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Keating Wins 2024 Balmuth Award

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Caroline (Carrie) Keating, professor of psychological and brain sciences, has been selected as the 2024 recipient of the Jerome Balmuth Award for Teaching.

The Balmuth Award was endowed by Mark Siegel ’76, and it is awarded each year to a faculty member whose teaching is “distinctively successful and transformative, recognizing that such distinction can be achieved through a broad spectrum of methodologies ranging from traditional to innovative.” 

Keating received her BA, MA, and PhD from Syracuse University. She arrived at Ƶ as an assistant professor of psychology in 1981. Her areas of expertise include nonverbal and physiognomic elements of social dominance, influence, power, status, leadership and charisma, initiation and hazing, cross-cultural human development, and more.

Keating’s studies have been featured across the country and around the world — in print, on radio talk shows, and on television, including PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers and Dateline NBC, and ABC’s Good Morning America. As an interpreter of social-psychological phenomena, she appeared on ABC’s 20-20 and What Would You Do?

At Ƶ, Keating has taught an array of courses, including research methods in psychological science and specialty seminars in leadership, social bonds, cross-cultural human development, and nonverbal communication. She also offers presentations and workshops to professional and civic organizations.

In a letter of nomination for the Balmuth Award, one current student reflected on Keating’s mentorship. 

“Her advising has been the perfect balance between being understanding and reasonable but also challenging, which I now believe sets up the best conditions for learning and growth,” the nomination reads. “I’ve gained experience with novel research designs such as eye-tracking with virtual reality headsets and measuring brain waves with EEG nets. I’ve also seen immense growth in my writing abilities.”

A colleague who has co-taught with Keating described the ways she brings students fully into the design of the course.

“Carrie made the whole class feel like one big team on a shared mission to solve a problem,” the nomination reads. “One of the ways she would do this was to start the class by saying that she was not sure how to do something or to wonder about the best approach for some important decision. I was surprised to see how thoroughly students accepted that responsibility and took ownership of ideas, approaches, and decisions.”

A former student noted that Keating’s teaching and mentorship, “transformed my life and have been at the core of any success I have had, which includes being the principal investigator on several grants from the NIH and NSF as well as close to 100 peer-reviewed publications that are all based on the initial lessons that I learned in the classroom and lab working with Prof. Keating.”

Keating’s devotion to teaching and to hands-on, deeply engaged student learning led her to work with colleagues on an early proposal for a small center focused on mind, brain, and behavior in Olin Hall. Due in part to Keating’s dedication, the idea eventually grew into — a Third-Century Plan priority. 

“It is clear that Professor Keating’s teaching has transformed her students and colleagues,” says Provost and Dean of the Faculty Lesleigh Cushing. “It has also transformed the shape of this campus.” 

In recent years, the recipient of the Balmuth Award has . Beginning with Keating, the Balmuth awardee will serve as an affiliate of the Center for Learning, Teaching, and Research, offering pedagogically focused programming in the year following the award.