You Found Me! (Your Weird Professor)

Each year I try to write something on my blog right before school starts up again. This past week has been pretty crazy as I juggle multiple roles while making sure everything is set for Monday when I step back into the classroom for the first time since the end of April. And tomorrow I get to take on a fun new role – the guy helping to drive the Peoplemover during Move-in Day. It’s been busy, but I still found some time to put together this post. This year I’ve decided to write it to the students who will eventually find it over the next few weeks – those intrepid individuals who think “Wonder what’s on my professor’s blog” or find a link to this on social media. So allow me to introduce myself, using photos!

This is me, in my official Delta State faculty photo. It was taken in August 2014, and since then I haven't lost any more hair. So I'd say that's a success.
This is me, in my official Delta State faculty photo. It was taken in August 2014, and since then I haven’t lost any more hair. So I’d say that’s a success.
This was the first college classroom I ever taught in, Schrank Hall North 452. I was hired in Fall 2001 to teach A+ Certification, an entry level computer technician course at The University of Akron, and in February 2002, I taught my first solo class in this room.
This was the first college classroom I ever taught in, Schrank Hall North 452. I was hired in Fall 2001 to teach A+ Certification, an entry level computer technician course at The University of Akron, and in February 2002, I taught my first solo class in this room.
I've always been a bit of a computer geek. This is a picture of the last 'regular' cell phone I owned in 2002. Been on a smartphone ever since (Yes, smartphones existed before the iPhone!)
I’ve always been a bit of a computer geek. This is a picture of the last ‘regular’ cell phone I owned in 2002. Been on a smartphone ever since (Yes, smartphones existed before the iPhone!)
I finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2004, my masters degree in 2007, and (pictured here) my doctorate in 2009. Here I am with my dad (on the left), and my mom on the right. The guy in the middle with me was my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Jasper. Advisors can become family - I still see mine regularly at conferences, and we catch up every other month or so via email.
I finished my Bachelors degree in Psychology in 2004, my masters degree in 2007, and (pictured here) my doctorate in 2009. Here I am with my dad (on the left), and my mom on the right. The guy in the middle with me was my advisor in graduate school, Dr. Jasper. Advisors can become family – I still see mine regularly at conferences, and we catch up every other month or so via email.
As I said earlier, I've been at Delta State since 2014, and have gotten to do some really fun things in that time. Last spring we took a group of Psychology students down to New Orleans for the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting (SEPA). Pictured here are the students, along with a few other DSU faculty (Drs Zengaro, Beals, and Zengaro).
As I said earlier, I’ve been at Delta State since 2014, and have gotten to do some really fun things in that time. Last spring we took a group of Psychology students down to New Orleans for the Southeastern Psychological Association meeting (SEPA). Pictured here are the students, along with a few other DSU faculty (Drs Zengaro, Beals, and Zengaro).
I still get some time away from work though - here is a picture of my wife, Karey, and I from our trip this summer to Pensacola Beach (We were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary). If you happen to visit the Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research department, you might meet Karey - she's the senior secretary there!
I still get some time away from work though – here is a picture of my wife, Karey, and I from our trip this summer to Pensacola Beach (We were celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary). If you happen to visit the Teacher Education, Leadership, and Research department, you might meet Karey – she’s the senior secretary there!
This fall is shaping up to be awesome - in addition to being a professor in the psychology department, I'm also the coordinator of the First Year Seminar program and the Okra Scholars program. This means you'll probably find me in many random places around campus, but I'm always happy to answer any question I can regardless of where you physically find me.
This fall is shaping up to be awesome – in addition to being a professor in the psychology department, I’m also the coordinator of the First Year Seminar program and the Okra Scholars program. This means you’ll probably find me in many random places around campus, but I’m always happy to answer any question I can regardless of where you physically find me.

So there is a quick photo summary of your crazy professor. I’ve been teaching for a long time, but I’m still learning every day.  If you happen to read this, come up to me and tell me! Its not weird to “stalk” your professor (here or on social media) – we’re all human and we like to learn about other humans. That’s why I went into teaching and psychology in the first place! Have an awesome school year everyone!

Living and Blogging in 3/4 Time

It’s been awhile since my last post, and I have some very good reasons for that – and despite what one of my favorite artists would sing, Summerzcool is not where the courses are easy and there are no rules! Read on for a life update! Continue reading Living and Blogging in 3/4 Time

Spanking is Wrong for These Three Reasons

As a psychologist, I often am asked questions related to children, child rearing, and development (Despite not being a developmental psychologist!). As a generalist in teaching psychology, I do my best to give researched and nuanced answers. One comment I often get from students and parents alike is that they disagree with most experts on spanking. They believe it’s an effective form of punishment and (in some cases) have told me that they will not change their mind. I figured today I’d take some time to explain the reasons why spanking is wrong, giving you a chance to think about them and debate.
Continue reading Spanking is Wrong for These Three Reasons

Seasonality

In August 1986 I started school. I was 2 1/2 years old, and I think my mother figured it was time for me to get out of the house and see the world, or at least the preschool at Thoreau Park Elementary School. In a few short months, that will have been 30 years ago. And while those first 3 years of pre-school (my mother really wanted me out of the house…) may have consisted only of half-days, they did run the entire length of the school year. This means that, as of Spring 2016, I’ve completed 30 school years, as either a student or a teacher.

Continue reading Seasonality

It’s our Friday (Joke) Secret…

So don’t tell anyone that I told you this, but sometimes I have a super special surprise Friday joke. And here’s today’s… A pilot, a know-it-all, a boy, and a minister are on an airplane. The engines fail and the plane begins to go down. There are 3 parachutes. The pilot grabs a parachute and yells “I have a wife and family, and a daughter who is expecting – I need to live to support them!” and jumps out. The know-it-all springs up, grabs a parachute, and proclaims “I’m the smartest man on the earth, I deserve to live”, and jumps out. The minister turns to the boy and says “My son, I’ve lived a long and meaningful life – take the last parachute and live”. The boy hands the minister the parachute as he grabs something from under the seat. “Turns out we both can live”, he says, “The smartest man on the earth just jumped out wearing my backpack!”

How Are You Doing?

Last week I was in New Orleans with students for a conference, as I mentioned in my last post. However I left out one of my encounters from that night – a conversation I had with a man named Koolio, which started over a simple question: “How are you doing?”

Continue reading How Are You Doing?

Defying Classification

I’m writing this post, the first in over a month (my bad!) from a hotel room in New Orleans. I’m down here for the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) conference, having brought with me 5 of my undergraduate students from Delta State. The conference seems to be having the desired effect – students are excited to see the very real possibility of themselves presenting material here in subsequent years. What seemed big, ominous, and unknown, is now something they see within reach. It means a lot more work for myself in terms of advising students, but it’s work I’m happy to do. 

  
The topic of this post isn’t about my academic pursuits, or the symposium that we presented on perspectives on a campus shooting. While the symposium was a success, thanks to the lead author Sally Zengaro, and my collaborators George Beals and Franco Zengaro, there isn’t too much I can say about it that hasn’t already been said. And while the academic nature of the conference has been fulfilling (I’ve seen some interesting talks, and gotten some ideas for my own research as well as my students), it also doesn’t merit my putting electronic pen to paper. My topic tonight is the one part observation of human behavior, and one part my own warped philsophy of the world. And it’s best summed up by the title, Defying Classification.

Psychology conferences are interesting places. Scores of undergraduate students looking to get their feet wet, teams of graduate students trying to be noticed on a larger stage, and professors presenting either to fulfill pre-tenure obligations, out of respect for their science, or out of love for their field (Sometimes all 3!). You tend to notice trends in how they walk, talk, and appear. Undergraduates dress in typical teenage and early 20’s style, with some (who were clued in, like my students) dressing slightly nicer and more professional. Graduate students tend to dress in the most professional attire, with professors taking a more laid back approach. Professor standard attire for men tends to be jeans or slacks, with a button down shirt or polo, and occasionally a sport coat. No suits, few ties. We look, more or less, like grown up versions of our undergraduate students. Other conferences differ slightly – the business school crowd dresses more formally, and I assume other professional schools clean up a bit more than us ratty PhDs. 

Today I was wearing my standard professor uniform: Khaki cargo pants, black shoes, dark blue Carhartt t-shirt covered by a black polo shirt. On my belt I had my camera in a case and my cell phone in a holster. I like to keep my pockets open during conferences to (a) have a place to put my room key without depolarizing it and (b) have a place for business cards and my conference name badge. After the last session tonight, I went out in the same ‘uniform’, adding in a black 2600 hat. I tend to shy away from logos, but I make an exception for brands I like to show support for, and 2600 is a publication I feel is important to the technology community.

Anyway, I proceeded to ‘take myself out on a date’, (because I’m awesome and I’d date me if I were single). I hit a few shops, watched some dueling pianos, caught the sunset over the Mississippi River, and picked up a gift for Karey and a birthday gift for a friend. On the way back to the hotel, I decided to get some food, but didn’t feel like having anything fancy. When you’re alone, sometimes all you want is something simple. Tonight I thought of something I hadn’t had in awhile: Popeyes Chicken. So I wandered over to Popeyes, walked in, placed my order, and walked back out. Holding my drink and Popeyes bag, I noticed a shorter scrawny gentleman come quickly up to me on my left. “Cocaine man, I got good cocaine”. I shrugged him off, and wandered across the street wondering if dealers with subpar products strategically make fewer promises. As I got nearer to the other side of the street, a security guard from one of the hotels spied me and asked “Hey, are they busy in there tonight?”. I replied “No, they’re pretty open” and she thanked me. 

It was then that it hit me: I looked like a security guard or a bouncer. I had things on my belt, I had a black polo on, I had cargo pants, I had a black baseball cap with some strange number on it, and I had just bought food in between two other similarly dressed gentlemen who were off to work at different places according to their polo shirts. The lady who put my food in my bag at Popeyes asked how my day was – I had replied “Busy”. She replied “The more you do the more you make, huh”. I absentmindedly agreed, despite the fact it isn’t too true for me. I am huge, a trait normally found in private security personnel. As I came into the hotel, I realized that absolutely no one on the street would have guessed I was a professor, or a scientist, or a published author, or a computer programmer. I looked like a security guard, and likely New Orleans local. 

And I’m just fine with that. The point of this long rambling post is simply that joy can be found – true, unabashed joy – in simply being yourself. If you defy classification, than so be it. If you are the epitome of who you’re supposed to be – own that too. Be the professor with the tweed jacket and elbow patches (on a side note: I hardly see those anymore). Be comfortable in your own skin, and let others think what they may. Honestly I like blending in – it means people are more likely to treat me as a peer and tell me their story (After all, that’s why I got into psychology in the first place). Others prefer to stand out, signaling to the world that they are individuals. Both mindsets are perfectly fine. And switching day to day is allowed. What you shouldn’t allow is yourself to be consumed by the tyranny of the shoulds, to use a term from Karen Horney. Be all the bouncer professor you can be.

(But stay away from cocaine, good or bad!)

What They Aren’t Telling You: San Bernadino Shooter’s iPhone

USA Today and others made headlines today reporting “Apple ordered to break into San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone”. The topic of government access to encrypted devices has gotten a lot of attention lately, and I’m not writing this post to take a stance on either side. My goal here is to inform some of my less tech-minded friends of a curious thing I noticed…

Fact: This iPhone was owned by San Bernadino county.
Fact: Deploying iPhones to your workers should only be done if they’re properly managed.
Fact: Apple’s management software, Profile Manager, allows you to clear passcodes.

Here’s the proof from my own Profile Manager installation – this is the list of options I get when I bring up my own iPhone from the management console:

In case you’re wondering, it’s also possible to prevent a user from wiping his/her iPhone using Profile Manager:

In case you’re wondering what “supervised only” means, it indicates that the phone has to be setup using the Apple Configurator software, which is free.

Obviously I don’t know what happened in this case, and won’t pretend to, but from an IT guy’s perspective, this problem seems like it would have been avoided if the devices were configured appropriately. In any event, I figured this would be useful information to my non-tech friends who noticed it was a government owned iPhone and wondered why the government couldn’t unlock it.

Researcher, Educator, Author, And More

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