Mark Combs

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Mark Combs's picture
First Name: 
Mark
Last Name: 
Combs
Alt Phone: 
949-397-1600
Title: 
Associate Faculty
Department: 
Psychology
Division: 
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Office: 
SC - BGS 318 - Office
Organization: 
Saddleback College

Education
Ph.D. University of California, Irvine 2016
B.S. University of California, Irvine, 2008 (Magna Cum Laude)
A.A. Saddleback College, Mission Viejo, 2006

Awards
2021 Recipient of the Academic Senate Award for Teaching Excellence (Golden West College)
2009, 2010, 2011 Undergraduate Mentorship Award (University of California, Irvine)
2008 Recipient of Inaugural Young Investigator Award in Psychology (University of California, Irvine)
2007 Psi Chi International Honors Society in Psychology

About My Courses
One of my favorite things I do when I teach my PSYC1 course is to illuminate a clear path for students to several types of jobs they would qualify for with an undergraduate degree in psychology. For students wanting to attend graduate school and earn a master's or doctorate in psychology, I provide them a list of things they can do as an undergraduate to improve their chances of being accepted into highly competitive graduate schools. These are things I did myself that helped me get into a Ph.D. program after attending Saddleback. For students working towards a career in clinical psychology, there are in-depth discussions about the various type of counseling techniques, these discussions include an introduction to the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM). In addition, my PSYC1 course features discussions informed by societal problems like opioid addiction, faulty eyewitness testimony, the unintended consequences of social media, promoting environmentally friendly behavior, and the relationship between stress and social hierarchy. These topics are all examined through the prism of interdisciplinary research. So please feel free to email me before enrolling if you have any questions about any of my courses here at Saddleback. I've included a sample of my course syllabi with links to my OER course textbooks - which are always free.

Links to Example Course Syllabi Links to Zero Cost Textbooks
PSYC1 Fall 2021 (Hybrid Format) PSYC 1 - Psychology 2e (OpenStax)
PSYC30/SOC30 Online (8 Week Course) PSYC 30 / SOC 30 - Principles of Social Psychology

Personal Bio
I live in Laguna Beach and love all of the major sports. I play golf as often as I can. I have a little girl that I take care of and she is the center of my world. When I'm asked to share something unusual about myself, I have to say it's my obsession with comic books. I have over 15,000 digital comics on my iPad, dating back to WWII. Most of the time I read D.C. Comics, and my favorite character is Mister Miracle. I've been a fan of any technology from Apple Computer for most of my adult life. 

Academic Bio
In 2004 I enrolled at Saddleback College taking various psychology courses and eventually transferred to the University of California Irvine (UCI), where I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Psychology. After graduation, I applied and was accepted into a multidisciplinary Ph. D. program, again at UCI, and worked with Dr. Dan Stokols, an environmental psychology leader and editor of the field's handbook.

While at UCI as a graduate student, I realized that I loved teaching and working with undergraduates. During this time, I mentored several UCI undergraduate students working on various summer undergraduate research projects (SURP) in the School of Social Ecology and was recognized for this work, winning the Outstanding Graduate Mentorship award in successive years from 2009 to 2011. I also served as a teaching associate during this time for Naturalistic Field Research. This class fulfills the writing requirement for a degree from the school of Social Ecology. Students taking Naturalistic Field Research conducted on-campus research and authored 20-page research papers under my supervision.

I returned to Saddleback as an associate faculty member in 2016 and have taught PSYC1, PSYC2, PSYC30, and SOC30. I also teach at Golden West College, where I teach social science statistics and research methods. I'm a big advocate of zero-cost OER textbooks - I've converted all my classes here at Saddleback to OER,  so there are never any textbook costs in any of my classes. Having made the journey from a junior college, to grad school, and back, I have to say that I love hearing about my students' future academic plans. Quite often, my students ask for my opinion about their academic goals. I welcome these conversations as I enjoy promoting our fantastic junior college system here in California that makes it easy to transfer to one of California's world-class 4-year school systems.

Dissertation / Research Interests
My dissertation focused on the financial, psychological, and health challenges faced by near-term Baby Boomer retirees, stemming mainly from their loss of retirement assets associated with the 2008 economic recession. Specific sources of these financial and social challenges included the sustained decline in defined benefit pension plans and retirees' increasing reliance on home equity as a source of funds to cover retirement costs. The impacts of these societal trends on retirees' social integration, emotional and physical well-being were examined through a series of secondary data analyses using the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS) database housed at the University of Michigan. My statistical analyses revealed significant links between Baby Boomer retirees' overall well-being and the powerful economic and social changes (e.g., increasing economic inequality) that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years.