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UM Psychology Professor Honored with Elsie M. Hood Teaching Award

A dedicated University of Mississippi psychology professor lauded by his peers for instilling a passion in his students, Matthew Reysen has been named winner of the 2020 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher Award.

Matthew Reysen, UM associate professor of psychology, has been named the 2020 Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services
An associate professor in the Department of Psychology, Reysen was awarded the highest honor a UM faculty member can receive for teaching, following high praise from students and fellow faculty citing his track record of exceptional teaching skills and commitment to serving as a mentor.

The annual award is given to a professor who embodies teaching excellence and exceptional student engagement.

Chancellor Glenn F. Boyce called Reysen, “a dedicated professor who uses his exceptional teaching talents to train students in his field of cognitive psychology.”

“He not only provides a wealth of knowledge to his students, but also delivers it in an engaging and understandable way and has become known for instilling a passion in his students – not only for the subject, but for learning itself,” Boyce said.

Nominations are submitted by students, alumni and faculty colleagues. The selection committee is composed primarily of previous recipients of the award.

“I was completely surprised by the news because I had no idea that I’d been nominated,” Reysen said. “It’s very gratifying for me to teach and work with students in the classroom. Receiving the award means a lot to me because I have so much respect for the many amazing teachers on campus.”

Third-year pharmacy student Sydney Harrison, one of Reysen’s nominators, took his introductory courses in psychology and cognitive psychology.

“I learned more from his teaching than any other professor at the university,” Harrison said. “He shared his own experiences and constantly engaged his students. He sparked a new passion in me for psychiatric pharmacy. Dr. Reysen is the greatest professor I have had the pleasure of knowing.”

Reysen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University in Fresno and a Ph.D. in psychology from Purdue University. In 2004, he joined the Ole Miss faculty. His research focuses on the effects of social influences on cognitive processes, human memory, reality construction and eyewitness testimony.

His wife, Rebekah Reysen, is assistant director for academic support programs at the university’s Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, where she works with academically at-risk students.

The Outstanding Teacher Award has been a tradition at the university for more than 50 years. Since 1988, it’s been funded in perpetuity with a bequest from Warren and Elsie Hood, of Jackson. Additionally, the UM Foundation and Ole Miss Alumni Association contribute a generous honorarium to the winner.

By Abigail Meisel, Ole Miss Communications

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