Professor of Psychology
Kindergarten: Lakeside Elementary School (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Elementary: St. Bartholomew's (Cincinnati, Ohio) and St. Pius X (Fairfield, Connecticut)
High school: Notre Dame Catholic (Fairfield, Connecticut)
B.S., Chemical Engineering: University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut)
Ph.D., Experimental Psychology-Social: Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire)
What is your favorite class to teach and why?
My enjoyment of a class is not just a function of the subject matter or of the teaching methods I use. Rather, the gratification ultimately comes from level of engagement of the students in the course at that time. That is, each class has its own personality and dynamic. Fortunately, I have enjoyed many of the classes that I've taught at Coe. For example, I'm currently teaching Origins of Contemporary Psychology with seven upper-division students. We've been having wonderful discussions - in class and on-line - about the philosophical, scientific, and historical roots of psychology. As a discussion-based class, the class gets its energy from the students and it's been a delight.
Name your most memorable Coe program and what it meant to you.
A few years ago, Dr. Robert Ballard, the renowned oceanographer, came to Coe as our Contemporary Issues Forum presenter. The combination of his engaging persona, his compelling stories of deep-sea exploration, and his captivating photographs that filled the big projection screen in Sinclair Auditorium made it an unforgettable evening.
Who is playing on your iPod?
Cheryl Wheeler, Patty Griffin, Etta James, 1964-1977 pop
What book are you currently reading?
The New Unconscious, an edited book by psychologists Ran Hassin, James Uleman, and John Bargh. As a social psychologist, both my teaching and research focus on ‘automaticity'. In the book, twenty different psychologists discuss contemporary research that explores how we often process, and respond, to information with awareness or intention. It has enthused me with the idea of teaching a future installment of a Thursday Forum, a Coe-sponsored, weekly lecture series for the Cedar Rapids community.
What do you do outside of class?
Due to a knee injury back in my youth (i.e., the nineteenth century), I had to give up playing basketball (much to the delight of my teammates). However, during graduate school I began cycling and that continues to be my primary means of keeping my heart ticking. Last year I bought a recumbent bike, which is like a recliner on wheels, so I'm enjoying cycling more than ever.
What is the best getaway location, local or abroad?
My wife and I went to Door County, Wisconsin for the first time this past summer and I loved it. I also cherish every opportunity to visit New Hampshire where I did my graduate work.
What is your favorite thing about Coe?
This may sound trite, or too much of a cliché, but it's the people. That's why I took the job and that's why I have always loved it here. The people at Coe - students, staff, and faculty - care about their jobs and they care about each other.
What advice would you give a prospective student?
Embrace failure. No, I'm not encouraging you to fail. But I am encouraging you to be willing to make mistakes and take risks in order to learn. Often times, students are stunned if they receive a grade that they weren't use to seeing in high school. However, I try to remind them that they came to Coe, not because they already 'know everything', but to be challenged and to learn.