Chris teaches graduate students completing the Masters of Science in Counseling program at Villanova University. He also helped design an undergraduate Minor in Counseling at Villanova and teaches one course per year in this program. Prior to his teaching at Villanova, Chris taught graduate students at the College of William and Mary and a number of private secondary schools.
Chris was nominated for the Tolle Lege Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014). He also received the Humanistic Educator/ Supervisor Award, given by the Association of Humanistic Counseling (2013).
An excerpt from Chris’ teaching philosophy:
“Humanistic and developmental theories of education guide my interactions with Villanova graduate and undergraduate students preparing for careers in the field of mental health counseling. These philosophical approaches and the objectives within them directly coincide with the educational mission of Villanova University. Research continues to emphasize the importance of students preparing to enter the mental health field progressing both personally and professionally in order to most benefit their future clientele. Therefore, in alignment with the Villanova mission, I retain a deliberate focus on enhancing students’ cognitive complexity and developing and nurturing the whole student through a community approach. These efforts were recognized on a national level through my receipt of The Humanistic Educator/ Supervisor Award, given by the Association of Humanistic Counseling (2013).
From the humanistic perspective, each of my courses is organized in order to address the intellect, the emotions, the social self, and the requisite behavioral skills. First, I seek to engage students in their own learning by incorporating their needs and desires within the evolution of the course. This is accomplished through group and individual conversations and written course feedback throughout the semester. Second, I deliberately take time during the semester to process, with the students, their current perceptions about the progress of the course. Third, I offer opportunities for the students to engage in self and peer evaluations on assigned projects. Fourth, I make great efforts to behave as a facilitator of learning rather than a director of learning in order to foster an environment in which students feel comfortable taking intellectual and social risks, with the ultimate goal of encouraging a search for life-long learning.
My teaching and research interests in moral development also inform my approach. Specifically, each of my courses require students to engage in reflective thinking through assignments and course discussions. As my research has shown, particular types of reflective engagement alongside discerning and developmentally appropriate guidance from the professor offer an excellent means for enhancing reflective capacities, cognitive complexity, and moral development (Schmidt, McAdams, & Foster, 2009; Schmidt & Adkins, 2011; Schmidt, 2014). Such practices represent some of my efforts toward aligning my pedagogy with the dialogical vision of St. Augustine:
‘First of all, we do not learn through words. All learning comes from questioning. Questioning indicates not so much what we do not know as what we do know. We know our own ignorance. It is not so much our ignorance that permits us to learn as our knowledge of that ignorance, and when this knowledge is indicated in a question, it becomes a form of teaching (p. 475; De Magistro).