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Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Susan JONES

CSUDr. Susan Jones has been a professor at Charleston Southern University since 1988. Originally from Coral Springs, Florida, Dr. Jones earned her B.A. from the University of South Florida, and her masters and doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Jones came to CSU straight out of graduate school in 1988 and soon discovered she enjoyed teaching more than working in clinics counseling people directly.

Dr. Jones uses several teaching methods in the classroom to stimulate her students interest in the subject. In Abnormal Psychology, she has structured panel discussions. After discussing controversial topics, the students divide into small groups, research the topics, and prepare debates. Another interesting tool she uses in Abnormal Psychology is popular film. She shows movies or movie clips that portray characters with psychological disorders. The class then discusses whether or not the disorder was depicted correctly and accurately. Viewing disorders and the dynamics between the characters helps the students learn to write assessment reports. Some of the movies she has shown are A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Scent of a Woman.

A third technique she uses is her personal desire to "find the missing link." When a student is having trouble in a particular area, Dr. Jones likes to sit down with the student and work one-on-one in order to discover where the student is having a problem. When she is able to pinpoint the "missing link," she explains it to the student, usually resulting in what she calls the "lightbulb phenomenon." This moment of revelation in students occurs when the student finds the missing link, and Dr. Jones completes her mission. A final technique she uses is incorporating the computer into the classroom.

Upon review of student evaluations, Dr. Jones has concluded that two factors contributing to her teaching excellence are her sense of humor and her use of examples. Most of her humor in the classroom is unplanned, yet it serves to relax the atmosphere and make the relationship between student and teacher more personal. She also feels that examples help students relate to the topic in a way they may not have been able to before.

Dr. Jones insists she is "just a normal person" who loves to go camping with her family and spend time with her eight-year-old son. Though most of what she does off-campus is typical mom and family activities, she said it might surprise her students to know she enjoys playing sports such as football and catch with her son.