Jody Nicholson Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Psychology; Assistant Director, Center for Applied Research for Children and Adolescents (CARCAD)
Jody Nicholson earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The University of Notre Dame, during which time she gained extensive community-based research experience. Looking to connect her class to the community, Dr. Nicholson learned that UNF's Psychology Department was looking for a developmental psychologist whose research was community based and who was interested in integrating CBTL in the classroom.
Dr. Nicholson says the mutually beneficial relationship forged between university resources (knowledge, student power, access to equipment) and community resources (access to community-members, understanding of real problems and context) provides a powerful applied learning experience for students. It puts students directly in the driver seat, instead of passively learning as a "passenger". In the classroom, they can be told important concepts related to theory, empirical findings, and appropriate methodology, but in a community-based research experience, they will directly apply these concepts. Working one-on-one with students, where you can see them making connections to their coursework, is her favorite part of the job. "Because my research is community-based, these 'ah-ha' moments are pretty powerful."
As a Community Scholar, Dr. Nicholson began developing an appropriate CBTL experience for the department's Lifespan Development courses, which account for more than 500 students each semester. She also evaluated the students' experiences with CBTL for a research project. She presented the following poster about her findings: Benefits & Barriers of a Community-Based Transformational Leadership Project.
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