Michael G. Livingston feel in love with the history of psychology in 1976 when, as a second semester senior at the University of Michigan, he took his first seminar in the history of the field. After a three year hiatus from college, during which he served in the Peace Corps and continued to cultivate his passion for history and for psychology, he began graduate studies at the University of Minnesota´s Institute of Child Development where his professors graciously allowed him to take one of his four preliminary exams in the philosophy and history of psychology. Livingston eventually earned his Ph.D. in Child Psychology and, after a few part time jobs as a contingent faculty member, began teaching full time at the College of St. Benedict/St. John´s University in Minnesota in 1985.
One of the first courses he was assigned to teach was history of psychology, a course he has taught on a regular basis since 1986. Students taking the history of psychology course often had little interest in the content of the course. History was a required capstone taken at the end of their undergraduate major. Over the years, Livingston tried many texts and experimented with many active learning strategies with the goal of fostering in his students an interest in the history of the field and an appreciation for how the field has evolved within the broader social context. Eventually, he started writing and then using his own history in these course, modifying the text in response to student feedback.
In addition to the History of Psychology course, he regularly teaches Developmental Psychology, Research Methods in Psychology, the Psychology of Emotions, and a seminar on Freud and Psychoanalysis. He also has directed five study abroad programs, two in Spain and three in Chile, and taught his university´s first year writing and speaking seminar. He has won Saint John´s University teacher of distinction award in 2003, the Minnesota Psychological Association´s undergraduate teacher of the year award in 2005, and the Robert E. Sloan award from the Minnesota Association of University Professors for his contributions to academic freedom and the professoriate in 2007.