Dr. Kethera Fogler Returns to JMU
By Deirdre E. Myers
Next Fall, JMU’s Kethera Fogler will be returning as a tenure-track professor of the Department of Psychology. While the “tenure-track” position is new for her, she is not new to us. For two years Dr. Fogler has had an interim appointment as a faculty member in our department. In this temporary role she taught a wide range of courses for JMU and she has supervised students in research. This interim appointment gave Dr. Fogler the opportunity to develop her skills as a faculty member. She accepted her initial appointment shortly after earning her Ph.D in Experimental Psychology at Saint Louis University. JMU Psychology Department Head Michael Stoloff said that, “with her added experience, Dr. Folger was identified as a top candidate in a field of over 150 applicants for the tenure track position she now holds. She has demonstrated that she is a great teacher and a young faculty member with wonderful potential. We are lucky to have her at JMU!”
Though the Shenandoah Valley is far from Missouri, Dr. Fogler says that she has enjoyed her time here and is looking forward to returning to a more permanent position. She explains that she was first drawn to JMU because the University encourages professors to emphasize research and scholarship in addition to excellence in teaching. She notes that JMU has found a balance that she appreciates, as it can be difficult to come across Universities that prioritize and make time for professors to grow as both educators and scholars. Dr. Fogler also appreciates that though JMU has a large undergraduate population, it still has a small school feel. She notes that even on such a large campus, instead of feeling anonymous, she has been able to make connections with faculty and students.
Getting to know the other faculty has only caused her passion for JMU to grow, as she notes how supportive her coworkers have been in their willingness to share their resources and advice. Like any professor, Dr. Fogler also has a lot to say about her students. She claims that the most enjoyable aspect of interacting with her students at JMU has been their genuine desire to learn. “They really show a curiosity, and will come by my office just to talk about what they’ve found interesting [in class],” she explains. “It seems like they really want to be here.”
It’s a good thing that she has found that students at JMU are eager to learn, because Dr. Fogler is passionate about her subject and enjoys being able to teach classes at every level, from introductory to capstone experiences. She has taught statistics, research methods, cognitive psychology as well as the first and last course in the psychology major (General Psychology and our Senior Seminar). During the current Spring semester she has been teaching a Senior Seminar on the Psychology of Language. She looks forward to teaching more about language, sleep, and memory in the future. Dr. Fogler says that she enjoys interacting with students who are new to the field of Psychology, students who are mid way, and students who are completing the program. “I love seeing both ends of the spectrum,” she says about teaching introductory and upper-level courses, “each class helps me to teach the other.” She says that teaching freshmen helps her to see on what topics her senior students need more continuity. Further, by teaching students at the end of their undergraduate journey, she is able to see which topics her new Psychology students might benefit from learning more about.
Even though it is an introductory course, Dr. Fogler says that Psychology 101 is one of her favorites to teach, because she gets to expose students to a subject that many of them have never studied before. Teaching helps students “realize that it’s more than just Freud,” she says, and that covering a wide breadth of topics allows students to see which areas of Psychology they find most interesting. Sparking that interest and seeing students surprise themselves with what they enjoy learning is one of her favorite parts of being a teacher.
With this new solidified position, Dr. Fogler says that she is excited to work with students on research projects, and to delve deeper into topics like language and memory that she currently teaches in class. The Psychology Department is equally excited to see where she will take her research, her students, and the University in her time at JMU.