“One of the most rewarding elements of teaching is watching students have those moments of realization that something they’re learning in class has significance for the choices they make in their own lives.”
Psychology professor Melissa Fortner aspires to promote her students' understanding of humanity, and that begins with an understanding of themselves and their relationship to the world.
"Such understanding requires a cultivation of critical thinking, honest introspection, and communication skills," she says.
Fortner cultivated those skills during her own undergraduate days at Transylvania, where she completed a double major in psychology and philosophy. Eight years later, in 2004, she returned to her alma mater, where she now helps students grapple with questions about how society shapes individuals, and how gender-, race-, and class-based systems of privilege affect all Americans.
The ultimate goal, says Fortner, is to help students develop as autonomous, authentic, life-long learners who are mindfully and ethically engaged in the world.