Grad Talk: Class of 2015

By Katie Coopersmith

This May, 10,700 graduates join UBC’s 300,000 alumni. Of those 10,700, 474 are wrapping up undergraduate careers spent studying things like cognitive dissonance, neurotransmitters, and the Big 5 personality traits. They are the Psychology majors.

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A sunny day for grad

Due to the large size of their group, Psychology grads were slotted into several different graduation ceremonies held at the Chan Centre between May 22nd and May 25th. The audience was packed with family and friends, all of whom were ready to make sure their graduate got the loudest round of applause.

At one such ceremony on Friday, May 22nd, Chancellor Lindsay Gordon was the first to address the Chan crowd. He began by commending the graduates and their families for choosing a university education in the first place.

“For a parent,” he declared, “there really is no greater investment in life than investing in your child’s education.”

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Psychology grads file into the Chan

Following Gordon’s remarks and a thoughtful speech by university President Arvind Gupta, graduating student Maria Villar took the stage and entreated her peers to “get up, get uncomfortable, and do something about it.” She urged them not to think of changing the world as a dream or as a long-term end goal, but as an “everyday responsibility”.

Psychology professor Dr. Catherine Rawn crossed the stage that day along with the graduates in order to accept her Killam Teaching Prize, which recognizes “distinguished teaching at all levels of instruction”. Judging by the raucous applause that she received, all were in agreement that the prize was well-deserved.

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Dr. Catherine Rawn receives the Killam Teaching Prize

 

It’s fairly well-known that Psychology is the most popular undergraduate major at UBC, but it’s not until you amass thousands of its students, clad in identical black robes, into one place that the sheer enormity of the department actually hits home. There are a lot of Psych majors – 439 new Bachelors of Arts and 35 new Bachelors of Science, to be exact. As they made their way one after another across the stage (many of them teetering on sky-high sparkly shoes) to accept their diplomas and shake Dean Gage Averill’s hand, it was almost impossible not to wonder how each one of these bright, talented individuals will find their place in the ‘real’ world. Certainly, some of them were heavily involved in the Psychology department as undergraduates and may go on to pursue graduate school, but many, many more will not. In a department so massive and in a ceremony so packed with brand-new but identical degrees, it’s easy to feel a bit lost in the shuffle.

So what should a newly-minted Psychology graduate’s next goals be? Chancellor Gordon had some big-picture words of wisdom on the subject.

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Class of 2015

“Success isn’t how much money you earn. That’s nice, but true success is happiness and believing that you’re making a contribution to society. Your education truly is a gift – use it wisely.”

Gordon’s words likely hit home in a big way for many of those who crossed the stage this May. Although it may sometimes feel overwhelming to be part of such an enormous group of graduates entering the workforce at the same time, the fact that UBC just gave out 10,700 such gifts is truly remarkable. Education is indeed a gift that millions of people dream will one day be given to them, and it could be argued that it is our most important job as students and alumni to help pass it on to as many people as possible.

Using Social Media to Build a Class on Social Media

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By Catherine Rawn

Over the next year I’ll be developing a course called the Psychology of Social Media, which I will teach as Psyc 325 in January 2016 at UBC. This course is currently listed as a developmental course, but we will emphasize themes of social and personality psychology (which relate to identity and personality development). I’m excited to be developing this new, rich course, and have already begun brainstorming. Continue reading

Participate in a Peer Learning & Peer Assessment study

PeerassesswbGreat news! Professors Peter Graf and Catherine Rawn have received UBC funding towards their project ‘Fostering Peer Learning & Assessment Skill’. This project will create and evaluate the tools and support materials needed for including a pedagogically valid and reliable peer assessment component in the Psych 101 & 102 classes. Continue reading

Simple strategies to feel happy

Smiley Button As Symbol For Cheer Or HappinessBy Ashley Whillans

Happiness means something different to everyone, but what we all have in common is the need to make it a priority. Not only does happiness feel good in the moment, but a lot of scientific research suggests that happier people live longer and healthier lives. And if you’re a student, feeling happy has the additional benefit of reducing stress and improving academic performance. Continue reading

The Latin word colloquium means conversation

colloquiumlargeA series of intriguing talks and scientific inspiration.
Annually the Department of Psychology hosts a Colloquium Series throughout the academic year. This exciting program brings us together outside of the classroom to have conversations with our faculty and students and the speakers we’ve invited to our campus to share their ideas. Continue reading

UBC Psych prof Kiley Hamlin shares research on early moral cognition with the Dalai Lama

KHDLcropped-1024x410On October 22, 2014 Prof. Kiley Hamlin took part in the sold-out event Educating the Heart in the Early Years: A Dialogue with the Dalai Lama at UBC’s Chan Centre for Performing Arts.

This unique dialogue featured a keynote address by the Dalai Lama and a panel of leading researchers from UBC who discussed the science behind the Dalai Lama’s belief that consciously teaching children to be compassionate and altruistic in their earliest years has a profoundly positive effect on their social, emotional and spiritual well-being throughout life. Continue reading

New series explores the psychology of gambling in film

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The Centre for Gambling Research at UBC is revisiting some classic gambling films in a new blog series “Gambling in the Movies”. They’ll be reviewing the media’s portrayal of gambling, the relationship between gambling and addiction, and the extent to which these films provide any true insights into the psychology of the gambler. Continue reading

UBC Psychology’s Sunaina Assanand’s five dos & don’ts for students

sunainablogpostAs a senior instructor in UBC’s Dept. of Psychology, Sunaina Assanand has logged countless hours in classrooms. Lecturing to an average class size of 200 to 250 students, she’s also seen her fair share of classroom antics. To better help first-year university students achieve success, Assanand, now an associate dean in the Faculty of Arts, shares her top five dos and don’ts for inside the lecture hall. Continue reading

Go Global: Studying Psychology Abroad

By Riana Ang-Canning

One of the reasons I love studying psychology is because I find it incredibly applicable to daily life. Things I learn in the classroom pop up on TV, in non-psychology courses and in everyday discussions with friends. I guess when you study the behaviour of people, it’s no surprise that the material finds its way out of the classroom. Continue reading