Dr. Brian M. Kelley
Department of Psychology
Distilling 22 years of scholarship into a single statement of philosophy can be a daunting task, especially when Dr. Brian M. Kelley is the subject of the exercise. How, for example, do you condense into a few words his firm convictions that a professor’s responsibility is to motivate and challenge students; to demonstrate to students through hands-on, real-life examples information that is relevant to their education and lives; to establish student-oriented classroom atmospheres; to develop student competencies and talents; and to genuinely provide students with opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned?
Kelley, who received the College’s 2012 Faculty Scholarship Award, put it this way:
“My philosophy of teaching would be defined as ‘student-centered,’ simply meaning that the course and class atmosphere should be designed for the students’ benefit and success. I view students as active constructors, discoverers and transformers of knowledge. I view teaching as a dynamic process jointly constructed by students and faculty. Even though I continually struggle in this profession, I truly enjoy teaching and continually work to improve and sharpen my abilities.”
Kelley, who noted that “teaching and research should complement one another, not antagonize one another, has involved undergraduate students in every research project he has conducted – “not simply as free labor,” he said, “but as a way to let them utilize what they have learned in the classroom.” He said he finds the enthusiasm and excitement of students encouraging and contributory to his own experience. Most of the scholarly projects he has presented at local, regional, national and international conferences – as well as published in reputable journals – include students as co-authors.
Research in which Kelley is currently involved includes community prevention efforts in substance abuse, translation research on addiction as a developmental disorder and applied research in evidenced-based medical care for at-risk populations.
“This research is important to me because it really makes a difference – a real, meaningful difference right now, not years from now,” he said. “I get really excited because I know the work I do in these areas is helping improve the quality of people’s lives in very important ways.”
He added that he sees it as giving back to the community and as part of his Christian mission.