Lauren Hecht, 2022 Carlson Award Winner, Psychological Science Department Posted on May 25th, 2022 by

I have the privilege of introducing the winner of the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching. The winner of this award is selected from among nominations submitted by students, faculty, and staff and it is the highest honor awarded to Gustavus faculty. Thank you for your attention as I introduce you to my colleague.

This year’s winner is a thoughtful and creative teacher whom one colleague describes as a, “model of student-centered innovative teaching.” Students describe this person as “well organized,” “accessible,” “responsive,” and “supportive.” I have observed this person teach on more than one occasion and each time I review a syllabus and enter their classroom, I am inspired by the creativity, intentionality, and attention to detail that goes into each course and each class session. I see students experimenting with ideas they read about in preparation for class and hear them engaging in spirited discussions over the material; you can almost taste the excitement for learning that is the direct result of the efforts of this professor in creating a safe, supportive, and rigorous learning environment.

In addition to their excellent work with students in their department, this person’s attention to student development goes well beyond their department, as one colleague notes that they have “inspired students from many disciplines” by training students from across campus to be leaders, teachers, and mentors. It is perhaps their own experience as a first-generation college student that has caused them to be especially perceptive of the needs and concerns of our newest students.

I get the sense that a few of you might be starting to figure out who I’m talking about.

But Gustavus is filled with great teachers who care about students, so what sets this person apart? Well, one thing I know is that today’s winner doesn’t just teach students. One colleague describes her as, “a master at creating and sharing teaching approaches to help us all become better teachers.” In fact, I would go so far as to say that many faculty perceive her to be the go-to person for questions about teaching, advising, and understanding the curriculum, particularly through our transition to a new general education curriculum over the past two years. As a colleague notes, she has “wide tentacles of influence across campus” and she has used that influence to make us all better teachers and advisors.

Professor of Psychological Science, Dr. Lauren Hecht has been a member of the Gustavus faculty since 2010. She earned her PhD in Psychology from the University of Iowa and an undergraduate degree from Albion College with a double major in Psychology (with Honors) and Philosophy. She is a cognitive psychologist who studies sensation, perception, and attention. She is also the director of the First Term Seminar program and is the driving force behind an innovative and effective peer mentorship program that impacts nearly every student on campus. In addition to overseeing the FTS program and regularly teaching her own FTS and a class for the peer mentors working with FTS classes, Lauren teaches a variety of courses within the department of Psychological Science including General Psychology, Sensation and Perception, and Cognitive Psychology. She is an active scholar and mentor, with multiple publications and presentations, many of which feature research done in collaboration with students.

For all of the work that she has done with students and for students, it is my great joy to congratulate Professor Lauren Hecht, winner of the 2022 Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching!

Presented by Kate Knutson
Professor of Political Science
2020 Recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award


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