"Stay caught up, give yourself more time than you think you will need, reading academic texts will always take longer than you think it will."
I am a theoretical psychologist and assistant professor at the Northwest Missouri State University where I am also the coordinator of the General Psychology program. I have been studying the psychology of horror for the last 10 years, writing my master’s thesis on the relationship between personality variables and horror genre engagement and my dissertation on the qualitative experience of the horror fan as viewed through the psychoanalytic framework of Jacques Lacan.
My research interests are three-fold. I have published work on the nature of weird fiction and the uncanny, my expertise in horror has been featured in Bustle Magazine, presented my work on horror to more than a dozen national and international psychological conferences, and at an international film festival. I am currently co-authoring a book on the role of race in horror. In addition, I have also published works in parapsychology, exploring questions of human consciousness in apparition experiences created in a laboratory. My third and final area, I have recently co-authored a book with Routledge Press, exploring recent social justice movements and their implications for subjectivity as viewed from the lens of theoretical and philosophical psychology.
In which online program(s) do you teach?
Which classes do you teach online?
General Psychology, Theories of Psychology, Career Paths and Prep in Psychology.
In what ways do you connect with online students?
Students can reach me by university-approved email. If you would like a phone call or an online meeting, send me an email and we can arrange a time.
What do you want your students to take away from class?
I want students to leave with a new level of confidence in reading new, and often difficult, subject matter. I want them to know how to interrogate subject-specific readings and work alone and/or with others to come to have a better understanding, even if imperfect, of new material. Finally, I want students to learn the skills to see what assumptions lie underneath the principles and ideas that they encounter no matter the subject.
Why did you start teaching?
I started teaching because I wanted to be able to make the same kind of life-changing impact that many of my professors had on me when I was an undergraduate. During my time in university, I found that I had a knack for explaining difficult concepts to my fellow students in new ways to help them understand difficult course content. So with the nudging of some of my faculty mentors, I came to realize that I could refine and apply those skills to help a great many people as a professor.
What advice would you give to your online students?
Stay caught up, give yourself more time than you think you will need, reading academic texts will always take longer than you think it will. Keep pushing forward, even if things are difficult to understand; take what you do understand, even if it is only a little bit, and build from there. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
What qualities make someone particularly successful in the field in which you teach?
In our current time in history, information has never been more accessible, thus an educator is no longer the repository or gatekeeper of knowledge as they once were. For me, a good educator is more like a translator. A successful educator will be able to take a difficult concept or idea and explain it in a manner that is understandable by the student. Additionally, a successful educator will show their students how to curate information, sifting out the bad information from good, and the pertinent from the dross.
What is the one book you think everyone should read?
“Needful Things” by Stephen King.
What do you do when you need a laugh?
I watch an episode or clip from “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”
Tell us something your students may not know about you:
So since before I was in graduate school, my family has only ever had one car, meaning that I walk or bike almost everywhere I go around town, as I leave the car for my wife and children to use. So between this and the pacing I do in my large classrooms, I average about 10 miles of walking (and occasionally biking) a day. So tallying this up and not counting weekends (when I usually do not get in as many miles), this equates to the same as having walked a little more than 4 round-trips across the United States, from California to Maine.
Links to multimedia:
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