The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled

I believe that higher education should be focused on developing passionate, critical, independent and creative thought, and the transmission of knowledge should be in the service of developing these skills. In the classroom, I try to communicate the core issues and controversies within an area in an interactive fashion, drawing students into the material though exercises and debate. This experience provides a deeper understanding of the material and encourages students to think critically about how scientific conclusions depend on the research process. In addition, I try to teach case studies of scientific controversy on topical issues to illustrate that science is not simply an assembly of facts but a method for developing and testing ideas. In my experience, this approach has led naturally to classroom discussions where students share their own insights and critical perspectives.

My mentoring philosophy is that all the members in my lab, from honors students to post-docs, are junior colleagues. Some of the most creative insights come from students who have not yet committed to particular theoretical positions. I attempt to guide my students toward important questions and give them the training and tools to conduct research, from providing a well-equipped lab to instilling a strong sense of research ethics. My lab is a large, collaborative environment, where people with diverse expertise contribute to the production of knowledge. Our weekly lab meetings have included students and post-docs from Social Psychology, Cognition and Perception, Neural Science, Philosophy, the Law School, and Mathematics and we have hosted over 30 guest speakers in the past few years.

For anyone who teaches social psychology, my lab created a series of FREE videos of several well known social psychology studies. Each video is roughly 8-10 minutes long and can be used in a class to explain how and why a study was conducted (JoVE Science Education > Essentials of Social Psychology). The videos include live acting and animation, describe the details of how each study is run (from power analysis to figures of the key results), and a pdf summary of each study. Here is how to get your 30 day free access to the videos if your institution does not subscribe to JoVE (Psychology: New JoVE Science Education).