Breaking News: Human Development Welcomes “New” Faculty Member!

Human Development is simply thrilled to announce that Dr. Dean Rodeheaver will be back in our department full-time beginning in the Spring 2008 semester! He may be a new face to students, but he has actually been at UW-Green Bay for many years and has a reputation as an amazing teacher. He returns to Human Development after serving 12 years as Assistant Chancellor for Planning and Budget.  His degrees are from the Life Span Developmental program at West Virginia University (he’s a Mountaineer, born and raised), and he has been at UW-Green Bay since 1983.  His specialty was in middle-age and aging, and he served the local community for many years as a member and chair of the Brown County Commission on Aging (now the Aging and Disability Resource Center).  As Assistant Chancellor, he was responsible for the campus budget, strategic planning, budget requests to the state, master plan, and management of building projects including Mary Ann Cofrin Hall, Lab Sciences, Kress Events Center, and the University Union.  He currently serves as the Campus Sustainability Coordinator and is active in community organizations dealing with sustainable planning.  His teaching interests include sports psychology, public policy and the life span, sustainability issues, and planning and budgeting. He will be teaching Introduction to Human Development in the Spring, as well as an exciting new course: Public Policy Across the Life Span.

New Course for Spring 2008: Public Policy Across the Life Span

Dr. Dean Rodeheaver’s return has made it possible for Human Development to offer Public Policy Across the Life Span (HUM DEV 483G) for the first time this Spring. Take advantage of this exciting offering which will count as an upper-level elective for the Human Development major or minor, and read on for more information about the class.

“Could health care be better designed by a Human Development major?  Has Social Security forever changed the way we think of growing older?  This new course attempts to integrate student expertise in human development theory and research with an understanding of social issues, public policy, and social programs.  Throughout the course, the focus will be on two questions:  How closely are public policies and programs based on research on human development?  How do public policies and programs shape our conceptions of the life span?  Since we are entering an election season, two timely policy issues will be included as examples: health care policies for mothers and children and age-based policies and programs for the elderly (Social Security and Medicare). The course will also include guests from various social agencies and require students to conduct an in-depth examination of a social issue they choose.”

Research Assistantships: A Student Perspective

Last month, we brought you a new feature with our first “Student Perspective” interview.  This month, we bring you our second installment with Brittany Broder, a senior Psychology major and Human Biology minor who is serving in her second semester as a Research Assistant.

1. Who are you working with for your research assistantship (RA)?

Dr. Kate Burns

2. How did you find out about the RA and go about getting it?

I heard a lot of my classmates talking about doing research with different professors, and I thought it sounded pretty neat. Then not too long later Dr. Burns approached me about doing research, and I agreed very quickly.

3. What kinds of things do you get to do for your RA?

I do a lot of background readings on past research.  I also help develop some of the ways we test things in the lab. After the experiment gets approved through the IRB, I run the lab: having participants sign informed consents, getting the computers set up, getting participants in the rooms, having them read debriefing forms. After the experiment is done then I code the data, and sometimes I enter it into Excel. Very exciting stuff.

4. How do you think the RA relates to what you have learned in your classes?

It is exactly like Dr. Lorenz’s experimental psychology class, except I didn’t have to come up with the original idea. It also helps me to understand the theory and mathematical analysis behind classes like Tests and Measurements, such as “oh that is why I care about error!” or “standard conditions are important for every subject because….” It is also helpful when reading research articles that other professors have a student read. I understand why the methodology, and p-values are important to mention in those articles.

5. How important has this RA been to your educational experience at UWGB, and why?

Being an RA has been very important; it allows me to understand the entire process behind running an experiment from start to finish. I know that this is something I will be doing in my future career as a graduate student and as an employee. Most importantly, it allowed me to get to know one of my professors on a different level. Working side by side with Dr. Burns is such an honor; she has a Ph.D., and I am just an undergraduate student. Getting to know a professor is also helpful when the time for letters of recommendation comes around!

Editors’ Note: Wondering about getting a research assistantship of your own?  Read the want ads below for information about who is looking for RAs right now.  Also, the Human Development and Psychology websites have information on what faculty members are researching what, so check them out for more information.

Career Tip of the Month: Identify Job References

Students headed to graduate school will have to solicit letters of recommendation for their applications. Those moving directly into the job market, on the other hand, will probably not need letters. They will need to provide the names of people who can serve as job references. Here are some “dos” and “don’ts” for selecting and working with your references.

  • Do ask people to serve as references, rather than just assuming they are willing.

  • Do make the request of people who know you well and who can speak to your abilities in areas that are relevant for that job.

  • Do ask politely whether the individual feels he/she can be a good reference for you.

  • Do think about whether faculty members would be the best job references for you. Potential employers often ask about your interpersonal skills, maturity, skills working with children (or other relevant group), maturity, responsibility, and so on. It can be very difficult for professors to answer those questions if they have only worked with you in a lecture-based class. On the other hand, if you have worked with a professor on an internship, RA, or TA, he or she may have many things to say about your applied skills.

  • Do follow-up with references, letting them know if you got the job and sending a thank-you note regardless.

And, on the other hand…

  • Don’t use personal references, unless you have been specifically told by the employer they are appropriate. You might have used individuals like a family friend or minister as references in the past, but they will probably not be good professional references now.

  • Don’t include someone’s name as a reference on your resume or a job application without asking first. Even if the person is willing, it can make you look bad and hurt your application if the potential employer calls, and your reference is obviously unprepared.