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Students describe Lander's Distinguished Professor Dr. Jonathan Bassett as an educator and motivator

December 09, 2011

Jonathan BassettDr. Jonathan Bassett brings statewide and national recognition to Lander University through his research, publications and honors. Earlier this year, Lander recognized Bassett's outstanding efforts by naming him the university's 2011 Distinguished Professor, the award given for exemplary performance as a classroom teacher and scholar, and for services to Lander and beyond.

Bassett, an associate professor of psychology at Lander, recently received the 2011 Outstanding Teacher of Psychology Award from the South Carolina Psychological Association. He joined the Lander faculty in 2005, and the following year he received Lander's Young Faculty Scholar Award.

A native of Gaffney, Bassett earned his undergraduate degree from Furman University and his master's and doctoral degrees in social psychology from Georgia State University. He has other teaching experience as a visiting professor at Georgia State and an assistant professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. His main scholarly pursuits have been focused on research examining attitudes about death and dying, and testing hypotheses derived from terror management theory. He is also collaborating with fellow Lander faculty on research relating to students and teaching styles.

Bassett said many positive mentors have helped shape his life and his opinions about psychology, but he credits his father with being his first - and best - teacher. His own teaching philosophy is focused on lifelong learning, and he strives to engage students in experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom that get them involved in research. "My goals as a teacher are to convey my enthusiasm about the discipline of psychology and to aid students in the development of critical-thinking and research skills, which will benefit them in their academic and professional lives," he said.

Bassett is president-elect of the South Carolina Psychological Association and is a member of several professional organizations, including the Association for Psychological Science and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In addition, the roles of husband and father keep him active at home. He and wife Lori have two children, Lucas and Ella.

At Lander, Bassett said he enjoys the sense of camaraderie among colleagues in the Psychology Department. "I consider myself lucky to come to work every day with people I genuinely like and respect."

Ultimately, Bassett said he hopes to have the same positive impact on his students that his mentors had on him.

"I hope that my love of learning new things will be infectious to students, and that they will develop a genuine curiosity about the world around them that will motivate them to keep seeking out new knowledge and keep revising their own personal beliefs."