GSC Psychology Assistant Professor Serves on a National Panel Hosted by AASCU

By Karolina Philmon, GSC marketing manager 

Dr. Jessica Traylor, GSC assistant professor of psychology represented Highlander Nation on a national panel on integrating civic awareness across disciplines. The live webinar was organized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) as part of its American Democracy Project that aims to encourage conversation and demonstrate best practices across campuses.

Traylor has been involved with the AASCU American Democracy Project since 2019. She was asked to present on the webinar because of her long history of involving students in service-learning projects and other forms of civic engagement.

“I’ve really enjoyed teaching my students how to lead a deliberative dialogue. They’ll take an interest in a certain policy or issues in the community and do their research on it. Then they’ll invite people to the table such as elected officials, community members, or family members and deliberate the options,” Traylor said.

Through her involvement in this panel discussion, Traylor realized that faculty members from various disciplines are interested in and committed to civic work. Notably, she came across a voter engagement awareness project that integrates with her upcoming fall classes.

“My goal is the same as it's always been, to teach in a way that students learn something they can apply to improve their life, their family, or their community,” Traylor said.

In her teaching, Traylor employs deliberative pedagogy, emphasizing a democratic, active, and collaborative learning environment. Her courses, including Psychology of Adjustment, Human Growth and Development, and Research Methods, reflect this commitment.

“The big motivation for me is to build community resilience. I’m in a rural area. Everything I try to do and that I try to encourage my students to do is to build the capacity of our entire community,” Traylor said.

Traylor has been a full-time faculty at GSC for six years, and previously served as an adjunct faculty for four years. As the human services internship coordinator, Traylor also facilitates mentoring for future professionals. Her research, presented at international and national conferences, focuses on deliberative dialogue, community resilience, and the impact of these on student learning.