Psychology professor wins prestigious teaching award

May 02, 2011

Associate Professor of Psychology Stephanie D. Madsen received the Ira G. Zepp Distinguished Teaching Award for inspired classroom work and dedication to students May 1 at McDaniel College’s Honors Convocation. The award provides a $5,000 honorarium for the faculty recipient and a matching fund for ongoing professional and scholarly development.

This year’s presentation marks the 50th anniversary of the annual recognition for excellence in teaching: the first award was presented to Physics professor R.D. Summers in 1961.

"Teaching and connecting with McDaniel students is the best part of my job,” said Madsen. “I've been fortunate to have many inspiring mentors and I'm honored to have received this award."

Psychology professor Stephanie Madsen with  Zepp Awards benefactors and alumni Carol and Charlie Moore

Since joining the McDaniel faculty in 2001, Madsen has consistently received rave reviews from her students, who cite her dedication, demanding standards and compassion for their growth as individuals and citizens. Her classes are vibrant laboratories where students must contemplate human policy and philosophy. She goes beyond the theoretical, textbook concepts of the subject, infusing reality into her classroom with activities such as bringing children and parents into her classroom or sending her students to complete service-learning projects in the community to provide immediate confrontation with values, knowledge and the real world. Through such relevant exchanges, students develop a better sense of themselves and role of human development in all areas of their lives.

Beyond the classroom, Professor Madsen’s students are her research collaborators, her co-authors on published academic papers, and her protégés. When Madsen, a developmental psychologist, presents papers at invited academic conferences such as the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence or the annual meeting of The Society of Research in Child Development, her student co-authors are by her side.

Madsen is the author of 15 articles in major journals in her field, co-author of a textbook, and has written numerous textbook chapters that have received national recognition in the popular press, including the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

As department chair since 2008, Madsen has enhanced the profile and reputation of the department and set standards for quality of teaching, research and student engagement. Her mentorship of the Psychology Club has fostered leadership among high achieving students, as well as making psychology accessible to everyone on campus.

She graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College in 1996, and earned her master’s and doctorate in child psychology from the University of Minnesota.