Senior Lecturer John Pfister receives 2018 Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award

Senior Lecturer John Pfister, longtime instructor in Psychological and Brain Sciences, has received the Dartmouth 2018 Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award.

From the Dartmouth News article by Hannah Silverstein:

Each year, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences recognizes exemplary members of the faculty for their contributions as scholars, teachers, and mentors. In 2018, 12 professors from across the arts and sciences disciplines received these awards. 

“The scholar-teachers honored this year represent the ideal of the liberal arts,” says Dean of the Faculty Elizabeth Smith. “Their dedication to their students and to their academic fields models Dartmouth’s highest values. I’m proud to call them my colleagues.”

John Pfister spoke with Dartmouth News about his work:

Over a 30-year career teaching in psychological and brain sciences, I have been the appreciative recipient of a tremendous amount of advice from colleagues and students regarding teaching, instruction, and the learning process. I am humbled by the generosity and patience of those who offered insight and encouragement. This award is as much a testament to those who took the time to help me learn the craft of teaching as it is to any innate ability to communicate on my part. I believe good teachers are good storytellers, and I would like that to be said of me. Whether it be a seminar discussion about how people could believe in ESP, ghosts, or alien abduction or a statistics class in which a particular analysis was elegant and exciting, there is always a story to be told. Yet good storytellers should, ironically, be good at listening, and I would like that to be said of me as well. I have stayed at Dartmouth all of these years because of the lovely stories told to me by colleagues and students. Even now, as I research weird and unusual ideas to bring to my class or help the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research decipher survey results, I try to ask, “Why do they believe this?” and “How can asking another question help me better understand what is being said?” If I’m lucky, I will have another story to tell a future class.