Dorothy R. Charbonnier, PhD, is an associate teaching professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Drexel University. After completing her doctoral degree in 1995, she was appointed visiting lecturer/researcher at the Universität of Konstanz in Germany. Upon returning to the United States, Charbonnier was awarded a NIH postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry, Neuropsychiatry Division University of Pennsylvania Health System (1997-2000). She has most recently lectured at UArts 2005-2012 and UPenn 2007-2012. She also served on the faculty editorial board of 3808, a journal of critical writing, volumes 6 & 7 (UPenn).
Charbonnier’s earlier research focus included recovery of function after brain injury (Clark University), assessing risk of Alzheimer’s disease in first degree relatives using electrophysiological and neuropsychological measures (SUNY Stony Brook), cortical reorganization in arm amputees (Konstanz, Germany) and early sensory processing deficits in schizophrenia, in particular visual processing and the idea of sensory gaiting (University of Pennsylvania).
She has taught throughout her career. These experiences have given her a better understanding of diverse student populations and their needs as individual learners. Her familiarity with top level research allows her to contextualize these ideas for her students making them more accessible in the classroom.
At present, her interests center on the nature of the creative process, writing, curriculum development, and increasing student engagement, career and Co-op opportunities.
How I Make a Difference in Teaching and Service:
Psychology impacts all aspects of human interaction. This is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying for students. With psychology there is endless choice. The key is to build a support structure which provides students a space for interaction. This space could be a classroom, student club or organization, volunteer or work experience, or a Co-op opportunity. In each of these settings, students can cultivate their particular passion for psychology. Students can also hone their analytic (problem-solving, divergent thinking), communication (oral, written), and intrapersonal skills (empathy, leadership). Competence in these abilities is desired by employers and the professional psychology organizations.
Within her courses, Charbonnier encourages her students to think critically, engage in active discussion, practice communication skills, and refine their ability to provide well developed written reasons and evidence for their ideas.
Within the department, Charbonnier contributes to the curriculum not only by teaching core courses but also by creating and maintaining courses such as careers in psychology and writing in psychology. She is active in the student life-cycle management committee which focuses on student retention and engagement.
Across the university, Dorothy Charbonnier, PhD, and her team of faculty, staff and students coordinate the implementation of the American Psychological Association Women’s Program exhibit ‘I Am Psyched!’ at Drexel. This interactive exhibit provides viewers with a brief history of the role women of color have had in the shaping of our discipline. Students take leadership responsibilities on many activities related to the exhibit.