Nothing gives Winona State University (WSU) Associate Professor of Psychology Amanda Brouwer more excitement than when a student connects what they learned in psychology class to their own behaviors or personal life experience.
“What’s important to me is that it goes beyond the experience of the classroom,” the professor said with a smile. “I’m helping students learn about themselves, and how we interact in the world around us.”
Brouwer, who is as enthusiastic about mentoring students as she is about making psychology content relevant to them, has been honored with the 2020-2021 Professor of the Year Award for WSU.
Each year, students vote for a professor that goes above and beyond for their students. The professors chosen are ones that serve as exemplars in being accommodating, accountable, engaging to students, making an effort to have their curriculum relevant to daily life, and aiming to make their courses affordable for students to participate in. The award is through the WSU Student Senate, but it is voted on and decided by all students.
Brouwer said she was surprised when she was notified that she had won the award.
“I almost didn’t read the email because a nomination, like, this was the furthest thing from my mind,” Brouwer said as she laughed. “My mind has just been on survival.”
Brouwer said that she’s especially touched by the award coming after a year of hardships.
“This last year was so hard on everyone,” she said. “The fact that I was able to go beyond that survival mode is a real affirmation of my efforts.”
But she didn’t do it on her own, Brouwer said.
“Good teaching is never done alone,” Brouwer said. “It’s a product of shared ideas and support of colleagues.”