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College of Arts and Sciences News

Kent State Psychology Professor Is Honored with Outstanding Teaching Award

Posted Feb. 10, 2014
enter photo description
Robin Joynes, Kent State assistant professor of
psychology, is surrounded by well wishers following
her announcement as a recipient of one of three 2013
Outstanding Teaching Awards.

A compassionate teacher who is able to make the class laugh and still maintain a serious learning environment is a teacher who has proven to be outstanding in many ways. Robin Joynes, assistant professor in Kent State University’s Department of Psychology, is one of those teachers. She was honored with a 2013 Outstanding Teaching Award.

The Outstanding Teaching Award honors exceptional nontenure-track and part-time faculty members at Kent State. Sponsored by the University Teaching Council, the awards are given every year to three Kent State faculty members for their outstanding achievements in teaching.

“I felt honored to receive this award,” says Joynes. “There are some professors here that I use as a model for my teaching, so for me to receive this award seemed beyond my expectations. At the same time though, it was very rewarding and motivating.”

Joynes says she believes in whatever teaching style works for her students, but the specific teaching style that works for her is built on interaction with the students. She says that students’ responses inform her of what they are or are not understanding and where she needs to slow down.

“She's one of the few teachers who has made me laugh and actually enjoy the learning process,” says Colette Williams, a psychology major. “In addition to that, she's an understanding person, extremely intelligent and probably the most down-to-earth professor I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know.”

Joynes says that she is finding more and more effective ways to engage her students. Every year, she sees grades and attendance go up.

“I feel like I’m raising the bar, and the students are rising to this bar,” says Joynes. “They are looking at the material in ways I would never consider, so I get to spend as much time being a student as I do being a teacher.”

Weston Sisson, sophomore accounting major, says Joynes illustrated psychology through detailed explanations with simplicity and humorous stories.

“She was keen on elaborating the subject matter with pictures, videos and examples that students could use in their own lives,” says Sisson. “I believe this made for a much higher level of memory retention for other students and me.”

Joynes also won the Distinguished Teaching Award for Arts and Sciences in 2006 and a recognition award from Student Accessibility Services in 2012. A couple years ago, she was asked by her department chair to co-teach the College Teaching course where first-time graduate instructors are taught the art of teaching an effective course in the department.

“When students can look back and say that they learned a lot and were taught effectively, that’s what is most rewarding,” Joynes says.