Centre College recently announced Jennifer Goetz, associate professor of psychology, and Dan Manheim, H.W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of English, as the 2019-20 faculty fellows.
Goetz will serve as the Diversity and Inclusion Faculty Fellow and will work with faculty to help the College reduce the impact of unconscious and unacknowledged racial bias in day-to-day interactions with others on campus.
“Psychology research has made a useful distinction between explicit and implicit racial attitudes,” Goetz explained. “Prejudice is traditionally seen as explicit and consciously held beliefs, but implicit attitudes are automatic associations that individuals hold with specific groups. These unconscious associations are learned from the images and messages we are exposed to in media, the stereotypes that repeatedly come up in our society, as well as our day-to-day interactions with others. An individual doesn’t have to agree with a stereotype in order to be influenced by it.
“My goal is to work with faculty to identify how they can reduce the influence these biases may have,” she continued. “To achieve this, I will work individually with faculty and hold workshops to identify both personal and structural changes that can be made to reduce the impact of implicit bias in and out of the classroom.”
Goetz joined the Centre faculty in 2011 and was awarded a Stodghill Research Professorship in 2014. Prior to joining the faculty, she taught at Middlebury College.
Goetz is a social and cultural psychologist who specializes in emotional experience and expression, cultural values and Chinese culture. Her research on compassion, expression of positive emotions, and the influence of social class and power on emotional experience have appeared in Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. She has published chapters on cultural influences on mixed emotions and self-conscious emotions and wrote the introductory chapter of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook on Compassion Science. In her previous research, Goetz studied human-robot interaction to examine how humans anthropomorphize robots.
She received a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.S. in information and decision systems from Carnegie Mellon University. She also spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, West Africa.
As the Creative Thinking Faculty Fellow, Manheim will undertake a project designed to understand how students convert their critical reading into creative insight.
“What is creative reading?,” Manheim asked. “Generally at Centre, we teach critical reading well. We teach students to pay close attention, to analyze and to interpret. I am less sure that we have figured out how to inspire students to convert their critical reading into creative insight—that is, into something they make themselves. What kinds of reading assignment are most likely to lead to creative engagement? What do we want to happen to students when they read? I hope to use the opportunity of this fellowship to generate conversations about how to turn the hard working receptiveness that comes with critical thinking into the transformative experience of creative understanding.”
Manheim has taught at Centre since 1991 and has held the Stodghill Professorship for English since 2007. Prior to joining the Centre faculty, he was a visiting professor at Bard College and an instructor at Columbia University and Barnard College.
He has a scholarly background in American literature, and he has taught Centre courses on major American writers, environmental literature, American autobiography and the modern short story. He has pursued research on American historian and philosopher Henry Adams and poet Emily Dickinson, among others, and his articles have appeared in such publications as The New England Quarterly, ESQ and Literary Imagination. Manheim serves on the board of directors of The Emily Dickinson International Society, and he edits the EDIS Bulletin.
Manheim received his B.A. from Amherst College and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia.
by Kerry Steinhofer
March 8, 2019