Educational Psychologist Diane Schallert Wins College's Top Teaching Award

Dr. Diane Schallert, an educational psychology professor in The University of Texas at Austin's College of Education, has been honored with the Dean's Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest accolade given by the college for excellence in teaching.

Schallert, who's been on the Department of Educational Psychology faculty for more than 30 years, teaches graduate Psychology of Learning and Psycholinguistics courses and advanced seminars on discourse comprehension and research on writing. In addition to being in the Department of Educational Psychology, Schallert holds an appointment in an interdisciplinary program in Foreign Language Education.

She has chaired or co-chaired more than 100 dissertation committees and authored or co-authored almost 50 refereed articles, 15 chapters in edited collections, four book reviews and almost a dozen reports and monographs. She's given almost 200 presentations internationally on the psychological and motivational underpinnings of learning.

Schallert's primary areas of research focus are motivations and emotions in learning environments and computer-mediated discussions.

"Right now I and my students are looking at online discussions between students and examining how they create and manage their online personas," said Schallert. "It's fascinating to see the sophistication they employ in that venue -- how they position themselves in relation to others in the class and how tactful and polished their posts and messages are even when they're disagreeing with something a fellow student stated.

"There's been much said about people projecting fake, inauthentic personas online in order to fool others. What I'm finding is that these students in the online discussions that I'm following are extremely open, honest, decorous and straightforward. They're very verbally adept and they're polite in the sociolinguistic sense -- polite in that context refers to 'saving face.'"

During her more than three decades as an exceptional scholar and teacher at the university, Schallert has received an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award and Texas Excellence Teaching Award.

"We're very grateful for Dr. Schallert and all that she's done for the College of Education," said Dr. Manuel J. Justiz, dean of the College of Education. "She's a remarkable teacher and researcher. It's impossible to assess the value of her contributions when it comes to the number of lives she's positively influenced over the years and the faculty members who have benefited from her mentoring and example."