I am Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Randolph-Macon College, here in lovely Ashland, Virginia. This page pulls together a number of aspects of my online life. Here is a copy of my cv or a short 100 word biographical sketch.
Teaching: I am a professor at a small liberal arts college, which means that teaching undergraduates is my primary responsibility. It also happens to be my primary passion. Courses that I have taught include: General Psychology, Systems and Theories of Contemporary Psychology (a history and philosophy of psychology course that serves as our senior capstone), Sensation and Perception, Cognitive Psychology, Research and Theoretical Systems in Sensation and Perception, the Psychology of Illusions and several special topics courses in our first year seminar program. To read more about my teaching (and materials from my courses), see the teaching tab above.
Research: My research includes both basic and applied research. My basic research focuses on how our body influences our perception of the basic layout of the natural world. When we see a distance or a hill, how is that perception affected by the energetic state of our body? A secondary area of research includes our intuitive understandings of physics concepts. How do we learn and understand basic physical principles? My applied research seeks to apply findings in cognitive science to K-12 educational settings. I am also the co-author of a new edition of an introductory cognitive psychology textbook: Cognition: The Thinking Animal with Daniel Willingham, now available from Cambridge University Press. Read more about my research on the research tab above.
Advising: Another of my primary responsibilities is serving as an academic adviser for students here at Randolph-Macon. This involves helping guide students through our general education curriculum as well as the psychology major. My role of adviser also includes general academic help as well as career and graduate school advising. Read more about my advising on the advising tab above.
Service: A critical but often unrecognized element of every professor’s life is service to their discipline, their department and their college. I have served on the Assessment Committee (as chair), as well as several committees to plan Randolph-Macon’s first-year program offerings. I have also served as director of a first year program, entitled Randolph-Macon Colloquium and Seminar or RMCS101. I am currently serving on the college’s Retention Committee, on the Committee on the Faculty (our committee for tenure and promotion). I am also currently serving as Department Chair for Psychology.
Public Scholarship: I view part of the role of being a creator and steward of knowledge as sharing that knowledge as widely as possible, not solely within a small academic community. I accomplish this is several ways. First, I keep an active blog to share my professional activities with a broader audience, as well as comment on relevant issues in psychology, higher education and education reform. Second, I occasionally write more popular essays for other outlets. Thus far my work has been published in Educating Modern Learners, Scientific American, The Atlantic, Vox and the Core Knowledge Blog. Third, I share the wonder of psychology in person, giving presentations to diverse audiences from third-grade classrooms to corporate IT departments, to science cafe events in bars. Finally, I am active on twitter, which I see as a medium to engage my colleagues as well as journalists, teachers, and other people outside of the academy on issues that are relevant to psychology. You can see more details on my public scholarship on that tab above.