2011 National Psychology Teacher of the Year!

2011 National Psychology Teacher of the Year

Psi Beta Chapter Advisor Kari L. Tucker

     The Society for the Teaching of Psychology recently announced that the 2011 winner of the Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding teaching at a 2-year college is Kari L. Tucker of Irvine Valley College in Irvine, California. Dr. Tucker earned her BA at California State University, Fullerton, her MA at Pepperdine University, and her PhD in social/personality psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She is currently a professor of psychology at Irvine Valley College.

Students report that Kari presents well-organized class sessions, maintains a respectful demeanor toward her students, and, when appropriate, can be humorous and fun. Her research methods classes also provide an introduction to psychological research that many students follow into their careers. For example, many students take the opportunity to present their own research at a regional or national convention under the guidance of Dr. Tucker.

Although Dr. Tucker interacts with students in the first 2 years of their undergraduate experiences, the inspiration she provides to her students extends throughout students’ time at Irvine Valley College and continues into their educational and professional careers. For example, Dr. Tucker helped one student meet a famous research psychologist at a regional conference; the student went on to work with the researcher and graduate from the famous psychologist’s 4-year university with a strong foundation for graduate school. The student is quick to acknowledge the strong scholastic foundation that Dr. Tucker provided in class and in research collaboration. For other students, Dr. Tucker’s guidance is less tangible but no less important. A student who went on to a high-quality 4-year university and then into a research position at a prominent lab said, “Her guidance, mentoring, enthusiasm, and support are with me every day that I take on new challenges in school and in life.”

As she has served for ten years as the Irvine Valley College Psi Beta advisor, she has extended this role to serve as research advisor for Psi Beta’s first two national research studies of shyness and happiness.

Dr. Tucker’s own scholarship rests heavily on her passion for teaching. She has published her studies of happiness in journals such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, and this topical area has served to draw many students into collaborative work with Dr. Tucker. She often involves student coauthors and invites students to conduct high-quality research that they can present at regional conferences or other venues. For example, between 2003 and 2009 alone, she sponsored 14 student convention presentations with 28 student coauthors.

For these and other accomplishments, Dr. Tucker has received numerous awards, including the National Advisor of the Year award from Psi Beta and, as a graduate student, the Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of California, Riverside. Congratulations Dr. Kari Tucker, Psi Beta advisor at Irvine Valley College!

Teacher of the Year
Kari Tucker

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