The Southern Utah University introduction to psychology class is run a little differently than typical initiatory courses; students automatically get their first taste of psychological research and the results have been instrumental, for the students and for the professors.
One of those professors is Lynn White, psychology professor and chair of the Department of Psychology, who was announced as the 2014 Faculty Mentor of the Year by the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association (RMPA) for her dedication to mentoring students and faculty with their research endeavors.
White routinely provides individual mentoring to students' working on research projects, in addition to espousing and explaining the value of research in her research based courses. White said, “Research allows students to get a positive view of learning and it empowers them for all future research opportunities.”
White, who’s taught at SUU since 1997, has been instrumental with the University making large strides within the past 15 years by improving and increasing research opportunities for students.
She reported that the entire psychology department has promoted a culture of experiential learning on campus. One way they do this is by providing multiple chances for students to be involved in research from their first introductory course all the way through their senior project.
“Our entire department is committed to providing undergraduate research opportunities. As professors we could be even more prolific publishers, but we recognize that directing our efforts to promote student learning has helped put us on an upward trajectory," said White.
A few of the student research projects that White has helped mentor this year have the effect of control on pain and anxiety, and the impact of interpersonal attachment styles on physiological responses to an infant crying. Both projects were conducted by students and then presented at the RMPA annual conference.
White is not the first SUU psychology professor to be recognized for undergraduate research efforts. Steve Barney, professor of psychology, was recognized by RMPA in 2012 with the same award.
RMPA was founded in 1930 for the purpose of advancing psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting human welfare in the States of Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. It is a source for both professionals and students to disseminate and advocate scientific ideas.