Former student of Jerusha B. Detweiler-Bedell
Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year
Willard Intercontinental Washington Hotel
Nov. 20, 2008
Former choral director and psychology professor Blaine Lee once wrote, "The great leaders are like the best conductors; they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players." Indeed, something similar can be said of a great teacher-one who wields her magic with such deftness as to reveal in her students their own potential, their own magic.
Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to you one such teacher and magic-maker: Professor Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell of Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.
The magic of Jerusha's teaching is all-encompassing. It begins with her conceptualization of all students as collaborators in the exploration of psychological theory, research and practice. This foundation leads her to carefully match instructional styles to the class being taught. In health psychology, the classes are highly interactive lectures, interspersed with individual and group projects to apply the learning to our lives. In community psychology, this means giving students leadership roles and expecting collaborative groups to propose viable solutions to campus problems. But, Jerusha does more than teach; she facilitates-encouraging her students to learn on their own, to share their knowledge with each other, and to improve the world through their growing understanding.
Jerusha's magic is not limited to the classroom, however. She is the organizational genius and stalwart strength behind the innovative Behavioral Health and Social Psychology Lab, which provides in-depth research opportunities to undergraduates. At a liberal arts college like Lewis & Clark, she is a true embodiment of the liberal arts. She participates in symposia, brown bag luncheons, campus committees, and academic society events. She attends theater productions, sporting events, and was once even spotted at a campus barn dance.
An educator now myself, I see how much more than psychology Jerusha taught me. Though I can only hope to someday achieve even a flash of her magic, her lessons are never far from my mind: Know your content deeply and share it passionately. Never cease in your own learning and in your attempt to better yourself. Cultivate the potential in each person. Believe in students-and let them know you do. Seek to make each and every individual feel recognized and valued.
To quote the Lovin' Spoonful, "Do you believe in magic?" I know that I do because I have had Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell as a professor.
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