Ben­jamin Winegard is one of 11 new faculty members at Hillsdale College this semester. Crystal Schupbach | Col­legian

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.