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Inspiring young faculty: EC's Maggie Thomas makes NerdScholar's '40 Under 40' list

May 20, 2014

An entertaining and student-centric approach to teaching the more complex aspects of human behavior has landed Assistant Professor of Psychology Maggie Thomas on a national list of inspiring young professors. 

Thomas is one of 40 professors featured on NerdScholar’s inaugural “40 Under 40: Professors Who Inspire” list.  The San Francisco-based financial literacy website’s list was compiled after receiving nominations of professors who have the gift of captivating and engaging students in and out of the classroom. Finalists were then chosen based on professor and institutional ratings from various sources. 

“These women and men are inspiring the young adults of today to be the world leaders and humanitarians of tomorrow,” NerdScholar’s website says. 

The 33-year-old Thomas, who teaches a variety of courses on psychology, environmental and gender studies, came to Earlham three years ago after earning her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. 

“Psychology is so incredibly applicable to life because we learn about how people think and behave and interact,” Thomas says. “You’re a person and you’re always going to interact with other people, so why not learn about it? 

“My students are incredibly thoughtful and spend a lot of time engaging with the complexities and nuances of the topics we cover,” she says. “The insights they have always amaze me.”

Thomas' student-focused approach to teaching is among the reasons why Earlham is ranked 11th nationally by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching. Of the College’s faculty, 85 percent report that they work collaboratively with students on research projects. 

Few are as active as Thomas in this area. Each year, Thomas involves two to four students in every aspect of her scholarly work, which currently includes studies on gender, prejudice, stereotyping and human-animal interactions.  

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Greg Mahler says Thomas’ classes are informative, entertaining and popular among students.

“While many of our faculty inspire students, Maggie in particular helps students come to grips with some really challenging dimensions of their lives,” he says.

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at (765) 983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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