Why or how did you come to teach at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford?
I was interested in teaching at a 4-year undergraduate institution. When I interviewed on campus, I was impressed by the collegiality between faculty and between faculty and students.
What do you think the purpose or benefit of a higher education is?
I view the purpose of any education to be self enrichment. Education can be a tool to help one enhance career opportunities [the traditional view]; however, I also view the quest of knowledge and inquiry just as important. Higher education should challenge the student to explore information and provide students with the tools to be able to ask questions that have not been asked [or answered previously] and be able to try to answer those questions. Although specific knowledge associated with disciplines of interest is important, without understanding the context in which that discipline relates to the world the knowledge is meaningless.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of working on a small campus?
On a small campus, everybody looks out for everybody. The connections established with such a small campus are beneficial to getting things done.
What are the benefits, in your opinion, for students studying in a small campus setting rather than on a large/urban campus setting?
The small campus, away from the urban trappings, is extraordinary in providing a very special relationship with faculty. Having been exposed to small rural campus, small urban campus, & large urban campus; I think the major benefit to the small campus is the attention and guidance that the faculty offers the students. This relationship is critical to the academic development of students in preparing them for the world outside of campus.
Within your field of teaching and research; what specific directions do you tend to channel your energy and why?
I try to blend the two areas [teaching and research]. What we know about psychology is grounded in research, I emphasize the understanding research and applying the approach to question the world around us.
With a word or two, how do you think a student would most likely describe you as a professor?
Fun but demanding
What is an interest or hobby of yours that is an extension of the teachings of your academic field?
I try to attend conferences on a regular basis that allows me to travel [hobby] and keep fresh on the cutting edge information in the field.
What is an interest or hobby of yours that really doesn’t have anything to do with the teachings of your academic field?
My main hobbies include: music [listening], black and white photography, cooking, and enjoying nature. Of course I am fascinated by penguins—almost fanatically. I'm actually a self-proclaimed foodie...When I cook, I never directly follow recipes, but I will use them as a frame if I'm trying a new dish. I don't bake because you have to follow recipes; I like to experiment. I don't have a favorite dish to make; I like everything! I really enjoy playing with a full meal and how all of the dishes fit together instead of focusing on one dish.
How might you respond to a student who enjoys the subject matter of your classes but isn’t necessarily strong in that field of study?
I try to help the student find ways to apply the material—to facilitate a deeper understanding of the material, thus hopefully developing the area into a strength.
What kind of movies do you most enjoy? Why?
I am a huge fan of several genres. I love classic movies—primarily because they are entertaining. I also like sci-fi because of the social commentaries. I am also a fan of the independent films—primarily because they push all sorts of boundaries and ideas that I find extremely intriguing. Of course, good comedies are important because we all need to laugh.
What’s one thing you want to do before you die?
Spend a summer in Europe traveling between the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Tour de France
As a former undergraduate student, was there a certain professor that stands out in mind as a favorite, someone who you really respected, or someone who really inspired you? Why?
Yes. I developed a great relationship with two professors while I was in college. They inspired me to pursue psychology and academia. Their kindness, guidance, patience, and tutelage are what really inspired me. They also encouraged me to explore psychology rather than just sitting in a classroom and learning about it. After graduating from college, the relationship blossomed into collegial friendships.
What is your favorite on-campus event?
I always look forward to Kevin's plays! And, of course, any Third Thursday presentation by Rick Frederick is just a riot!! Since I live out of town, it's tough to make evening events.
What is your favorite class to teach?
I really enjoy teaching Counseling Psychology, which I'm currently teaching. I also like Psychology and Law, which is offered every other year. Another favorite is Child Adolescent Psychopathology, or as Warren Fass and I call it, "kiddie ab." In it, we discuss many of the disorders that we talk about in Abnormal Psychology, but we focus on how they effect kids and teenagers.
Are you currently working on any research?
I am not officially working on anything at the moment, as I'm in a transition phase between my last project and the next one. I just finished a project on juvenile sex offenders, which I started in Nebraska. I am currently consulting with local mental health agencies. While I am not currently working on my own research, I am assisting others in their research. For my next projects, I'm interested in looking at public health and psychological health issues. I would like to research the psychological factors associated with family and domestic violence, with an emphasis on child abuse.