transcending disciplinary foci, she notes, “The foundational thinking skills and learning disposition students develop are very important across all majors:  asking questions, being engaged in critical inquiry, paying attention to what's going on around them, being an active partner in their education… these are at the heart of what I hope to support in my teaching.”

Prof. Hitchcock’s early research included topics bridging the social sciences and public health:  smoking, substance abuse, and utilization of screening mammography.  Intrigued by how the meaning of “risk” varies for different individuals and institutions, she framed one line of research around “risk perception.” Her most recent scholarship–spanning the broadest interdisciplinary leap–explores the interrelationships between poetry and psychology, including, more specifically, around dreaming.  She’s presented on varied configurations of these topics nationally and internationally.  She also writes poetry and has published in literary magazines and anthologies.

Research Interests

Research and Scholarship are focused in three different tracks:  1) risk perception, 2) interrelationships between poetry and psychology, and 3) pedagogy.

Recent Publications

Raimon, E.A., & Hitchcock, J.L. (2000).  “Civic character” engaged: Adult students and service learning. In B. Balliet & K. Hefferman (Eds.).  The practice of change: Concepts and models for service-learning in women’s studies, pp. 177-190. Washington, DC:  American Association for Higher Education.

Hitchcock, J.L. (2001).  Gender differences in risk perception:  Broadening the contexts.  Risk: Health, Safety & Environment, 12(1), 179-204.

Hitchcock, J.L. (2004).  Transforming words: Poetry and psychologies of change. In F. Pereira  (Ed.).  Nineteenth International Conference on Literature and Psychoanalysis, pp. 63-67.  Lisbon:  Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada.  

Hitchcock, J.L. (2005).  Reflections on “Dusting”: Poetry’s educational and therapeutic capacity to convey and evoke multiple meanings.” Journal of Poetry Therapy, 18(4), 195-205.

Hitchcock, J.L., & Bowden-Schaible, S. (2007).  Is it time for poetry now? Therapeutic processes, individual and collective.  Journal of Poetry Therapy, 20(3), 129-140.

(2001) Mary Smith.  Puckerbrush Review, 19(2), 49-51.
(2002) Chicken barn. Off the Coast, 8(1), 37.
(2003) Burying the dog. In A. Farnsworth (Ed.) Grace Notes, p. 16. Kennebunk,
    ME: Sheltering Pines Foundation.
(2010) Not a feminist poem.  Puckerbrush Review, 27(1), 55.
(2012) Reconnaissance. Puckerbrush Review, 27(2), 66.
(2012) Vanities. Puckerbrush Review, 27(2), 68.