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New UW-Eau Claire Faculty Member
Receives National Award
MAILED: Sept. 30, 1999|
A new assistant professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was honored this summer by the American Psychological Association for being an outstanding teacher of psychology.
Dr. William Douglas Woody was the recipient of the APA's McKeachie Early Career Teaching Excellence Award of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, one of four awards presented annually by the organization.
"I was really surprised but excited," Woody, who earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., said of the award.
At UW-Eau Claire, Woody is teaching a general psychology course and a course on the history of the systems of psychology, as well as continuing his research in the area of jury decision-making.
"UW-Eau Claire offered me a really neat opportunity to teach the things that I love to teach and to do the research that I want to do all in one place," Woody said, noting that his thesis and dissertation both were on aspects of jury decision-making.
For example, Woody said he has done research in the area of compensatory and punitive damage awards by juries.
"Jurors face a complicated task," Woody said. "They are supposed to use certain aspects of the trial information and ignore others. Some of my research has looked at whether they are able to pay attention only to those things they should pay attention to."
The research, which Woody shares with attorneys and other researchers through journal articles and presentations, can help identify strategies for helping jurors concentrate on those things that they've been instructed to consider when making their awards.
It was through his undergraduate and graduate studies that Woody became interested in social psychology issues. He now hopes to bring some of the excitement he found in the field of psychology to his students at UW-Eau Claire.
"I try to use interactive demonstrations," Woody said of his teaching style, be it in a freshman-level general psychology class or a senior-level advanced course. "I try to make things as real as I can make them. I try to find demonstrations that fit into the classes, are doable and make psychology come alive for the students."
For example, Woody said he likes to set up a scenario in which a "crime" is committed in front of the class. Class members then serve as eyewitnesses and must later provide the details of what they witnessed. The exercise demonstrates that people remember very little of what actually happened and often provide details that are contradictory, Woody said.
"I want to get students to think about something they haven't thought about before or to think about something in a new way," Woody said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Sept. 30, 1999