Thursday, May 23, 2013

Top psychology professors list includes Beth Schwartz

A Randolph College faculty member has been named one of the best 21 psychology professors in Virginia.

Beth Schwartz, the Catherine E. & William E. Thoresen Chair in Social Sciences and assistant dean of the College, was named to the list by StateStats.org and Online Schools Virginia, websites that provide information on educational resources, including online and traditional colleges.

Schwartz was selected because she “helps students prepare for graduate studies by facilitating hands-on lab experiences rarely available to undergraduates at other schools,” according to the online list. “She encourages students to learn through teaching, emphasizing collaboration across classes and disciplines.”

Schwartz said scientific literacy is a significant emphasis in her classroom. “When I'm teaching, I try to help the students understand the science of the discipline,” she said. “It’s not just content focused. It’s more about how psychologists understand the material.”

Schwartz begins this emphasis with her introductory psychology courses, so even students majoring in other subjects can understand how the science of psychology works. She invites students to help her prepare presentations for psychology conferences, write chapters for books, and design and conduct research projects during the year as well as during the Summer Research Program.

This prepares students to continue studying psychology, enter related fields, and answer questions that can benefit from a scientific understanding of psychology. “They know not just what the answers to the questions are, but how we can go about answering those questions,” Schwartz said.

The websites produced the list of top psychology professors after publishing information on the top schools in each state. “Our readers requested information on the instructors, so we had a group of researchers look for professors who had recently been awarded or recognized by their peers, students, and/or institutions for exemplary work inside or outside of the classroom,” said Roman Schomberg, a communications and partnerships official with StateStats.org. “Individuals whose work addressed issues to deemed to be of great importance were honored as well.”