Jr. Faculty Focus: Jeffrey Holmes

Jeffrey Holmes has been teaching psychology at Ithaca College since 2003, when he received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Akron.

Why did you choose to work at Ithaca College?
I did my undergraduate work at Berea College in Ohio, a liberal arts institution much like Ithaca College, and my graduate work at a large state institution in Ohio. Having experienced both environments, I prefer the liberal arts environment, where excellent teaching is highly emphasized, and I’m able to have an open-door policy with my students.

What do you enjoy most about Ithaca College students?
Many Ithaca students seem willing to take responsibility for their academic performance, both when they are doing well and when they are struggling. This is especially important for academic success because externalizing responsibility means that one also externalizes the power to improve. By taking responsibility for one’s performance, one’s motivation and capacity for success is generally enhanced.

How do you approach teaching psychology to undergraduates?
One particular goal I have for my teaching is to foster an appreciation for education as a process rather than simply a means to an end. In the classroom I encourage students to question their assumptions about human behavior and to ultimately recognize that commonsense answers about what people do and why they do it often are incorrect. Hopefully this spirit of raising questions as well as answering them encourages students to continue learning and to think critically about their assumptions.