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At the latest Averett Homecoming event, one recent graduate went up to Dr. Jean Hatten and said: "You know, I'm really glad you made me learn all that spreadsheet stuff [the former student's word, not Dr. Hatten's] — it’s been very helpful in my job."

Hatten has found that the analytical skills his psychology students acquire, as well as specific spreadsheet skills — are, indeed, helpful to all of his students, regardless of what they do immediately following graduation.

"At this point," he says, "about 35 percent of our psychology majors go right to graduate school, and we prepare them very strongly for that. But the skills they get here are directly applicable to the world of work, as well."

He adds that all of the Averett faculty members are genuinely dedicated to seeing that their students succeed: "The faculty tend to be committed to the students as individuals, as well as to the university. Students here get a lot of one-on-one attention from the faculty."

Hatten likes the variety of students at the school: "We have some older students, a lot of first-generation [first in their family to go to college] students, and, of course, traditional students. It's a diverse group."

The department takes psychology majors in their junior year to a regional psychology conference, as members of the audience. Then they return to Averett and design their own research projects.

"We've taught a lot of students how to do research," he says. "They have a research design course, they implement their own projects, they correct any errors, and then they present their results in poster sessions. And you know, a lot of them discover that at that point, they know more about their research than anyone else does."

Hatten also has begun a new program at Averett, designing websites through courses taken in psychology, art and computer science … with advisors from all three departments. "That was an elective at first, but now it’s a full-fledged program," he says.

Using psychology to build a better website — another example of a dynamic department.


Doctor of Philosophy, psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Master of Arts, psychology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Bachelor of Arts, psychology, Mercer University