School Name: Rochester Institute of Technology
Location: Rochester, NY
Type of college/university: Masters Granting Department
Classes I teach: Introduction to Psychology, Social Psychology (Undergraduate and Graduate), Experimental Methods, Evolutionary Psychology, Forensic Psychology, Interpersonal Relationships
What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?
Not to be afraid to say “I don’t know, but let me get back to you on that.” I have always found that this is an acceptable answer, especially when you get back to the class the next period on what the answer is (or what the controversy is). I think this is especially important today as students can get surface-level answers with a quick google in class, but you as the instructor can give a better answer.
What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher?
McKeachie’s Teaching Tips
Tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach: Introduction to psychology.
Describe a favorite in-class activity or assignment: One of my favorites is my first day activity where I pass out a “Quiz on Commonsense Psychology”. Of course, the list of 25 questions is simply a collection of commonly held myths of psychology. I make the students get up and move around the class related to their answers and have them discuss why the answered the way they did. This activity and its discussion never fail to get a few laughs, and it spins nicely into my discussion of research methods and pseudo-science which follow in the subsequent days.
What teaching and learning techniques work best for you?
For me, it really depends on the class; in my lower level classes I like to have students do exercises that force students to relate the topics to their own lives. In my upper level classes, I like discussions of recent empirical articles (the discussions are done both online and in person).
What’s your workspace like? I teach in many different classrooms which range in size and scope. My office is has my desk, a work station (really just a small desk) for meeting with and helping students, along with many photos of my family and some mementos from my years in academia.
Three words that best describe your teaching style: Passionate, interactive, lively
What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Science, writing, and critical thinking; oh my!
What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I am an internationally awarded amateur winemaker and brewer.
What tech tool could you not live without? My laptop; it is how I do nearly all of my work.
What’s your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? Children and sports