Murphy Award winner: David Rollock

May 3, 2012

David Rollock, associate professor of psychological sciences and 2012 Murphy Award winner. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)

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Six exceptional teachers were honored with 2012 Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Awards in Memory of Charles B. Murphy at the Faculty Awards Convocation on April 26. This week, Purdue Today will feature a profile on each of the recipients. Today, we focus on David Rollock, associate professor of psychological sciences.

The best way for students to learn about the conditions covered in his abnormal psychology class, Rollock believes, is to hear directly from individuals who live with such diseases every day.

Drawing on his extensive background as a licensed clinical psychologist, Rollock often leads in-class interviews with patients suffering from conditions such as eating disorders, autism, bipolar disorders and schizophrenia. Putting a human face on the disorders discussed in class helps students realize the magnitude of abnormal psychology, Rollock says.

"Real examples are particularly important in that they help me highlight the nuances, subtleties and unanswered questions about abnormal behavior -- especially when students raise complex questions or seek reassurance about their own experiences or those of a loved one," Rollock says.

"Many of the interviewees I've brought into the classroom have been the same age as the class members. This drives home the reality of the conditions -- they become more than simple abstractions in a book."

Despite the scope of his subject, Rollock takes time to incorporate topical humor and popular culture examples into his teaching. He also incorporates mini-experiments that involve the whole class in social-immersion exercises.

Through his work in Purdue's Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP), Rollock mentors undergraduate students. He also regularly matches minority undergraduate applicants with faculty mentors in his own department and in others.

Student evaluators say the energy and passion Rollock puts into his teaching makes him an invaluable asset to the University.

"I absolutely love this class," one student writes. "He presented material amazingly, gave great examples, interacted with the class, was very helpful and more. I've really strengthened my love of psychology -- and it's all because of him."