May 29, 2001
Nowicki goes beyond classroom
By Eric Rangus firstname.lastname@example.org
Theres something different about walking with somebody across
campus or getting a cup of coffee with a student than there is standing
in front of a lecture hall, said Stephen Nowicki, Charles Howard
Candler Professor of Psychology.
But sometimes I think thats when you do your best teaching,
he continued. When you dont have a script and you have to
be yourself. I probably do some of my best teaching walking from class
to my office.
The George Cuttino Faculty Award for Mentoring was created in 1997 to
annually recognize an Emory professor for his or her contributions to
students both inside and outside the classroom. In 2001, the Cuttino Award
has been given to Nowicki.
I didnt believe it, Nowicki said, recalling his reaction
when told he would receive the award. It sounds like a cliché,
but there are so many other professors who work closely with students.
George was our lightning rod within the faculty for working with
students, Nowicki said. He worked with them all the time;
students loved him.
Sitting in his office, Nowicki is surrounded by pictures of students
and other knickknacks from his 31 years as an Emory professor. And he
collects more keepsakes by the day.
I just received this postcard yesterday, he said, holding
up a piece of mail.
For the past 12 years, Nowicki has taught a senior seminar entitled Empirical
and Experimental Approaches to Relationships. The class size is
15, but students are chosen by lottery. More than 70 applied to take the
class this past semester.
Five years ago, Nowicki said, he gave his studentsmembers of the
class of 1996postcards, with the instructions to return them in
2001 with an update on their lives. So far he has received 12 of 15.
Its neat because you keep connected, and thats what
keeps me going, Nowicki said.
I ask my students to say hello to me on campus,
Nowicki said. One of the classes he teaches each year is abnormal psychology,
which contains 120 studentsnot the best scenario for individual
attention. This allows him to attach names to all the faces he sees.
Nowicki also accompanies students to England for study abroad courses.
There, they get to see him outside the classroom, in a place where he
is perhaps more approachable.
Thats the neatest thing when youre sort of vulnerable as a professor, he said. I have a real strong belief that the most important thing about college is when there is one student who wants to learn and one professor who wants to teach. If there are places and times where that relationship can grow, thats good.