Scott Mattson’s Story
Psychology, University of Windsor
My proudest teaching moment:
The one that made me feel both a lot older and very proud was when a first year student (in my course)told me that, “although you probably wouldn’t remember,” she had accompanied her mother to my class (with my permission) when she was 10 years-old. I did remember as her mother asked in order to stimulate her young daughter’s interest in going to university. The icing on the cake was when her older sister told me that I was the first professor in her academic career where she first cared more and solely about learning as opposed to what scores she got. (Needless to say and regardless, her marks were at the top of the class.)
My greatest research accomplishment:
As part of my doctoral internship I developed a roughly 300 page, eight module Sexual Health Clinic Orientation Manual for a public health unit and use by new employees, seasoned nurses, and students doing their clinical placements. The manual is also being used by several local non-profit agencies who work in sexual health and with sexual communities. I am very proud to report that one of my former students, with no public health background, was able to use it and its contents to land a job in public health communications. His interviewers were floored by how much he knew about public health and were prepared to hire him on the spot. After he thanked me, I asked him how much he had known before he read the manual. His reply? “Absolutely nothing.”
How I use my knowledge, research skills and teaching ability to improve my community:
Much of my research and community work, including my dissertation, has been on the experiences of LGBT youth. Through that work and with local nonprofit agencies, I was able to assist a brave young man and a concerned community in a long fight to establishing the first Gay-Straight Alliance in Windsor. On my last day packing up as Director of Health Promotion and Community Education for a local nonprofit organization–almost out the door, with a milk crate full of books and torchère lamp in hand–I checked my voicemail one final time. The last message was from a mother thanking me for the work I had done, explaining–while her voice cracked and tears were expressed–that it broke her heart to see what her son and his friends had to go through at school. Now that they would have somewhere to turn and institutional support, she just had a to take a moment to express her gratitude for her son and his friends. I was extremely honoured. Needless to say, I had to delay and put everything down in order to wipe my eyes.
The challenges I face in my work:
* Not having dedicated, unshared office space to meet with students and less than completely antiquated technology for doing work. Twenty minutes is a long time to wait for a computer to boot.
* Not having the permanence to do any planning beyond one or two months in terms how many courses or what I will or might be teaching.
* Late, last minute appointments.