Teaching Excellence Award winner making a difference at FinnU
Finlandia University’s psychology department welcomed award-winning professor Kamara Taylor to begin the 2017-18 academic year. Taylor arrived at Finlandia after three years at Illinois Central College, where she earned the Teaching Excellence Award and Faculty Fellowship.
“Coming to Finlandia from a community college has been a natural move, as I wanted to be at a college that was teaching and relationship focused,” Taylor said. “Being in this role we get introduced to students at the beginning, when they have so much growth to do, and you’re with them hand-in-hand as they grow.”
That connection to students is what drives Kamara, who is not only teaching a full course load but also started a new student organization, Like Minds Psychology Club and is midway through the process of introducing a Psi Chi psychology honor society chapter.
“Kamara has been an energizing addition to our faculty,” said Jason Oyadomari, Dean of Suomi College of Arts & Sciences at Finlandia University. “She brings a diverse background of experiences and accomplishments, and inspires our students in and out of the classroom.”
Prior to teaching at ICC, she earned her bachelors and master’s degree in political science from Northeastern Illinois University. She then completed her doctoral studies at Grand Canyon University. In addition to her education, she also served as a military police officer. While she’s proud of all of that, she’s most proud of the role she plays as an educator.
“We’re literally teaching the next generation of leaders,” she said. “It’s on us to change lives, to change the future of the world. That is what is so rewarding about academia. We are key influencers on the next generation, and I take that responsibility seriously.”
Kamara Taylor psychology focus
The focus of Taylor’s studies and work has been in mental health and the way the brain works.
“I want to be part of removing the stigma of mental health. I want to get students and staff to be advocates, to understand and welcome people,” she said of mental health before discussing her interest in cognition. “The brain is also so fascinating. Our behavior is impacted so much by our thoughts, and those thoughts are simply neurons that we can see and study. It’s just this black box that has always been exciting to me.”
Like Minds Psychology Club
This new student group has more than a dozen members already, and Taylor has high hopes in the club’s ability to make a difference moving forward. The group is working on several volunteer projects and is looking to host a mental health symposium locally at some point during the school year.
Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society
The honor society chapter would be Finlandia’s second on campus, and is something Taylor is looking to add to improve student outcomes and increase opportunities for graduates.
“Students come here to learn and graduate with a degree, but programs like Psi Chi can really help them showcase what they’ve done,” she said. “It’s a true badge of honor for people who earn it, and greatly enhances their CVs, especially for recent graduates.”
To contact Kamara Taylor about her new position, Psi Chi psychology honor society or Like Minds Psychology Club, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: Jason Oyadomari, Kamara Taylor, New Hires