Mueller and VanHorn receive award from prestigious teaching institute

Jan 14, 2013

North Central College’s Jonathan Mueller, professor of psychology, and Daniel VanHorn, assistant professor of psychology, are recipients of the 2013 Doug Bernstein Award from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP) for their poster presentation titled “Fantasy Researcher League: Engaging Students in Psychological Research.”  

This award recognizes the most humorous, creative or original poster presented at the 35th annual conference of the NITOP, held Jan. 3–6 in St. Pete Beach, Fla. A nonprofit educational association, the NITOP convenes to offer psychology faculty, from secondary through graduate school, an opportunity to get together to hear stimulating talks and exchange ideas about the challenges, problems and pleasures of teaching. VanHorn and Mueller were presented the award at the closing session of the conference.

Their poster described a course they developed to engage and excite students about finding, reading and discussing current research in the field of psychology. The one-credit Verandah course, titled Fantasy Researcher League, met four times each term and was inspired by the popularity of fantasy sports. Each student drafted a team of five active psychology researchers and followed their scholarly activities and accomplishments (e.g., books, articles, presentations and number of times cited) during the academic year. Students documented their researchers’ activities by designing and maintaining a team webpage. These teams made up the Fantasy Researcher League, and students earned points for their team by correctly documenting their team’s scholarly activities. During class meetings students discussed the current and past research activity of their teams.

Mueller has been a member of the faculty since 1983. He received his B.A. and M.A.T. from Beloit College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University.

VanHorn joined North Central’s faculty in 2009. He earned his B.S. from Wittenberg University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.