Involving students in conducting research is the most effective way to communicate to them not only the excitement and joy of the process of scientific discovery, but also the obstacles and frustrations that often must be overcome. I am very interested in continuing to investigate attachment theory, particularly in terms of processes of change in the internal working model of attachment and how the presence or absence of change relates to the intergenerational transmission of child abuse and neglect. I also am interested in the role of self-reflection processes in bringing about change in teachers' personal belief systems and teaching practices.
I earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1986), a Masters in Clinical-Child psychology from the Ohio State University (1992), and a Ph.D. in Developmental psychology from the Ohio State University (1995). I began teaching in 1988, and have taught a wide variety of courses in Connecticut at the University of Bridgeport and Saint Joseph College, and in Ohio at the Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College. I have been teaching at UTD since 2000.
In all of my courses, my most fundamental goal is to bring about change in the ways in which students think, not only about the topics addressed in the discipline, but about themselves and the way they perceive the world. To achieve this kind of deep and lasting change students must be challenged to question their own current level of understanding and see that they must revise it in terms of new information and by evaluating assumptions, evidence, and conclusions. I incorporate considerable class discussion into my lectures in order to elicit students’ ideas, to promote active involvement with the material, and to assess students’ ability to apply course concepts. I want students to learn not just what we think we know in the discipline but how we came to those conclusions, how we continue to re-examine the evidence for those conclusions, and how we gather evidence to generate new knowledge.
Students need opportunities to think, to write, to read original research, to discuss ideas, and to practice reasoning and problem solving using skills that come from the realization that their old ways of thinking may have been inadequate for these tasks. It is these skills that enable students to become thoughtful and informed consumers of research in psychology, and to continue to learn long after the course is over.