Terry Hartig. Photo: David Naylor.2022-09-30
Distinguished Teaching Award winner wants to see Aha! moments
Terry Hartig, Professor of Environmental Psychology at the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Housing and Urban Research (IBF), is one of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Award winners at Uppsala University. Long perspectives on life and a genuine belief in the shared learning process are some of the ingredients in his recipe for success.
Hartig became teary-eyed when he heard the explanation for his award earlier this year. He was very moved that students and colleagues had nominated him and says that he feels very grateful for the award.
“It came as a shock,” he says. “My dear colleagues managed to keep it all under wraps and were amused to see how dumbfounded I was when Deputy Vice-Chancellor Coco Norén appeared with a bouquet of flowers.”
Conveying a belief in the future
The jury’s explanation for the award included Terry Hartig’s listening and respectful approach, as well as his ability to get students to contribute to a common learning process that creates a belief that knowledge and skills can impact the future.
In answer to the question of whether he could give any examples of how this has manifested itself in an actual teaching situation, he talks about the course People and Environment, where students head out to public places and observe people in different situations.
“The students get to decide the situation themselves, based on their own ideas of something important to study, but they cannot ask questions or in any other way disturb people,” he says. “Sometimes they make small changes in the environment, though, to facilitate a certain behaviour, such as at waste sorting centres or bicycle parking spots.”
Perspectives on life
Terry Hartig says that many students through the years have appreciated these methods and sometimes the findings from the students’ observations have even led to lasting changes, for example at Campus Blåsenhus.
“We address a lot of different issues when we discuss their projects,” he says. “For example, how the environment we live in today has been built up by many small changes and refinements over millennia and also how small effects can be important over a long period of time and for lots of people.”
What is it that is so special about Hartig’s teaching that he is receiving this award? He answers rather modestly that environmental psychology is a rewarding subject for a teacher.
“We can have discussions about almost anything when I meet with the students, from the handle on the door to the design of the entire classroom,” he says. “We often miss a lot of everyday things precisely because of their mundaneness. Making these things visible opens up for Aha! moments and discussions.”
Terry Hartig’s best pedagogical advice is that a teacher should care about their students and see them as partners in an ‘ancient process.’
“It is there and then that you together pass knowledge on and promote understanding of our place in the world,” he concludes.
Rationale for awarding Professor Terry Hartig of the Department of Psychology the 2022 Distinguished Teaching Award in the fields of Law and Social Sciences:
In his teaching, Terry Hartig succeeds in creating genuine interest in and desire for deeper development in the subject of environmental psychology. His attitude towards students is attentive and respectful, which leads to creative discussions in which students feel clearly able to contribute to a common learning process. By applying experimental methods to demonstrate what can be achieved in the local environment, students gain insight into how their acquired knowledge and skills can make a difference, both today and in the future.
- Information about the Distinguished Teaching Award in the Staff Portal
- Previous award winners
- Marie Allen works in the real world of CSI (news item 7 October 2022)
- 2022 pedagogy prizewinners nominated (news item 30 May 2022)