Faculty members of the psychology department have varied backgrounds and interests which are complementary but diversified to insure a balanced and comprehensive undergraduate program. Aquinas employs no graduate teaching assistants and all courses and labs are conducted by experienced professional faculty.
Daniel R. Cruikshanks



Daniel R. Cruikshanks, Ph.D., LPCC-S (OH)

Associate Professor of Psychology
Chair, Psychology Department

Dr. Daniel R. Cruikshanks joined the faculty of Aquinas College as Chair of the Department of Psychology in the fall of 2013. He earned his bachelor’s in psychology from California State University, Sacramento, his master’s in counseling from the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and his Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in St. Louis. Dr. Cruikshanks is a Supervising Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (Ohio) with nearly 20 years of clinical experience as a mental health counselor, evaluator and consultant. As a clinician, he specializes in mood, psychotic disorders and personality disorders as well as psychological and forensic evaluation. His scholarly interests include end of life development, suicide, and professional identity and development. Dr. Cruikshanks has presented extensively both nationally and internationally. He has published in the area of suicide and currently is working on a series of studies on risk factors for suicide among teens.  He currently teaches History and Systems of Psychology, Psychology of Personality, and Introduction to Psychology. 

Victor Karandashev, Ph.D.



Victor Karandashev, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
(616) 632-2155

Dr. Victor Karandashev joined the department in 2010.  He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from St. Petersburg State University, and his Ph.D. from Herzen State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg.  His areas of specialization are adult development, attraction and attachment, and intimate relationship, and he has extensive international research and teaching experience including Fulbright, Swedish Institute, and Research Council of Norway fellowships.  Dr. Karandashev’s list of publications and presentations is extensive, and most recently includes “Development of attachment in romantic relationship of young adults with different love styles” published in 2012 in the journal Interpersona, and Teaching Psychology around the World, Volumes 1-3, co-authored in 2007, 2009, and 2012.  He currently teaches Abnormal Psychology, Adulthood and Aging, Motivation and Emotion, and Introduction to Psychology.  Dr. Karandashev is the Faculty Representative for the Aquinas chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology.

Ben Chihak



Ben Chihak, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

(616) 632-2157


Dr. Ben Chihak joined the psychology department in August, 2012.  He was previously with the Hank Virtual Environments Laboratory at the University of Iowa.  Dr. Chihak earned his B.A. in Psychology from Macalester College, and his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Biological Psychology from the University of Minnesota.  His areas of specialization are experimentation and perception/action, and his recent research investigates how children and adults intercept moving gaps in traffic at intersections, and techniques drivers use to control stopping behavior at intersections.  Dr. Chihak’s most recent publication is “Perceiving and acting on complex affordances: How children and adults bicycle across two lanes of opposing traffic” published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance (2012).  He teaches Introduction to Research & Design, Sensation and Perception, and Introduction to Psychology.  Dr. Chihak is the Faculty Advisor for the Psychology Club.




Julie Schatz-Stevens, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Dr. Julie Schatz-Stevens joined the psychology faculty in 2013. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Notre Dame, she designed and implemented translational intervention programs to support families with adolescents handle conflict. In her most recent position at the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Children and Families, she continued to develop intervention programs to reach families struggling in child custody litigation as well as those headed by single parents. She is in the initial stages of the 3 year mixed method follow-up focused on evaluating the efficacy of the intervention with families with teens.