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Psychology Alumna Credits Otterbein with Making Her a Great Student and Teacher

Psychology Alumna Credits Otterbein with Making Her a Great Student and Teacher

By Alli Bates ’16


Otterbein alumni are well-prepared for careers or graduate school the second they earn their undergraduate degrees. In fact, 94.2 percent of the class of 2013 were employed or continuing their education in graduate school within one year of graduation. Those who choose graduate school often find themselves more prepared than their fellow classmates, thanks to their Otterbein education. 

Molly Metz ’09 is one of those students. Earlier this year, she was honored with The Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award by the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. The award is given each year to a graduate student teacher who demonstrates either achievement and/or recognition of being an influence to students in the field of psychology, development of effective teaching methods or materials, outstanding performance as a classroom teacher and development of a professional identity as a teacher.

“I felt so honored to have the support of my advisors and former students who wrote wonderful letters on my behalf, which I submitted in addition to a 70-page teaching portfolio for the award,” said Metz.

“After leaving Otterbein, I pursued my doctorate degree in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I spent six years there, doing research on social support in close relationships and teaching courses in social psychology, close relationships, positive psychology and research methods.”

After Metz finished her dissertation on attraction and social support, she graduated last June and moved back to Ohio in August to begin a visiting faculty position at Miami University of Ohio.

“At UCSB, in addition to my doctorate degree, I completed the Certificate in College & University Teaching (CCUT). Many undergraduates do not realize this, but faculty members often don't receive much training to actually teach about their specialty areas, if they receive any training at all—the assumption is that anyone who knows their topic well and is involved in the field is also qualified to teach it,” said Metz.

The CCUT is a unique program among top research universities that provides an opportunity for doctoral students to learn about teaching and learning, thoughtfully consider the role of technology in education, interact with a supportive community of others who care about teaching and complete a portfolio documenting the process.

“At a research institution like UCSB, I always felt a little unusual for caring so much about teaching, and this program was an amazing source of knowledge and support during my training,” said Metz. “I am currently teaching at Miami University, and though it is a fabulous place to me, it is not where I would like to end up. Eventually, I would like to teach at a school like Otterbein—one with small class sizes, opportunities for real world experiences and hands-on research, and staff and faculty who truly love what they do.”

Metz loved Otterbein while she was there, but since leaving, she has come to appreciate and value the experiences she was able to have and the people she worked with, especially after teaching classes of 150-400 people.

“I can't speak highly enough of the people who helped shape the scholar, teacher and person I would become. If I can have half the influence on students one day that the psychology department and women's studies programs had on me, I will consider myself a success,” said Metz.


Learn more about Otterbein’s Department of Psychology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies program.