Rate My Professor

October 26, 2010 by Post Team 

Rate My Professor, Western Kentucky University Distinguished Professor and cognitive psychologist Sharon Mutter once thought to have an office with a streetscape of the East Coast, with the cliche / d Freudian couch. Instead, it has been resolved happily for overcrowding in Tate Page Hall with barely room for a desk. Forget the window.

What happened in between is largely due to the fact that Mutter became captivated during his postdoctoral work with the reasoning in older adults. Mutter, a scholar who has obtained grants of over a million and has focused his research career at the intersection of gerontology and cognitive science.

“His research, recently supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging, has greatly improved our understanding of the reasons that older adults have difficulties in certain types of decision-making situations,” said Steven Haggbloom, department head Psychology WKU.

Mutter is a “star” faculty and “master classical scholar,” said WKU President Gary Ransdell. “She is highly respected for his teaching and that is deep in its investigation. The quality of his work and his engaging personality to help his popularity among his fellow students and faculty. She is also well connected at the national level in discipline of psychology and beyond. ”

These are some of the reasons Ransdell Mutter leadership sought the presidency of the committees of the last search for a new president and vice president for academic affairs.

“She took the complex and demanding effort with determination, efficiency and effectiveness, maintaining a sense of humor throughout.” Ransdell said. “The university is indebted to her.”

Mutter is a native of southwest Virginia, and grew up in a traffic light Pearisburg, near Blacksburg, at the foot of the Angels Rest Mountain.

“I consider myself a hillbilly, basically,” said Mutter, who earned his doctorate in experimental psychology from George Washington University in 1983.

He worked as a researcher and professor at Virginia before coming to WKU in 1991. He was appointed professor in 2000 and became a distinguished university professor in 2006. Mutter has received the prestigious national attention for his work and was recognized with the Award for Women Mentors Cognitive Science in 2005, with support from the National Science Foundation. Mutter received the WKU Faculty Research and Creativity in 2005, and has received several distinguished awards psychology department.

Mutter teaches introductory psychology, cognitive psychology and educational psychology, and graduate courses on approaches to cognition and cognitive neuroscience – “hard courses” as she says – the scientific side, based on research of psychology.

She receives a lot of comments on such as “Dr. Mutter is a very nice lady, but its course is hard,” she said. “But occasionally, I have things like, ‘Wow! This course was very interesting.” These comments are more rare, but when it is just great. ”

Many students come to the field of psychology does not understand that it is a science, so Mutter strives to make the material accessible as possible.

“I try to be careful to make sure they understand the reasons for the investigation and the link with the method used. This is very important,” he said.

“The great thing about being a university faculty member,” Mutter said, “is to be able to do exactly what you want, what you like.”

Mutter serves as a role model for aspiring female teachers, both in their personal and professional life, said Laura M. tension, a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a former student of Mutter.

Beyond the fact that the teacher presents his research at several academic conferences each year, leading many seminars on aging in various community organizations and constantly publishes articles in major publications in your area, the largest contribution to the field Mutter is its role as a research mentor, said the strain, which has worked closely with Muter in numerous research projects, as well as his master’s thesis.

“I first became interested in cognitive psychology after taking his class as a student nearly a decade ago, however it was not until I started working in his laboratory of cognition that my passion for research really emerged,” said strain. “Not only is his own research in constant evolution, which can be attributed directly to the development of my personal research for guidance and direction she gave me as a consultant.

“From practical experience in the laboratory to support conference travel and especially for sharing the authorship of published articles, Sharon makes it a point to include students in all aspects of the research process. I am sure that was the training I received as his graduate student that made my transition to a successful doctoral program. ”

It has also been a major influence in the choice of career and professional development of Seton Hall University and associate professor of psychology, Kelly Goedert, who began working as undergraduate research assistant in the laboratory of cognition Mutter, when she was a sophomore at WKU.

“Sharon was a tremendous mentor,” said Goedert, a 1994 WKU graduate who received his master’s degree in applied experimental psychology in 1996. “She was and still is, very strong on the field, and how to help students understand what the opportunities are right for them. I can remember many conversations with Sharon in her office that involved me thinking and struggling with the question what I wanted to do with my life.

“Sharon is a role model for teaching and running a research lab. I have often explicitly imitated their teaching and management style in the direction of research students in my own laboratory.”

Mutter also dedicated to improving WKU, and has held numerous service and leadership positions in the University Senate, the committee of cultural improvement, and more recently as chairman of the search committee that recommended by Provost Gordon Emslie.

“I learned a lot about the university at college doing a public service,” said Mutter. “As a faculty member who sits in his office and not leave it too often. Sometimes I need to get ideas about how things are running that are not necessarily accurate.”

Mutter has emphasized academics in university service, and at the beginning of his career WKU became a member of the Academic Council. She is also a member of the general education committee, “the liberal arts education, the part that helps us learn to think better, as she says. “We carried out the very narrow view, state of things. I always thought, even when I was a student, it was a wonderful thing. And I like to be involved in ensuring that our students have the same kind of experience.”

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