Dr. Shawn Bediako, featured Honors College faculty tells us about why he loves teaching at the UMBC Honors College. Dr. Bediako is the Director of UMBC’s Community and Applied Social Psychology program and his research focuses on behavioral medicine and the health-related implications of stigma.
Title: Associate Professor
Favorite thing about UMBC: My favorite thing about UMBC is it’s size. It’s large enough to be a cosmopolitan place where you can interact with people from diverse backgrounds, but it still maintains a “small-town” feel that’s predicated on developing solid, meaningful relationships among students, staff, and faculty. I particularly enjoy being able to be on a first-name basis with everyone from custodial staff to university administrators – to me, that speaks volumes about the quality of the UMBC community.
Favorite thing about the Honors College: While the typical response would emphasize how great the students are, I have to say that my favorite thing about Honors College is the staff. Of all the universities with which I’ve been affiliated, the leadership team and support staff of our Honors College is unsurpassed in its commitment to and nurturing of scholarly development and student success. It’s obvious how much they care about the students and, in my opinion, that’s a chief contributor to the success of Honors College scholars.
Favorite Experience Teaching an Honors Class: I lead an Honors seminar that involves very challenging conversations about the confluence of race, science, and society. My favorite experiences occur when students move out of their comfort zone and join me in attempting to engage the course material from multiple perspectives – even those with which we disagree.
Advice you would give to incoming Honors College Students: My advice to incoming students is to choose as early as possible once you arrive here about whether you’ll be a “student” who is chiefly concerned with your grade point average or a “scholar” who is focused on learning, critical engagement, and praxis. Those who choose the latter will have a richer experience at UMBC.