Going above and beyond teaching
Apr 3, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
Christopher Stanzione has been named as the recipient of the 2018 CTL Undergraduate Educator Award. This award recognizes the outstanding contributions of non-tenure-track faculty to the education of Georgia Tech undergraduate students.
Stanzione has been a full-time academic professional instructor in the School of Psychology since fall 2014. He teaches Introductory Psychology, Human Development, and Personality Theory. “From what I understand of the Undergraduate Educator Award, it was made for Dr. Stanzione,” a colleague says.
Stanzione goes above and beyond what he signed up for at Georgia Tech – which is to teach. On his own initiative, Stanzione mentors students, conducts research, and leads outreach efforts for the School of Psychology.
Students and colleagues say Stanzione has an unparalleled passion for teaching, which manifests in instructor effectiveness. Stanzione’s instructor effectiveness ratings for each of his classes are never lower than 4.7 and often reach 5.0.
The ability to connect with students may be one ingredient of Stanzione’s success as a teacher. Multiple students describe meeting with him after class – or for coffee – to discuss career goals or common interests. Stanzione strives to help students, whatever their majors are.
In the classroom, Stanzione’s energy makes him stand out to students and faculty.
Students describe a learning environment of humor, discussion, and true engagement. “He made a huge lecture class seem like a seminar,” one student says.
“Dr. Stanzione is exactly the kind of person we want teaching in the classroom,” a colleague says.
According to colleagues, many students say their interest in majoring in psychology was sparked when they took one of Stanzione’s introductory courses. This ability to inspire students and expand their horizons is well known in the School of Psychology, earning Stanzione the nickname “major magnet”.
Stanzione conducts research in language development in deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Because of his research, he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the 2016 meeting of the Georgia Psychological Society.
Stanzione frequently offers research opportunity to undergraduates. He welcomes all students to join his research. “I hadn’t imagined that as a second-year student, I would be able to work in a lab,” says one non-psychology-major student, “let alone conduct and present my own research to a professional organization.”
Stanzione is a passionate believer in the psychology program at Georgia Tech. For this reason, he often undertakes outreach activities, including giving presentations about the program at events for accepted students, families, and high school students.
“I am proud to work at one of the top public institutions in the country surrounded by phenomenal students,” Stanzione says. “One of my goals is for students to become informed consumers of knowledge. I also teach students to be good people, celebrating those from different backgrounds or who have different views from our own.
“I am also honored to represent the School of Psychology, which is unique in many ways. All of our professors welcome interaction with students, which means no one sits passively in a class or a research lab. Students are engaged in learning and creating.”