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Davidson receives David Savage award

March 03, 2014

Associate Professor of Psychology Janet Davidson has received Lewis & Clark’s David Savage Award. The award is given to a tenured faculty member whose vision and sustained service to the College have advanced the general academic and intellectual welfare of our community of teachers and scholars. The Source caught up with Janet to learn more about her passion for teaching and the significance of the award.

How might you describe your passion for teaching and research?

One of my colleagues claims that research and teaching are like playing jazz and I believe he is right. Nothing is predictable and sometimes incredible “music” occurs in the lab, classroom, and office hours. Research and teaching are intertwined and time seems to fly by when Lewis & Clark students are involved. Sometimes I wonder if I learn more from them than they do from me. In other words, I love my job. 

What are your favorite courses to teach?

It might sound silly, but each of my courses is my favorite. Even though I’ve taught Infant and Child Development (Psy 230) for many years, it still amazes me how children develop so much so rapidly. Exploration and Discovery (Core 107) allows me to focus on personal identity and to get to know nineteen first-year students that I can be in touch with throughout their college careers and beyond. In my capstone seminars (Psy 400 and 445), I get to discuss intriguing ideas with psychology majors who are about to graduate and change society. And finally, Introduction to Psychology (Psy 100) gives me the chance to tell the story of what it means to be human.

Please share your most memorable teaching moment(s).

When I first started at L&C, I used to get a little flustered when parents sat in on my classes. One day I was part way through Freud’s theory of psychosexual development, when two parents opened the door and asked if they could come in. I stared at them and then blurted out, “Of course, but I’m about to say the word penis.” The mother marched in and urged me to go right ahead. Three positive memorable events for me have been receiving the Teacher of the Year award when I was an assistant professor, a 2013 impact award from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the David Savage award for service to the College.

What does the David Savage award mean to you?

I’ve been at Lewis & Clark for more than 25 years. David Savage was one of the first people I met when I arrived on campus. The more I got to know him, the more I realized that he embodied all of the good characteristics of our College. He put in an amazing amount of time serving on committees, providing leadership and support, and advancing our academic community. He played a large role in making L&C a wonderful place for me to be over the years.


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