TEACHING AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Featured as the Instructor of the Month for the Faculty of Science
Interdepartmental Science Students' Society Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award
Teaching Honour Roll with Distinction for the Psychology Department at the UofA
Winner of the "Pie-a-Prof" contest for PSYCO 104 in Fall 2013 and PSYCO 302 in Fall 2015.
My class donated the most money of all participating classes in the Psychology department, per capita, to the Edmonton Food Bank in order to receive the honour of watching me be pied in the face by a student on the last day of class.
The following is a list of courses I have taught (semesters I taught the course in parentheses):
Courses at MacEwan University:
PSYC 104 - Introductory Psychology I (Fall 2018, Winter 2019)
PSYC 105 - Introductory Psychology II (Fall 2018, Winter 2019)
PSYC 405 - Special Topics course: The Biology of Stress and Coping (Fall 2018)
PSYC 307 - Health Psychology (Winter 2019)
Courses at the University of Alberta:
PSYCO 104 - Basic Psychological Processes (Fall 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
PSYCO 282 - Behaviour Modification (Spring 2017)
PSYCO 302 - Biology of Stress and Coping (Winter 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; Fall 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; Spring 2015,
- I conceived the idea for this course and designed all the content.
PSYCO 371 - Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (Fall 2015)
PSYCO 372 - Behaviour in Relation to Genetics (Winter 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017; Spring 2015, 2016; Fall 2017)
PSYCO 381 - Principles of Learning (Summer 2012; Fall 2013, 2016; Winter 2017)
A couple of the students I taught recently were so enthusiastic about my teaching that they wrote testimonials specifically for sharing on this website. I am grateful they took the time to share their feedback and experiences. I endeavour to create this same atmosphere in all the classes I teach. It is humbling and inspiring to know a teacher can have this kind of impact on the learning experiences of her students.
I have worked in the same lab as Michele for about five years now, and recently had the privilege of completing her special topics course in the biology of stress and coping. Simply put, it was the best course of my undergraduate education - and I am saying that with about 150 credits' worth of experience guiding my judgment!
Michele has a unique style of teaching: highly interactive, with a great emphasis on group discussion, presentations, and a personal touch I have never seen before. By introducing her students to her own research program, as well as clarifying certain points with personal anecdotes (usually hilarious), she demonstrates not only her knowledge of the course material, but how the material influences her life, and therefore suggests how what students are expected to learn actually matters.
While some professors have an unfortunate tendency to tunnel into research and perceive lecturing as a 'side quest' on the way to slaying their own personal research dragon, Michele makes it clear that teaching is - for her - an end in itself. She took the time to explain some of her research into pedagogy. And her actions spoke as loudly as her words on this, as intelligent use of things like 'iClicker' technology showed how these are more than gimmicks in a strategically-planned class. For example, she might do an iClicker poll (allowing students to submit electronic 'votes' on a presented question, with the results shared but anonymous), talk about the distribution of people's responses, then allow the class to talk among themselves about justifying their selections. Then another vote would come up, and - surprise, surprise! - results would often change, indicating that people really were convinced by their peers' arguments.
Very cool stuff. Another nice thing in the class was consistent feedback. In a lot of classes I have done over the years, professors just give you a letter grade or percentage, perhaps with more obvious errors circled, or a few handwritten notes scrawled at the bottom of an assignment. Michele returns a comprehensive marking guide, with almost a full page of typed commentary, talking about the good, the bad, and the ugly, of your work. What was also nice, was even when I got a really good mark, that didn't mean the comments were just vanilla "this is great" - instead, even your better work would have intelligent critique. After all, just because you did good work (and received appropriate grading), it doesn't mean you don't want to improve!
Overall, I highly recommend Michele as a professor. Judging from this lecture, she offers a unique and interesting manner of teaching. And for those who care about this sort of thing, I believe I ended up with a firmer long-term grasp of the material. By demonstrating the relevance as well as the contents of course material, Michele has designed a course that will stick with you after you leave.
Final comment: bonus marks! That's right, you actually get bonus marks for going 'above and beyond' at certain points.
- Thomas Vaughan-Johnston, 2014
I had the pleasure of meeting Michele through her teaching of PSYCO 302, and I’d like to tell my story of my semester with Michele to convey what kind of teacher, mentor, and most importantly, person Michele is.
Psychology 302 is a special topics Psychology course where we learned about stress and coping. As a university student (and I think I can speak on behalf of the entire population of students across the globe), I was specifically drawn to a Psychology course that was relevant to what we endure on a daily basis, and what we can do as humans/students to cope with it at the biological and behavioral level. So naturally, I enrolled.
Then came the release of the syllabus. Hoping for a course where there were two midterms and a final, where I wouldn’t have to worry about assignments and I could go to class, take good notes, study and do fine, what came up on the syllabus terrified me. Tons of assignments, an iClicker, and what seemed the worst of all at the time: an oral presentation. At about this time, I was seriously considering dropping the course and two others that had oral presentations. The thought of looking foolish in front of my peers was far from appealing and dropping the courses for new ones seemed smart. Luckily, I had read tons of reviews of Michele on “Rate my Prof” which consisted of nothing but extremely positive reviews and decided to go to the first class, still very adamant in dropping, but interested in what Dr. Moscicki was like nonetheless.
In the first class, Michele had impressive lecturing skills, was extremely respectful to students, and made it very clear she was open to any sort of academia-related questions students had regarding Graduate school and was also very clear she was open to mentoring students. I should also include that at this time, I was very naïve to how Graduate school worked and to the process of getting there. This was a special moment for me, for I had never had an instructor willing to discuss my future let alone course material. While I was simultaneously impressed by how well she spoke to forty students she had never met before, I decided this to be a unique moment in which I could kill two birds with one stone by discussing my fear of public speaking and my interest in pursuing Graduate studies. Before dropping the course, I decided I’d go to one of her office hours.
Michele was extremely understanding and patient through all of my questions and to this day still helps with questions regarding academia. In response to my frantic questions on public speaking which included “but what if I feel nervous?” or “will I get better with practice?” I remember Michele calmly saying that she did not like public speaking in her undergrad either, that she certainly got better with practice, and that I shouldn’t be so concerned. What seemed like such obvious answers completely calmed my nerves about public speaking. If I could get better with practice, and if someone as good at lecturing as Michele didn’t enjoy public speaking early on, I felt speaking was no longer a barrier. After that conversation, I elected to stay in the class and the two others which also had an oral presentation.
The amount of assignments in the class improved my writing skills, critical thinking skills, and my work ethic. Michele made already enjoyable course work even more enjoyable through awesome, entertaining, and understandable analogies, and engaged the class interactively (through the iClicker which turned out to be a really good idea). It was one of those rare classes where losing attention was particularly difficult and keeping attention was incredibly easy. I personally attribute this quality to the instructor and not the course. Michele always said she hoped we took more from the class than just a letter on our transcript, and I think she accomplished this and then some, which is how instructing should be. As for the oral presentation, I confidently and proudly spoke to the whole class, embraced the moment, and ended up doing very well, and did even better in the subsequent oral presentations I had in other classes. What seemed like my biggest weakness now turned into one of my biggest strengths and is something I don’t fear anymore. Importantly, I think this extends far past school. I am now a more confident person in general and I attribute this to Michele for being so understanding. Had I not sat down with Michele to discuss public speaking, I would have certainly dropped three courses that I ended up succeeding in and I think this speaks volumes not only of her instructing abilities but that she is plain and simple helpful and open as a person and mentor, a quality which is hard to come by.
Thank you, Michele!
- Devan Tchir, 2015