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  • Kim Paul

Kimberly Paul

  • Program: Academic Transfer (Social Science instructor)

    Education/Industry Certifications: Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; M.Ed., University of Nebraska-Lincoln; B.A., University of Nebraska-Lincoln

    Has Taught at SCC Since: 2011-2016 full-time, 2006-2011 adjunct.

    Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 15 in Lincoln Public Schools

    Describe your teaching philosophy.

    The central focus of my teaching is my students. I want all of my students to feel like they can succeed in my class. In order for that success to happen, it is my responsibility to create engaging activities, promote achievement and provide a comfortable and safe learning environment. My reward is to enjoy their experience of learning the course content. My courses are mainly in psychology, which all directly relate to our daily lives. Because of that, I want my students to finish class feeling competent in ways that will help even outside of a classroom. They should have good skills in critical thinking, problem solving, researching, and interpersonal relations. I also want them to know how to apply principles to promote their own wellness and that of others. After two decades of teaching, I have learned that the best teachers are open and willing to learn from their student’s feedback. So I listen to my students’ needs in class and on the class evaluations. The next quarter, I use their advice to try and keep improving all aspects of the classes I teach.

    Why did you decide to teach at a community college?

    I started teaching in Lincoln Public Schools for 15 years. After completing my doctorate degree in 2005, Southeast Community College hired me in an adjunct teaching position. Through my experience teaching at SCC, I realized that higher education was a better fit for me. Teaching is my passion, and SCC puts the emphasis on good teaching. After four years of part-time teaching, a full-time psychology position opened, so the opportunity presented itself for me to apply for it. It has been the best experience of my career so far.

    What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?

    Students who take my courses can expect to learn from hands-on activities; small-group discussions; engaged learning activities such as flipping the classroom, where the students become teachers to their peers; and exploring notable case studies. Using a variety of learning techniques, my goal is to touch on everyone’s preferred learning style.

    What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?

    In the past, I have spent many years in the community as a volunteer in Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and vacation Bible schools. I’m also involved in leading professional and student workshops on various psychology topics. Those experiences have helped enormously with learning about group dynamics, learning styles, communication, and interpersonal relations above and beyond my educational background. More recently, I have created engaged learning activities for our introductory psychology courses in a custom textbook we use at SCC. I am currently doing the same for our Interpersonal Relations course. After two ongoing years of training in engaged learning techniques and implementing them, I have seen vast improvements in my students’ learning, attendance and grades.

    What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program? 

    A bachelor’s degree is required if a student wants a degree in Psychology. There are a limited amount of entry-level positions in the workforce available for only a bachelor’s degree.  Because of the vocational limitations of attaining only a bachelor’s degree, it would be important to know going into this field that a post-graduate degree would be ideal for pursuing a psychological career. In order to work with people, the student would need to decide what they wanted to specialize in for a master’s degree in Psychology. For example, a licensed clinical social worker, or other professional counselor, both need to have a minimum of a master’s degree. There are many human service areas available in which the student could work with to earn a master’s degree (or higher) in Psychology, including case management, mental health services, physician health and wellness, crisis work, art therapy, music therapy, advocacy, community relations, management, development/fund raising, and grant writing.

    What do you enjoy most about working with students?

    I enjoy the discussions we have in class. I also marvel at the creativity students have with our engaged learning activities. They never cease to surprise me. I am consistently impressed with their interest, dedication and hard work.

    What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?

    I have the best job I could ever wish for. I teach courses I truly enjoy and look forward to. I also have the honor and privilege of working for the most supportive team of people: Dr. Rose Suggett, Dr. Carolee Ritter and Dr. Dennis Headrick. They work hard to support our Arts and Sciences Division. They provide new opportunities to those of us who want them. It also is rewarding how they encourage and celebrate our contributions. Having supportive team members like them make it a pleasure to work at SCC.

    What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?

    I have several proud moments as an instructor. When I receive emails or notes from students telling me what a great experience they had in class, or that my words of encouragement helped them through a bad time, those are truly some special moments that I will always cherish.

    What do you like to do when you're not teaching?

    When I’m not teaching in the classroom, I’m usually involved in a writing project related to student learning or researching how to design more engaged learning activities. Outside of that, I have traveled all over the world and enjoy learning about other cultures. I also enjoy cooking for my family and spending time with them.

    What would students be surprised to know about you?

    I’m a very outgoing person at work, but they would probably be surprised knowing that I enjoy being introverted and spending quiet time alone when I’m at home. Also, my daughter has gotten me into playing a game called Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. She has always loved playing video games, but I had never seen the appeal in them until I was genuinely curious about her descriptions of this particular game. So one night she eagerly allowed me to try it out, and now it is my new guilty pleasure. Surprisingly, it is a very relaxing game and a huge stress reliever. I have also noticed that my dexterity, attention to detail and memory retention have gotten better over continuous playtime. Both of us have enjoyed it so much that we have also convinced my mother to play with us, and she hasn’t missed a day in playing yet! It is amazing to me that three generations can all bond over something that before we never thought could be possible.