Jamie Hughes: New Faculty Member at Daemen College

By Bonnie Striegel

With scheduling just around the corner for fall 2010, you may come across an unfamiliar professor’s name under the psychology department course listings.  You may ask, “Who is Hughes?”

Jamie Hughes, a newly hired psychology professor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, will be starting this fall at Daemen College.      

Hughes received a B.S. degree in psychology from Michigan State University in 2002 and a M.S. degree in quantitative and social psychology from Illinois State University in 2006.  She is currently attending New Mexico State University where she will graduate this May with a Ph.D in social psychology.         

“I was attracted to Daemen for a number of reasons,” said Hughes.  “Most importantly I wanted to work at Daemen because of its small size.”  Hughes pointed out that she wants to actually know the names of her students.  She also is looking forward to teaching a variety of interesting courses.        

Her main research interests are in the area of moral judgment.  “I am interested in how people make judgments about other’s moral character,” said Hughes.  “For example, I have examined which factors are most important when people assign blame and punishment.”      

After receiving her B.S. degree, Hughes worked as a case worker through Michigan Works, an association that provides leadership and services, and promotes quality and excellence for the advancement of Michigan’s Workforce Development System and its customers and professionals.  She helped individuals receiving welfare assistance or those who were receiving unemployment benefits develop job related skills and job training.        

Hughes also taught an introductory statistics course at Illinois State University.  At New Mexico State University, she taught Introduction to Psychology and Psychology of Women.  She will be teaching Introduction to Psychology and Social Psychology at Daemen this fall, according to Dr. Banks, chair of the psychology department.        

Hughes had to go through an in-depth hiring process.  When there is a need for a new professor, that department search committee, made up of faculty and students, reads through applications and invites two top candidates for interviews, noted Dr. Banks.  Each candidate must teach a sample class based on the topic provided to them.  Students are on the department search committee because Daemen wants to include them in the decision making process and hear their feedback.        

“I often use non-traditional teaching methods such as collaborative learning techniques, interactive lectures, or problem based learning techniques,” said Hughes.  “I think that lecture, can at times be boring and I believe that students learn more when they are actively engaged with the material-solving problems, discussing issues, or using material to achieve some goal.”        

The best thing Hughes likes about teaching is being part of the learning process.  “I often feel teaching and learning are one and the same and I try to challenge students to see the world differently, while students challenge and change my views too.”        

The thing Hughes dislikes about teaching is grades.  “In an ideal world, I would promise to provide challenging course activities and interesting content and students would promise to learn.”        

Hughes can think of nothing else she would rather do than research and teach psychology.  Several teachers have inspired her.  In her first psychology course, Dr. Hendersen challenged Hughes to question her assumptions, not only about psychology, but about the world as well.  “He helped me realize that psychology is very interesting and a worthwhile area of study,” said Hughes.        

Some more interesting fun facts about Hughes:

    • She enjoys writing and reading and would perhaps write nonfiction in a different life.
    • Her favorite travel experience is when she ate crepes in France as part of a study abroad participant.
    • She has an English Mastiff named Kendra, an Old English Sheep dog named Eccola, and a Chihuahua named Penny, who thinks she is a cat.
    • She enjoys cooking, hiking, and doing yoga.  

“We are looking forward to having her,” said Dr. Banks.  “Hughes is a capable and enthusiastic teacher that has participated in interesting research students can get involved in.” 

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In Daemen, I took ESL classes to improve my English. I worked at Canavan Desk and made a lot of friends over there. I participated in a Business dinner with my professors. I was invited to join a family party by my professors. During the weekends, I often take the school shuttle to the shopping mall. These experiences helped me to ease into the American-style of study, life, and business.