Driven Psychology Professor Receives Distinguished Teaching Award
“Small successes matter, even when students understand a complex idea, attend tutoring to improve their exam grade or make personal connections to learning,” said Rachael Blasiman, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology for Kent State University at Salem. This positive teaching philosophy led her to winning the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Blasiman is one of three educators honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching award a tenured or tenure-track professor can receive. All tenured and tenure-track professors are eligible to receive the award which is sponsored by the Kent State University Alumni Association.
“The Distinguished Teaching Award is a great honor,” Blasiman said. “It’s an honor to even be nominated for this award. I’m also glad to represent the Salem campus within the larger Kent State system. We have lots of terrific faculty here!”
Blasiman’s teaching focuses on cognitive psychology.
“I was drawn to this subject like a magnet,” Blasiman said. “I've always been fascinated by the mind and why humans do the things they do. I can't think of a more interesting topic to study.”
A senior psychology major from the Kent State Salem campus nominated Blasiman for the award.
“Dr. Blasiman is always ready and willing to help her students outside of class any way she can,” the nomination letter said. “She puts herself out there for all her students whether they are currently in her classes or out of school. She does whatever she can to help others succeed.”
The student expressed her gratitude toward Blasiman for making concepts easier to understand and relating it back to the real world.
“When Blasiman presents material that is being covered, she presents it in easy to understand terms, that allow the student to understand the material in the reading,” the student wrote. “She also shares common occurrences in everyday life that pertain to the material, to allow the student to grasp the concept of the material presented.”
Blasiman is persistent in the classroom, explaining content until her students fully grasp it. Blasiman said her favorite part of teaching is “watching students make these connections between the course content and their experiences in the world. Sometimes, it almost seems like I can see the light bulbs turning on over their heads. I really want my students to apply what they learn, so these are good moments.”
She explains that she gets “lost” in the excitement of telling people about all the amazing parts of psychology.
“As the years have gone by, I’ve become more comfortable teaching and taking risks in the classroom by testing different methods and techniques to improve student learning,” Blasiman said. “I love the challenge each semester of using new ideas to teach new students.”
Blasiman was honored at the University Teaching Council’s Fall Celebration of Teaching Conference on Friday, Oct. 25, with the other Distinguished Teaching Award and the Outstanding Teaching Award recipients.