Plous Named Connecticut Professor of the Year
Plous, professor of psychology, was named the Connecticut Professor of the Year
by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council
for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).
This designation means he is among only 43 professors working in the United
States, the District of Columbia and Guam to be considered a 2006 U.S.
Professor of the Year.
“It was quite a surprise, as you can imagine," Plous says, modestly.
The goal of the U.S. Professors of the Year Program is to increase awareness
of the importance of undergraduate instruction. In recognizing faculty
members for their achievements as teachers, the award gives institutions an
opportunity to celebrate excellence and provide models for faculty and
Plous, who joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1990, is an expert on psychology
of prejudice and discrimination, decision making, and the human use of
animals and the environment.
The CASE-Carnegie award is Plous’s second major teaching award. In 1998, he
received Wesleyan’s Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching.
Plous credits Ruth Striegel-Moore, the Walter A. Crowell University
Professor of the Social Sciences and professor of psychology, for nominating
him while she was chair of the Psychology Department.
“I’m deeply grateful to Ruth for her support of my teaching, and I also owe
a huge debt to the wonderful teaching apprentices and course assistants I
work with,” he says.
Plous is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and the
American Psychological Association, and has been the recipient of several
APA division awards, including the William James Book Award, for his book
The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making, the Gordon Allport
Intergroup Relations Prize, the Otto Klineberg Intercultural and
International Relations Award, and the Society for Personality and Social
Psychology Award for Distinguished Service to the Society. In addition, he
is a faculty associate of the Tufts University Center for Animals and Public
Policy and is on the editorial board of Analyses of Social Issues and Public
The Professor of the Year program is the only national initiative
specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and
"One of the things that pleases me about the award is that Wesleyan held its
own when compared with large research universities,” Plous says. “This
reflects well on Wesleyan's Instructional Media Services, library and
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education began the program in
1981, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching became a
partner and major sponsor the following year.
Winners of the award must meet the program’s demanding criteria. The primary
characteristic the judges consider is an extraordinary dedication to
undergraduate teaching demonstrated by the impact on and involvement with
undergraduate students; scholarly approach to teaching and learning;
contributions to undergraduate education in the institution, community and
profession; and support from colleagues and current and former undergraduate
For this achievement, Plous was invited to a congressional reception in
Washington, DC, and given a framed certificate of recognition.
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection