Back in high school, before I knew what I wanted to do with my life, my father reminded me that no matter my chosen profession, I would always be a teacher. His belief was that communication is fundamental, and the sharing of knowledge is a core part of what makes us great. Now, as a member of the Department of Psychology’s faculty, I try to remember that I have a lot to offer my students, and that I have a lot to learn from them as well.
I was excited about the College Fellows’ opportunity to create courses that will serve as a foundation for incoming students. The idea of having a shared experience strikes me as something that will remain memorable for them as they later reflect upon their years at UVA. In my research, I apply scientific methods to measure and predict behavior. The principles that have emerged from centuries of psychology are central in our approach as educators. Behavior also plays a critical role in each of the Engagements introduced in the new curriculum.
Within the new Empirical & Scientific Engagement courses, I am interested to learn how my students have formed beliefs about the world and how these beliefs can change over time. I am interested in learning about the experiences of students as they enter college and grow over the first year. As a facilitator, my focus will be to let them explore and interact through more of an active process than the ones they experienced in high school.