Professor Has ‘Head Start’ at Reaching Students

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When it comes to engaging students in the classroom, Wendy Rogers is thankful that she has a head start because of the subject she’s teaching.  “Psychology is the science of human behavior — so most students start off interested,” said Rogers, a professor in the School of Psychology.Other strategies she employs include linking research studies to real-world examples students can relate to and providing context for the research by covering who the researchers were, who funded it and why it is important.  “And I encourage the students to voice their own views and learn to be critical consumers of research results,” Rogers added.  Recently, The Whistle sat down with Rogers to learn more about her and her time at Tech. Here’s what we learned:How long have you been teaching, and how did you get to Tech? I received my Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Tech in 1991 and then worked in faculty positions at the University of Memphis and the University of Georgia. When the position here opened, I jumped at the chance to return. The opportunity to join the Tech faculty was exciting. Plus, it allowed my husband, Dan Fisk, who is also a member of the faculty, to live in Atlanta — not halfway between Atlanta and Athens.Tell us about your area of research.    My early research concerned understanding how well older adults could acquire new skills and the conditions that best facilitated such learning. But then I began to address questions involving older adults’ interactions with technology. For example, I’ve assessed user challenges for a range of technologies including automatic teller machines, blood glucose meters, computers and personal robots.  What is the greatest challenge you face associated with teaching, and how have you dealt with it?Understanding the individual needs, capabilities and motivations of students and helping them succeed is a challenge. For example, at the undergraduate level, I try to use everything from multiple-choice tests to oral presentations to assess performance, since certain evaluations work better for some than for others.         What piece of technology could you not live without as an instructor? PowerPoint really changed the nature of lecturing in large classrooms. It makes it easier to provide content in an interesting, engaging way, and it helps to keep the students’ attention focused on the learning goals of each lecture.  What are three things everyone should do while working at Tech?Enjoy the beauty and character of the campus. For example, I like to sit in the garden behind Skiles under the Mickey Mouse clock. Attend a football game or other sporting event on campus. Take in an event at the Ferst Center, since it’s an intimate venue where you can see world-class performances.  Where is the best place to grab lunch (on or off campus), and what do you order?I like Ferst Place. The food is always good, the staff is pleasant and the environment is nice for hosting off-campus guests. I usually eat a little bit of everything on the buffet.Tell us something unusual about yourself.I am the youngest of six children, with only nine years separating the oldest to the youngest. We lived with our parents in a small three-bedroom — one-bathroom — house and still are very close today. I also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007 with my husband and friends to raise money and awareness for the 22Q13 Deletion Syndrome, which a friend of my son’s has.  If you weren’t in your current line of work, what would you be doing?I think I’d be a good copyeditor. I can’t help but notice grammatical and typographical errors — to the dismay of my students.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 04/29/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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