Rebekah Wanic Receives 2020 Lecturer Award for Outstanding Teaching

Rebekah Wanic Receives 2020 Lecturer Award for Outstanding Teaching

Psychological Sciences professor Rebekah Wanic, PhD along with Theology and Religious Studies professor Kate DeConinck, were recently awarded the 2020 Lecturer Award for Outstanding Teaching. The Career Development Center began accepting nominations from students to honor outstanding faculty members during the 2019-2020 academic year. The award is given to faculty that have dedicated their time to help them explore majors and career paths, build professional networks, and indicate their strengths. The Department of Psychological Sciences thanks Dr. Wanic for her commitment to student success through engaging pedagogy.   

Dr. Wanic has spent the past several years supervising student research on a variety of different topics and teaching courses including Introductory Psychology, Cognitive and Social Psychology, Gender, Criminology, Psychology and the Law, Statistics, Industrial and Organizational and Research Methods at several of San Diego's colleges and universities. 

Dr. Laura Getz had the opportunity to observe one of Dr. Wanic’s classes and saw that she was a favorite among students. “Students have consistently commented on her engaging classroom activities, her careful and nurturing mentoring, and her general enthusiasm for learning and a liberal arts education. Students in her courses respond with a sense of joy and increased motivation to succeed. She also teaches one of the most diverse sets of classes I have ever seen, with 13 unique courses on her CV since she began teaching at USD in 2012,” said Dr. Getz. 

In addition to having an engaging classroom, Dr. Wanic also serves on a number of committees at USD. “She works as Adjunct Liaison for the Center for Educational Excellence, she is an Integration Fellow, she was elected to serve on the Academic Review Committee and as an NTT representative to Academic Assembly, and most recently, volunteered to serve as a CEE Remote Faculty Facilitator for the Psychological Sciences department,” added Dr. Getz.

Dr. Wanic was able to answer some questions about her experiences as an educator. 


How do you keep your students motivated?

I work to keep students motivated in a variety of ways. First, by putting effort into making material for class stimulating and relevant and creating assignments that help students learn while connecting course content to their own experiences. I also keep things fun by introducing humor and energy into lectures. Finally, I give a lot of pep talks!  

What are some of the most rewarding experiences you have had from teaching?

I thoroughly enjoy my job and am always sharing how thankful I am to have such a fulfilling profession. My most rewarding experiences come from the relationships that I am able to form with students. It is incredibly reinforcing to be given the opportunity to connect with students and help them not only with course material but also assist in mentoring them. I have learned a lot from my students and am very grateful for all they have taught me. 

What do you think makes a great educator?

To me a great educator is someone with a passion for helping students grow in ways that go beyond simply learning course material. I understand that not everyone will love psychology as much as I do or use the specific content from every class moving forward. But, by challenging students to push themselves, to engage with new ideas, and to develop skills like time management, perseverance, the art of respectful disagreement, and self confidence, great educators can assist their students in cultivating fuller, richer experiences to get more out of life. It is my sincere hope that I have been able to help students grow in this way.

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