Teaching Excellence Awards

 Year Awarded: 2017

Faculty Award winner

Chrysalis Wright

 College of Sciences

 Psychology

My main focus as a lecturer is to get students to view psychology as both a science and an art that requires knowledge and creativity, as well as evaluating problems from a new perspective. My goals for each class include to: (1) have students experience what it is like to find a unique solution to a psychological issue, (2) force students to handle uncertain aspects of human behavior in an unbiased manner, and (3) persuade students to trust in their personal take on psychological knowledge in evaluating issues.

My approach to teaching incorporates these goals and places an emphasis on application of course material as well as opportunities for growth inside and outside of the classroom. I strive to make the course challenging but also fun, energetic, attention-grabbing, interesting, humorous, enlightening, and personal. My classes are interactive and I encourage class discussions to help students grasp the reality of the material. Psychology is all around them and I want them to experience it on a personal level. If students can relate to the material and can see it in the ‘real-world,’ they are better able to retain and relate to the information covered in my classes.

I believe that the classroom is one of the best places to advance the opportunities of students. In my methodology courses for instance, students complete a research report and are encouraged to use this as an opportunity to gain hands-on research experience to better prepare them for graduate education. Many students present this project at local undergraduate conferences as well as state and national conventions.

I also believe that teaching extends outside of the classroom and have worked with students individually through independent research as well as Honors in the Major. These students have come to understand that research is a real-world experience. Several of these students have won the Burnett Research Scholars grant, won competitive scholarships for their Honors in the Major theses, presented their work at the local, state, and national levels, and have co-authored published manuscripts in peer-review journals.

I assess student learning in a variety of ways and do not rely solely on testing. While students in my courses take exams to test their knowledge of the material, they also prepare creative works on the subject. Whether it be a research report in APA format, an immersion experience, or a project examining lifespan development, students have the opportunity to experience the material first hand and express what they have learned in a creative form. While I enjoy reading student papers, I also enjoy viewing the unique, creative qualities of my students by giving the opportunity to express what they have learned in an artistic manner be it through music videos, skits, or websites they have created. This variety of assessing knowledge allows me to accurately grade my students and to watch them grow as scholars.