Publications in Refereed Journals
I want my students to view psychological science not as a set of isolated facts to be memorized but as a process of decision and thinking that has relevance to their own lives. In my teaching, I build activities into the course that specifically encourage students to explore the broader implications of what they learn and to help them incorporate new information into a larger cognitive framework. In my courses, students have the opportunities to cooperate with, teach, and learn from their peers; to explore course topics outside the classroom; to respond to what they have heard in a lecture; and to draw connections between course material and their own experience. These active learning strategies are used with more traditional homework or laboratory assignments to assess problem-solving and critical thinking skills that are important for all students. In addition, they engage multiple student learning styles, relate course materials to topics of interest, and make learning fun and interactive for students.
I have often found that putting science into a larger context can also help students develop an appreciation of the scientific method as a remarkably successful direction for discovery, understanding, and consensus-building. For example, my students read popular science and magazine articles and discuss them in class. These exercises familiarize them with recent scientific advancements, and demonstrate how applicable such concepts are. This also helps encourage discussion and debate about controversial scientific and popular issues. In addition, I also allow students to experience science in a collaborative setting and to become “experts” in a particular area of interest. I do this by assigning team projects for researching course-related topics of their choice and having the groups present their findings to the class. I encourage students to use these projects to explore the intersections between science and other domains such as methodology, behavior, ethics, manipulation, and general topics in psychology. Such activities lead to greater student enthusiasm and engagement in discussion, than does the simple question-and-answer review formats.
Providing students with scientific thinking has implications beyond the psychology classroom: whether or not they become research scientists, students can use these lessons throughout their careers. In all, I feel that effectively communicating with my students requires this student-centered teaching philosophy by making the classroom “interesting” to the student, and fostering respect, caring, trust, and understanding among students and faculty. I have found that incorporating student awareness, active learning strategies, and more traditional assessment tools in the classroom has created an effective atmosphere for student learning, which would otherwise be difficult to establish. Whether students are preparing to go into industry, or to higher education, they should feel confident and prepared for this next step. I believe that a student-centered teaching philosophy will be most effective in serving the needs of a diverse student population by meeting the academic goals of eachindividual student.
My commitment to individual student success inside and outside of the classroom requires personalized guidance. Personalized guidance is more than just giving students attention; it’s empowering students withdirection. I have found that students will often seek the guidance of faculty for which they have grown to trust and respect. I believe that we as faculty should be prepared to take an active role in offering students guidance. We should be open to responding and/or offering references to students with concerns outside the scope of coursework. In this way, I make every effort to embrace students motivated to build direction from education. Providing students with the personal guidance and direction necessary to facilitate academic and professional success in and out of the classroom is my vision of a student-centered teaching philosophy.
Experimental Research Aims
My general research interests are in the field of behavioral health and to understand how to enhance liking for healthier foods. My primary research interests are to test hypotheses that can answer the following two broad research questions:
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