August 18, 2022
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator
Meet Dr. Meagan Arrastia-Chisholm, 2022 VSU Presidential Excellence Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Honoree
|Pictured are Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of Valdosta State University, and Dr. Meagan Arrastia-Chisholm, an associate professor of educational psychology in the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services’ Department of Human Services and an associate professional counselor in the campus-based Counseling Center. She is the recipient of the 2022 Presidential Excellence Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.|
VALDOSTA — Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of Valdosta State University, recently honored Dr. Meagan Arrastia-Chisholm with the 2022 Presidential Excellence Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.
The Presidential Excellence Award for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning recognizes a faculty member who produces innovative scholarly work on the science of teaching and learning and regularly contributes new questions and knowledge on the subject.
Arrastia-Chisholm joined the VSU faculty in 2015 and currently serves as an associate professor of educational psychology in the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services’ Department of Human Services. She also serves as an associate professional counselor in the campus-based Counseling Center.
Arrastia-Chisholm enjoys teaching theories of learning and researching how people learn in a variety of settings.
“Currently I am investigating resiliency factors among those college students who were separated from their parents for a variety of reasons, such as deployment, incarceration, divorce, etc.,” she said.
VSU: Why do you believe it is important for teachers to do the work necessary to keep their class content interesting and relevant to new generations of students?
Arrastia-Chisholm: To me it keeps teaching interesting to figure out the best or more effective way to facilitate learning in an area. I have been surprised over the years in what I found. What makes sense to me as a learner does not always make sense for every learner, or even the group on average.
VSU: What strategies / tools / techniques have proven most effective in increasing student learning in your classroom?
Arrastia-Chisholm: Getting students to write about what they think, experience, and know. Soliciting student thinking by allowing them to take the time and space to express themselves is very effective. Even when a student struggles with writing, their reflections bring that to my attention, so that we may start a conversation that is often meaningful in deepening their conceptual knowledge.
VSU: What drives your research / scholarly work in the field of teaching and learning?
Arrastia-Chisholm: My own curiosity and my background in educational psychology. Although my training concentrated on how teachers learn to become teachers, my interest has expanded to helping understand how to better serve college students of all kinds. Now, as a practicing counselor, I am even more fascinated with how college students can learn and retain new skills during such a crucial developmental period and how lived experiences affect that learning.
VSU: What advice do you have for other faculty who wish to identify more effective ways to stimulate engagement and comprehension in their own classroom?
Arrastia-Chisholm: I recommend looking at the data and pinpointing what your students struggle with the most. Just study that lesson or unit. Watch other instructors teach that unit. Experiment across sections or semesters on the best way to teach that unit. Use objective assessments to monitor changes, but also get feedback from colleagues and students. You do not need to revamp a whole course because chances are you are already doing great things, so just study one aspect and make small changes over time.
The Presidential Excellence Award for faculty is an annual tradition at VSU, one that recognizes the diverse talents and contributions of the university’s innovative and active faculty. Awards are given for excellence in teaching, research, service, online teaching, and scholarship of teaching and learning.On the Web:
- Office of Communications Powell Hall West, Suite 1120
1500 N. Patterson St.
Valdosta, GA 31698
- General VSU Information
- Phone: 229.333.5800
- Office of Communications
- Phone: 229.333.2163
- Phone: 229.333.5983