Sandra Deemer

Q: How long have you been working at Millersville?

A: I am in my 12th year at Millersville. I began working here in August of 2000.

Q: What classes do you teach here? Do you have any favorites?

A: I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses in educational psychology. I have also taught a freshman inquiry course titled “What Turns you on? Minds, Motivation and Learning” and a graduate course in educational research. In 2004, I was also involved in our Philadelphia Immersion Seminar, which is a living-learning experience in Philadelphia. As for favorites, I am fortunate in that all of my course assignments allow me to share my knowledge and enthusiasm related to the psychology behind teaching and learning. Creating and teaching the freshman seminar has been an exciting challenge as I attempt to infuse research on motivational theory with the practical learning strategies that are often useful for incoming students.

Q: Do your children or other family members influence your teaching style?

A: This is such a timely question because my son, Joshua, began kindergarten last year. I constantly find myself thinking about the dynamics of his kindergarten classroom as I discuss theories in educational psychology with Millersville students. Amazingly, what I have experienced in his kindergarten class as both a parent and a classroom volunteer mirrors the best practices espoused in educational psychology.

If you remember your time in kindergarten, you may recall that children are so curious, always asking questions and exploring their environments inside and outside of school. I try to consider how we as teachers can promote this questioning and exploration at various grade levels and with different types of students when I am teaching my courses in educational psychology.

Q: You had two publications featured in the Educational Psychology Reader: The Art and Science of How People Learn. How many other publications have you had? 

A: I really enjoy academic writing. My dissertation advisor, Dr. Kathy Minke, was an incredible role model for me with academic writing. Although it is challenging, I gain great pride from sharing ideas in this way especially when I collaborate with others during the writing process.  My most recent publication with Melissa Ostrowski in the journal American Secondary Education is a highlight of my publications because it actually describes and theoretically analyzes a current practice being used in a local high school.

Q: We featured your colleague, Laurie Hanich; she mentioned you were both co-editors of Teaching Educational Psychology. Can you tell us more about your personal involvement?

A: Laurie and I were so fortunate to be asked to serve in this role where we split the duties associated with this national peer-reviewed journal. In this role, I communicate with potential authors, solicit and coordinate reviews of manuscripts, and oversee copy editing of manuscripts until final publication. In addition, I have been involved in forging partnerships with leading organizations in education, such as the American Educational Research Association and American Psychological Association, as we market the journal to others in our field.

Q: What is your involvement with Phi Eta Sigma?

A: I have served as Phi Eta Sigma’s faculty advisor since fall 2000. Recently I turned this advising role over to one of our new faculty members, Dr. Tiffany Wright. I enjoyed assisting the members of this honor society in organizing their annual induction ceremony and overseeing their financial accounts. My role was strictly advisory as the great students in this organization really do all the work.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I grew up in Easton, Pa. I still have family in that area and enjoy visiting my good old hometown.

Q: What college/university did you attend? Major?

A: I graduated from Millersville in 1992. While here as a student, I majored in psychology and was fortunate enough to have been taught by great professors like Dr. Luek, Dr. Smith-Wade-El and Dr. Woo, who helped develop my passion for psychology. I also was a part of the University honors program. I received my master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Delaware.

Q: What was your dream job when you were growing up?

A: Teacher – I was one of those kids who rallied (or maybe coerced) the neighborhood kids to let me “teach” them in my makeshift school in our basement. Even though I had this calling to teach early in life, I actually steered away from it and focused on developmental psychology when I first entered graduate school. But once I took an elective course in educational psychology, I was back to my childhood dream job.

Q: What is your favorite book?

A: I am an avid reader (in fact, I often trade books with Laurie Hanich). One of my favorite books is still The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?

A: With no reservation, my family and friends are my biggest accomplishment. As I mentioned above, Joshua, who now is in first grade, challenges me each day with his inquisitive personality. Emma, my two year old, is so curious and really makes me stop and “look” at the world. My husband, Mike, is an amazing partner and truly dedicated father. I am fortunate to have many great groups of friends from every aspect of my life-the high school gang, the Millersville gang, the University of Delaware gang and the Highcroft neighbors.  Of course, I also take great pride in the work that I do here at Millersville, which can only happen with the great support of family and friends.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to tell us?

A: Being a Millersville University alum and now a Millersville University faculty member, I can say with assurance that Millersville has so much to offer to both students and faculty if you “seize the opportunity.” I felt that I did this as a student by being involved in the University and psychology honors programs. As a faculty member, I am fortunate to exist in a community where I am able to share my knowledge and passion related to teaching and learning with engaged students and colleagues every day.

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