Melissa Himelein, Ph.D.

Director of The Center for Teaching and Learning, Professor of Psychology
052A Ramsey Library, CPO 1540


Melissa Himelein is a professor of psychology and the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, UNC Asheville's faculty development center. She teaches a laboratory course in the psychology of women each spring, a multidisciplinary field focusing on unique issues affecting development and adjustment in females. The class emphasizes critical thinking, with students learning to assess scholarly articles for potential gender bias and conducting their own original research projects.

Melissa's current research focuses primarily on the scholarship of teaching and learning, but past projects related to her interest in the psychology of women include gender comparisons among youth competing in elite sports, attitudes toward seeking help for sexual dysfunctions, and depression and body image issues among women with polycystic ovary syndrome. She greatly enjoys working with students on research and has supervised more than 20 undergraduate projects presented at regional or national conferences.


  • A.B., Brown University (Psychology)
  • M.A., University of Kentucky (Clinical Psychology)
  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky (Clinical Psychology)

Courses Taught

  • General Psychology: Personality & Social Processes
  • Personality
  • Psychology of Women
  • Practicum in Family Wellness
  • Health Psychology
  • Field Work

Research and Professional Interests

I conduct research in both health psychology and the psychology of women. I greatly enjoy supervising undergraduate projects in these disciplines, which recently have addressed such varied topics as obesity prejudice, self-esteem interventions for at-risk adolescent girls, the impact of physical activity on adjustment to college, and the reduction of mental illness stigma. In my own research, I am currently evaluating the effectiveness of a family-oriented physical activity program on obesity, and I am also involved in the study of the impact of polycystic ovary syndrome on women's mood and body image.