COLA Connections Newsletter: May 2014

Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Kirsten Condry

Dr. Kirsten Condry came to RIT when the opportunity arose for her to move back to her roots in Upstate New York. With her she brought an extensive knowledge of her field and an enthusiasm for teaching that has been a gift to the students of the College of Liberal Arts. Her passion for what she does shows, as she has been named the 2014 recipient of the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Condry, an Associate Professor and the Undergraduate Program Director for the Department of Psychology, is an expert in developmental psychology. With a focus on the cognitive development and learning of children and infants, she brings research experience from the University of Minnesota, MIT, and Harvard. Her extensive background in research has helped prepare her for teaching at RIT, her first professor position.

“I see my research almost playing out in RIT’s teaching and learning styles,”she said. “Children want to figure things out on their own, so do RIT students.”

Condry’s love for teaching is apparent, and she’s appreciative of how RIT supports its faculty and students. “RIT is open to opportunity,”she said. “I love how the students and professors care about each other.”

She is immensely proud of her students and enjoys being able to work directly with them through classes and advising.

“I enjoy seeing students make their way through RIT,”she said. “They help me learn and are open to me trying new things in the classroom.”

Learning new ways of teaching has been a huge help to Condry since she’s been at RIT. Through mentoring and faculty learning communities offered by the University, she has been able to see marked improvement in her classroom.

‘I have learned a lot of new techniques from the faculty learning communities, where we read education and teaching research and share ideas. My colleagues have been incredibly useful,”she said. “I have seen tangible change in my class.”

Condry’s approach to developing her teaching style, and her close work with students have helped her find a good fit with RIT’s teaching mission. Now, in her eighth year with the University, she has earned one of the most prestigious awards at RIT, the Eisenhart Award for Outstanding Teaching.

“I get a lot of joy out of what I do and it is really nice to receive an award for something I care about so much,’  she said. “At RIT I feel surrounded by faculty and staff who also care deeply about teaching and supporting students. It is such an honor to receive this award.”

To love what you do, and to be in a community that values the same thing is its own daily reward,“ she added. “RIT feels like a supportive community of teachers and learners, it is great to call this work.”