Shelley Cohen

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Teacher and Mentor Extraordinaire
This “life coach” encourages and motivates students to be the best they can be.

Long-time psychology instructor Shelley Cohen felt shocked and humbled accepting the Ray Hartstein Award for Academic Excellence for Part-time Teaching at the All-College Breakfast in August 2012. “I‘d convinced myself that the honor would go to someone else,” she says. “Being chosen was a tremendous affirmation of my work.”

Cohen lives to teach Psychology 101. “The course covers a great deal of material and requires students to think abstractly, which make it tough to teach – but I love a challenge,” she admits. Her hands-on teaching style offers guidance and support while providing students opportunities to take action on their own. “Teaching is not about passing along information to students, but partnering with them, creating an interactive learning environment that allows them to develop the social, critical thinking, time management, and study skills they will need to achieve personal and academic goals throughout their lifetime.”

Students who miss several classes can expect an e-mail or phone call to discuss the absence. “Sometimes students need to know that the instructor cares and notices when they don’t show up,” she explains. “Other times, students need feedback on an issue they face in their personal lives that is affecting their academics.”

Cohen, who also is a life coach, says she feels vested in her students’ performances.  “When I look at any particular class, I see more than just a group of students. I see untapped potential, future professionals, and leaders. I see individuals who can and will make a difference in their world, needing only a small nudge in the right direction,” she says. “Teaching and coaching isn’t just what I do, it’s who I am.”