2018 Faculty of the Year: Julie Luker

Julie Luker
Julie Luker, EdD

Psychology instructor exemplifies excellence and professionalism in teaching

Each year, members of the Phi Theta Kappa Alpha Omicron Beta chapter at Inver Hills Community College collect votes from the entire student body to recognize outstanding contributions to teaching by an individual instructor on campus.

Julie Luker, EdD, a psychology instructor at Inver, was chosen as the 2018 Faculty of the Year. Julie was honored at the Inver Hills 2018 Commencement Ceremony.

“Being elected Faculty of the Year by the student body came as a huge surprise,” Julie said. “I am humbled. Knowing that students here are as excited about building community as I am is incredibly motivating and affirming. Thank you so, so much!”


Lynda Milne, Inver Hills interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, is happy for Julie, noting that this annual recognition holds particular importance for faculty members at the college.

“Faculty prize most the honors and awards they receive from students because they are a special confirmation of the meaning and depth of their relationship with students,” Lynda said. “Julie’s students clearly value her as an engaging and fun teacher who is also an expert and active scholar of psychology.

Lynda added that Dr. Luker has been teaching at Inver for just three years, but she’s made a big impact on Inver students.

“Her work to secure the college’s chapter membership in Psi Beta means that Inver psychology students now have the opportunity to be members of a national honor society,” Lynda said. “Only two other Minnesota community colleges offer this advantage to students, preparing them for transfer to universities and eventual work in their chosen field.”

More about Dr. Luker’s contributions to teaching…

Julie Luker, EdD
Julie Luker, EdD

Julie is a lifetime member of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology for four-year colleges and universities. Julie joined Psi Chi while attending the University of St. Thomas. She earned a B.A. in Psychology from St. Thomas, graduating cum laude in 2000.

Remembering how much she learned and had fun as a Psi Chi member, Julie collaborated with fellow Inver Hills Community College psychology faculty, including Barb Curchack, PhD, to submit a charter application to Psi Beta, the Community College National Honor Society. The Psychology department’s goal was to start a Psi Beta chapter at Inver Hills.

“We had been working toward starting a chapter over the past year,” Julie said, noting that she filled out and submitted a Psi Beta charter application to meet a March 2018 deadline. “I learned on April 3 that Psi Beta had accepted our application for a new chapter.”

Julie reported that Psi Beta membership is open to students pursuing any major.

“All you need is a 3.25 GPA or higher,” she said. “You need to have completed at least one college psychology course with a grade of ‘B’ or higher. You should also have a genuine interest in psychology as well as high standards of personal behavior and integrity.”

The benefits of Psi Beta membership for students are extensive: ¹
  • Members are eligible to participate in Psi Beta community service and national research projects.
  • Memberships may be used as a lifetime education and career reference.
    • Psi Beta will always verify your membership on your behalf.
  • Eligibility for a variety of national award competitions.
    • All opportunities are announced on the Psi Beta website.
  • Minority students are eligible to apply for Psi Beta mentoring leadership programs.
  • Psi Beta membership contributes to student confidence and self-worth.


Psi Beta also offers the experience of operating a chapter with numerous opportunities for personal growth, including: ¹
  • Acquiring leadership skills
  • Interacting with faculty outside the classroom
  • Learning more about the professional and educational choices available in psychology
  • Meeting outstanding professional psychologists Participate in community service
  • Meeting peers with similar interests

¹ Courtesy of Psi Beta

“As a member of Psi Beta at Inver Hills, you will belong to a community of like-minded people,” Julie said. “You’ll get the chance to serve our community, do research and apply for scholarships. And joining Psi Beta means you can keep your membership for life.”

More about Psi Beta…

Psi Beta is the national honor society in psychology for community colleges. Psi Beta’s mission is to encourage professional development and psychological literacy of all students at two-year colleges through promotion and recognition of excellence in scholarship, leadership, research, and community service. The society functions as an association of chapters operated by Psi Beta students and faculty advisors, coordinated by a national office.

Psi Beta participates with Psi Chi, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the APA Committee on Baccalaureate and Associate Education (CABE), and other psychological organizations at APA, APS and regional psychology conventions.

Membership is offered through the Psi Beta chapter at your college. Read more…

— Courtesy of Psi Beta

Click image below to check out the official Psi Beta brochure:


More about Dr. Luker…

After graduating from St. Thomas, Julie went on to earn an M.A. in Cognitive and Social Processes at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. From there, she studied at Hamline University in St. Paul, earning her Ed.D. in Education in 2015. Her doctoral dissertation topic was Perceptions of cyberbullying within higher education.

Besides serving as psychology faculty at Inver Hills, Julie also teaches psychology courses at Concordia University, St. Paul, The College of St. Scholastica, and Century College. Her work at Inver includes serving as the faculty advisor for the new Psi Beta chapter and Psychology Club.

“Everyone from any major is welcome to join Psychology Club,” Julie said. “We are about building community, getting to know each other, volunteerism and finding common ground. Psychology blends well with other fields.”

Julie is married and her husband, Matt, is a software developer at The Nerdery. Julie and Matt have one daughter Alison, 11, who’s in 5th grade and already filming, editing and producing her own movies. The family proudly owns a 14-year-old Pomeranian named Steven.

When she’s not spending time with her husband, daughter and Steven, or busy teaching at four different institutions, Julie enjoys reading just about everything, including nonfiction, but especially horror novels. She also loves running long distances. She’s completed a number of half-marathons and is looking forward to running an entire marathon one day.

Originally from St. Paul, Julie resides with her family in Eagan, Minnesota.

Psychology Transfer Pathway

Associate of Arts (A.A.)


Inver Hills Community College offers you the chance to complete an Associate of Arts (A.A.) in Psychology. Course credits will transfer directly to designated bachelor’s degree programs at all seven Minnesota State universities.

The entire curriculum the Psychology Transfer Pathway program has been carefully designed to guarantee you junior status when you are admitted to a Minnesota State university. You can go on to complete your bachelor’s degree by earning 60 additional credits.

The Psychology Pathway consists of the Required Pathway Curriculum, the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum, the Health and Physical Fitness Requirement, and any electives to bring your credit total to 60.

Transfer Pathways

With this transfer pathway, you will be able to transfer to the following majors:

Bemidji State University
B.A. in Psychology
B.S. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.25 or higher
Minimum admission to major GPA: Major courses with grade C or higher

Metropolitan State University
B.A. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
Minimum admission to major GPA: Foundation courses with grade C- or higher

Minnesota State University, Mankato
B.A. in Psychology
B.S. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
Minimum admission to major GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.5 (C) is required, including PSYC 201 Statistics with grade C or higher

Minnesota State University, Moorhead
B.A. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher
Minimum admission to major GPA: None stated

Southwest Minnesota State University
B.A. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: none stated
Minimum admission to major GPA: Grade C- or higher is required for major or minor coursework applied toward a degree from the Psychology program

St. Cloud State University
B.A. in Psychology
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
Minimum admission to major GPA: None stated

Winona State University
B.A. in Psychology–Option A
B.A. in Psychology–Option B
Minimum transfer GPA: Cumulative GPA of 2.4
Minimum admission to major GPA: Completion of specific courses with grade C or higher

Visit Psychology Transfer Pathway for curriculum details.

Psychology Transfer Pathway

Dr. Luker Q & A

Julie Luker, EdD
Julie Luker, EdD

What do you like best about teaching at Inver Hills?
Do you ever just “know” when someplace feels right? That is what is best about teaching at Inver Hills. It is a good fit for me. I am surrounded by a diverse student body and also by invested faculty, staff and administrators.

What is your teaching philosophy?
I consistently seek common ground with my students to promote a successful learning experience. Building rapport with my students and building community in my classrooms are some of the approaches that I utilize on a regular basis to establish that common ground. Only after this is established can the real work of learning begin.

How does the study of psychology influence your day-to-day life?
Psychology involves the study of human behavior, and impacts all areas of my life. Knowing the “why” behind human behavior allows me to be a better person to myself and toward others.

What led you to become a psychology professor?
I have always been interested in human behavior and research, particularly regarding the downtrodden or marginalized members of society. After spending many years as a student, I wanted to give back by becoming a professor in my field and sharing my knowledge with others.

Three words that describe you as a person:

What do you like best about psychology?
What I like best is that I get to consistently promote critical thinking. To conclude on any particular matter or concept in psychology is generally inadvisable unless we have first considered more than one avenue of thought. I like that the field of psychology can (and should) be viewed in this way, through various lenses.

What is your most memorable experience teaching psychology?
My most memorable moment was when I walked into my first class years ago. At the time, the students were almost my age. I felt like an imposter! These days, age no longer intimidates me.

What’s the strangest thing you ever learned regarding human psychology?
One of the strangest things I have learned is that we have a window of opportunity to develop language. The window closes when we are still young. Because of this important finding, it makes no sense to me that American education does not consistently incorporate second language learning into K–12 curriculum.

Why should college students study psychology?
Psychology is a field that is applicable to many different career paths. It is a versatile degree.

Who is your favorite living or dead psychologist (or psychiatrist)?
Albert Bandura

Three words that describe you as a teacher:

What would you tell students thinking about pursuing psychology as their major?
Yes! Along the way, get involved in research with a professor or independently. It will enhance your knowledge about the field in a meaningful way.

What’s one thing every psychology professional should know?
Sometimes the students will be smarter than you…and that is OK.

What person has influenced your life the most?
Dr. Walter Enloe, Gordon B. Sanders Professor of Education at Hamline. Dr. Enloe taught me about the importance of developing community in my classroom. At first, I didn’t like the concept because I was used to learning independently. Now, however, I base my whole teaching philosophy on community building!

What’s been your greatest challenge so far?
I am an adjunct instructor at the moment, so my greatest challenge is remembering my daily schedule, such as where to be and when to be there!

What’s your greatest achievement so far?
Publishing a research article, International perceptions of cyberbullying within higher education, with my colleague at Inver Hills, Dr. Barbara Curchack.

Julie Luker gallery

Dr. Luker | 21 Answers


  1. Favorite season: Spring
  2. aaa_BoraFavorite natural feature (e.g., waterfalls, oceans, mountains, etc.): Oceans! I love saltwater.
  3. Favorite sport or physical activity: Running long distances
  4. Your national bird if you could have one: Penguin
  5. Place you would most like to visit: Bora Bora
  6. Favorite holiday: Christmas
  7. Your national mammal if you could have one: Dog
  8. Favorite actor or actress: Carol Burnett
  9. aaa_death-cabFavorite band or performing artist: Death Cab for Cutie
  10. Your personal motto if you had to have one: “Keep on keepin’ on.”
  11. Coolest thing in the world: The ocean
  12. Scariest thing in the world: Deep caves and holes
  13. Favorite all-time TV show: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) “Don’t get eliminated!”
  14. Favorite all-time movie: Labyrinth
  15. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: I want to raise a strong daughter.
  16. Most precious material possession: I made a miniature version of my childhood home, using craft materials. It took many days to complete.
  17. aaa_labyrinthFirst thing you would buy if you won the $1.5 billion Powerball: Pay my debts.
  18. Dream occupation: Full-time professor position
  19. Person you would most like to meet: Richard Dawkins
  20. Skill you would most like to learn and master: Drawing
  21. Humankind’s greatest challenge: Poverty
To learn more about following the Psychology Transfer Pathway at Inver Hills, contact:

Pam Fergus
Psychology Faculty

To learn more about the Psi Beta chapter and Psychology Club at Inver Hills, contact:

Julie Luker, EdD
Psychology Faculty
Psi Beta Faculty Advisor
Psychology Club Faculty Advisor

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