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Jennifer Corpus Named Oregon Professor of the Year

Jennifer Henderlong Corpus has been selected as the 2014 Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), which administers the program, selected the Reed College psychology professor from nearly 400 top professors in the United States.  The announcement was made at an awards luncheon on November 20 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

“This honor underscores how lucky I feel to be at Reed, surrounded by outstanding educators and truly inspiring students,” Corpus says of her selection. “I am grateful for the opportunity to know and learn from them on a daily basis.”

The fundamental goal of her teaching, says Corpus, is to support students’ motivation to derive pleasure from the process of discovery and fulfillment in the hard-won mastery of concepts.

Corpus’ research focuses on factors that underlie the motivation to learn. A key insight of her work is that praise can function as a reward with both positive and negative consequences.

One of Corpus’ former students, Kyla Haimovitz '10, is currently a graduate student in the psychology department at Stanford University. Having also worked with Corpus as a research assistant, publishing multiple papers with her, Haimovitz singles Corpus out for her ability to engage students in meaningful learning.

“Her thoughtful planning and engaging classroom leadership conveys an interest in each student’s life,” Haimovitz says. “She sets high achievement standards, and gives unyielding assurance that we can meet those standards.”

Another former student, Stephanie Wormington '10, is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at Michigan State University. She worked with Corpus as a research assistant and post-baccalaureate scholar.

“At Reed, I had the privilege to learn from some of the most enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and caring scholars of my academic career,” says Wormington, who wrote her thesis under Corpus’ direction. “Jennifer stands out from the rest. Not only was the research fascinating; her enthusiasm for education research was contagious. She has an uncanny ability to strike the perfect balance between supporting autonomy and providing sufficient support.”

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center that supports transformations in American education through tighter connections between teaching practice, evidence of student learning, the communication and use of this evidence, and structured opportunities to build knowledge.

CASE is a professional association serving educational institutions.

Corpus earned her PhD in development psychology from Stanford University and came to Reed in 2001. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles.