Psychologist has passion for teaching

IUS Horizon

Robin K. Morgan
Robin K. Morgan

Robin K. Morgan, professor of psychology, has worked at IU Southeast for 20 years, and never thought teaching would be what she is doing today 20 years ago.

“When I was starting my graduate [career] I was not interest in academia at all,” Morgan said.

Before Morgan came to IU Southeast she was working in clinical psychology, and dealt with some patients with multiple personality disorders and AIDS.

When she had interviewed for the teaching position at IU Southeast she had had offers to work at three different hospitals.

“Everyone was nice when I interviewed for the job,” Morgan said. “I talked to some students and they were interested.”

Morgan received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from large colleges.

“I am a product of a large university,” she said.

Morgan said that although the professors from large colleges may love what they do, they have a lot of research responsibilities and huge classes of students to teach. Teaching at a larger university was not something she wanted to do.

“IUS has an emphasis on small classes, quality teaching and that is why I’m here,” Morgan said.

Every semester Morgan has a goal to make sure that she connects with her students.

“I like to find out where my students are and bring them to a deeper understanding,” Morgan said.

Morgan reworks her classes to fit in the changes of the psychology field. Morgan said it comes back to that connection to the students for her and that when you see them learning in their eyes and begin to recognize the disorders, she has reached her goal.

Barbara C. Thompson-Book, program coordinator for undergraduate elementary education, met Morgan about 10 years ago when Morgan began to learn about the teaching discipline.

“It was a little intimidating having her in my classes,” Thompson-Book said. “She had previously won the outstanding teacher award.”

“She has a passion for sharing what she knows with others in a sound way and teaching is probably spiritual with her,” Thompson-Book said. “That’s what keeps her here.”

Cliff Staten, dean of Social Sciences, has also known Morgan for sometime said she is one of the finest teachers on campus.

“She genuinely cares for students and she wants them to be as successful as possible,” Staten said.

When Staten started working at IU Southeast his office was across the hall from Morgan.

“A student was always there in her office,” Staten said. “She is a wonderful instructor and students respond to her.”

Morgan also said she feels being a clinical psychologist and a professor goes well together.

“Being a clinical psychologist is like being a detective and as a professor you are also gathering clues,” she said.

As a child, Morgan said she was always curious. After reading a book about the human brain in 6th grade,  she began to wonder why people did what they did with paranoid delusions or hallucinations.

Morgan said she wanted to be a brain surgeon because they deal with the brain. “I realized [brain surgeons] didn’t deal with that stuff, and then I thought psychology,” Morgan said.

She even wrote a letter, when she was younger, to the American Psychological Association and asked them how she could become a psychologist.

“They sent me a letter and a book back about how to become a clinical psychologist.” Morgan said. “I thought that was really nice of them to do.”

Staff Writer