Graduate School

The University of Mississippi

Psychology Professor Recognized for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

By Nathan Towery and Christy Wyandt

Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

University of Mississippi psychology professor Kelly Wilson received the university’s 2017 Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring Award at the doctoral hooding ceremony on May 12.

Wilson, who has been a UM faculty member for 17 years, has successfully directed the dissertations of 17 doctoral students and helped with 10 master’s theses. He has published 17 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 19 book chapters, and two books with his graduate students.

When reviewing candidates for the award, a committee evaluates their impact on graduate students, excellence in supervision of student research or professional practice, excellence in graduate classroom instruction, and any other contributions to improve instruction including influence on the graduate curriculum. It’s obvious that Wilson meets these criteria, judging by the recommendations of former students.

“His standards are terrifically high, which, when matched with the tireless support he offers, creates a context for his students to excel far beyond their own expectations,” said a former student. “The experiences he provided to me and my classmates prepared us to position ourselves, challenge ourselves and nurture ourselves into the professors, the scientists, the therapists, the administrators, the colleagues and the people we long to be.”

Another former student said, “He bet on me when most people wouldn’t have. You see, he doesn’t just mentor students in research. He mentors his students to be the best they can be in the paths they chose. He believes in possibilities, which is now something that guides me in my own mentoring as a professor. … I am eternally grateful for him for going above and beyond with me. Making the impossible possible.”

Wilson’s influence has gone beyond the classroom; it has carried into many of his students’ professional careers. Currently, eight of his former students hold faculty positions at various universities.

In his personal teaching statement, Wilson said, “To this day, I feel privileged to breathe the air on a college campus. I feel privileged to be a member of the academy. And even after all of these years, I have a fire in my belly to transmit what I found.”