The faculty members of the IWU Division of Behavioral Sciences are all professionals in their own areas; most practice their disciplines off campus a limited amount of time along with their teaching responsibilities. This allows them to stay current in their fields and in touch with the world they seek to serve. Some faculty members do private counseling; some are school counselors, social workers and researchers; and many are leaders in community "helping-relationship" agencies such as Crisis Pregnancy, Hands of Hope, prison ministries and grief counseling ministries. All of our Psychology and Addictions Counseling faculty are doctorally prepared, as are 75 percent of our other professors.

All of our professors integrate their faith in their disciplines.

Kersten Priest; MA, PhD Assoc Prof; Sociology kersten.priest@indwes.edu Department - Sociology Division - Behavioral Science


Dr. Kersten Bayt Priest is a sociologist of culture and an assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences. She is a child of immigrants and was raised in California. As a young married woman, she moved with her husband and children to Amazonia. While there she became convinced of the importance of integrating biblical truth with socio-cultural perspective in order to better understand people and global society. When her youngest son was a toddler, she returned to graduate school and completed degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology. Today she considers it a privilege to pursue projects and present papers on issues surrounding justice for vulnerable minorities, women, and children. Micah 6:8 is a consistent theme inside and outside her classes.

Educational Background:

  • B.S., 1980, Columbia International University
  • M.A., 1998, University of South Carolina
  • Ph.D., 2009, Loyola University


Dr. Priest has done qualitative ethnographic research in South Carolina, urban and suburban Chicago, Peru, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, and most recently, India. Over the years her research interests have included issues surrounding interracial worship and fellowship, and immigrant religious communities. Most recently she is examining how Christian women's short-term mission trips are establishing new patterns of global religion and resource connectedness.