Ultimately, I think this profession chose me. As a graduate student in educational psychology, I fully intended to go into educational research and work for an agency like the Department of Education. In my second year of coursework, I was required to teach a class as part of my doctoral program. The first course I taught was Child and Adolescent Development. I realized I had a lot to learn about how to deliver information, but worked with my graduate advisor and talked to my students about how I could improve. I decided to teach the same course again the following semester. After a lot of revision, I felt more comfortable presenting the material and engaging the students.
I think one of my proudest professional accomplishments was being invited to present my dissertation research on reading remediation at an Oxford Roundtable a few years ago. As a young girl I dreamed about going to Oxford University for college, so the conference made me feel like my academic career had, in a way, come full circle.
I like to do service-learning projects, when they are possible. I have done a service learning project on bullying for my Psychology of Gender course for the last several semesters. I also have students do regular writing exercises in some of my classes. This gets them to think about the material beyond what the textbook and my lectures tell them. In my Child and Adolescent Development course students have to write and also take part in formal debates.
Interesting Research and Curricula
This summer I began a work group to bring a bullying forum to campus. The event took place on Unity Day (October 10) during National Bullying Prevention Month, and I was very pleased with the turnout. With respect to interesting curricula, in addition to integrating service-learning projects into my own courses, I served on the University’s General Education Task Force since its inception and continue to serve as a member of the Integrative Core Advisory Board, which is involved in the continued development of the new Integrative Core program.
Favorite Part of the Job
I like that I have the freedom to continually tweak the courses I teach and that I can seek out new challenges in the administrative roles I take on. My job is not, and never has been, boring!
Since I came here, we have experienced a lot of growth and change as an institution. I think the progressiveness and willingness to adapt to a changing landscape in higher education on both the part of the administration and of the faculty is what makes us unique.