H. Russell Searight, Recipient 2011
Psychology professor H. Russell Searight has been teaching at Lake Superior State University for only four years, but it didn't take him long to make a great impression upon his students. They, along with Searight's faculty colleagues, have chosen him as this year's recipient of the LSSU Distinguished Teaching Award.
LSSU Provost Morrie Walworth announced the award during commencement ceremonies on April 30 in Taffy Abel Arena. Searight was chosen by a committee of top students and past recipients of the award who reviewed nominations from LSSU students, employees and alumni. They keep the recipient's identity secret until it is announced at commencement.
This year's recipient has been described as someone who genuinely knows how to talk to and teach students," Walworth said in his introduction of Searight. "He has been described as 'amazing,' 'enthusiastic,' 'approachable' and 'easy to talk to.' It’s been said that his geeky ways inspire students. Nearly everyone mentioned that he made them feel comfortable and that he really listened to them and was always willing to help with problems. He makes students feel right at home; like being a part of a family."
Walworth said the nominations for Searight outlined the outstanding teaching qualities that he has in common with past recipients of the award, which has been presented to LSSU faculty since 1971.
"A distinguished teacher is a member of the faculty who exemplifies the best of LSSU," said Walworth. "A distinguished teacher demonstrates command of his or her subject matter, explains difficult concepts clearly, uses creative and innovative methods in order to engage students, generates excitement and enthusiasm for the subject, maintains challenging learning standards, inspires and serves as a role model."
Upon receiving the award, Searight told the audience of thousands, including 500 LSSU graduates, that he considers himself fortunate.
"I just want thank you for the honor," he said. "I consider myself a very fortunate person. When I've been coming to work here for the past four years, I've had the honor of working with a distinguished faculty, and it's been an honor and a privilege to work with the students at Lake Superior State University."
Searight, an accomplished psychologist who has written hundreds of research papers and book chapters, as well as three books, assured his students that he isn't the only one doing the teaching when he meets with them in the classroom each day.
"One of greatest things about teaching is that I get to continue to learn," he said. "I'm willing to bet that I have learned twice as much from you as you ever have from me."
Searight holds a doctorate in clinical psychology, a master's degree in public health, and a master's degree in clinical psychology, all from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from Butler University in Indianapolis.
Searight taught at Saint Louis for 15 years and was director of Behavioral Medicine with Forest Park Hospital's Family Medicine Residency Program in St. Louis before coming to LSSU in 2007. In addition to teaching at LSSU, he teaches at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Searight is a licensed psychologist health service provider in the states of Missouri and Michigan and formerly operated a private practice in child, adult and family psychology for more than 10 years.
He has a great deal of experience as a consulting psychologist, staff psychologist and counselor, and has worked with a variety of clients, from children to adults, including veterans.
Searight is the author of three books and editor of another, including "Family of Origin Therapy and Diversity," in 1998, "Behavioral Medicine: A Primary Care Approach," in 1999 and "Parent Articles about AD/HD," which he edited with two colleagues. His most recent publication is "Practicing Psychology in Primary Care," written in 2010.
He has also been a reviewer for many publications, including "American Family Physician," "Spanish Journal of Psychology," and "British Medical Journal," to name a few.
If his students think that he makes them write more than other professors, it could be because he has written more than 150 articles and book chapters related to his field -- some of them with his wife, Barbara Searight Ph.D., who is associate dean of LSSU's School of Education -- and has presented dozens of research papers and many grant and research proposals.
Searight is a member of the Society of Teachers in Family Medicine, the American Psychological Association, and the Academy for Health Services Research.
He and his wife, Barbara, live in Sault Ste. Marie.