New Assistant Professor of Psychology Benjamin Winegard was in the process of applying to over 100 potential teaching positions last year, unsure of what the future held — that is, until he came across Hillsdale College.
“I read the mission statement and thought, this sounds exactly like where I want to be. I immediately realized this was my first choice,” Winegard said.
But it wasn’t the mission statement alone that struck Winegard; it was the overwhelming sense of dedication to the college’s values that drew him in.
“The staff, the faculty, and all the students are here for the same mission; it’s not just rhetoric,” Winegard said.
Needless to say, he was overjoyed to receive an interview and even more so when he received the position.
Previously an assistant professor of psychology at Carroll College, Winegard holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s and doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Missouri. He is currently teaching two courses at Hillsdale: Intro to Psychology and Cognitive Psychology.
“He has a really great background in experimental design,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Kari McArthur, adding that his focus on lifespan developmental psychology provides further specialization to the psychology department.
Students said they are enjoying their time in Winegard’s classes so far, and to freshman Hope Langworthy, it’s easy to see why. She said his willingness to engage his students is obvious.
“He wants us all to do well. He has a lot of office hours, and he encouraged us to come in often,” Langworthy said.
Sophomore Eliza Miller has also enjoyed her time in Winegard’s class.
“I’ve most enjoyed how the class isn’t just a straight lecture. He always lets us discuss and wants us to voice our opinions. He also doesn’t shy away from mentioning his own opinion without making it seem like what he believes is the only acceptable answer. It makes for a really lively and engaging class,” Miller said.
Winegard might not have been at Hillsdale for very long, but he said his time here has already left him thoroughly impressed with the student body.
“The students here are talented, intelligent, and willing to participate,” Winegard said.
He mentioned one of the most important goals he has as a professor is to promote civil discussion amongst his students.
He said he remembered walking into a classroom on one of his first days of teaching at Hillsdale to find the students engaged passionately in discussion.
“There was disagreement, but no one was making ad hominem attacks,” Winegard said.
Winegard hopes to continue to foster this kind of debate in his classroom in the future.
And to those wondering whether or not to pursue psychology further, Winegard only has one thing to say — “Do it.”
“You would be struck by the practicality of it, and you might be surprised about how much we understand about human nature. Psychology permeates all other disciplines; all other majors are based on or explore human nature,” Winegard said.