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Teaching Excellence winner makes learning memorable for psych students

Andrea Hughes earned the Teaching Excellence Award from UFV. - UFV photo
Andrea Hughes earned the Teaching Excellence Award from UFV.
— image credit: UFV photo

For a teacher committed to studying seniors, psychology instructor Dr. Andrea Hughes sure has a way with today’s youth.

As the 2014 recipient of the Teaching Excellence award at the University of the Fraser Valley, Hughes’ success is a product of her fascination with studying memory, especially in older generations.

“I think students feed off my energy,” she said.

“I enjoy what I do and I find the subject matter genuinely interesting, but it helps to take it outside of the textbook and really engage with what you’re learning about."

Hughes holds a PhD and MA in psychology from Simon Fraser University, and a BA with honours in psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. She joined UFV in 2007 following her postdoctoral fellowship at St. Louis’ Washington University.

In addition to teaching and contributing to UFV’s Centre for Education and Research in Aging, Hughes also supports UFV’s Student Psychology Association. Her extensive body of research has included: Narcissistic Personality & Overconfidence in Eyewitness Memory; Memory for Birds: Older Adults Show Evidence for Learning of Complex Categories; Older Adults’ Ability to Interpret Sarcasm and Metaphor; Effects of Context on Memory Performance in Recognition and Recall; and Signal Detection Analysis.

Away from university life, Hughes enjoys spending time with her extended family, and exploring the outdoors with her partner and their dogs Bella and Dexter.

At day’s end, Hughes’ impact might be best summarized by fourth-year UFV psychology student Robyn Matthews.

“Dr. Hughes represents what it means to be a teacher, academic, and mentor,” she says.

“She is the best professor I have ever had the pleasure of being taught by. My life is forever changed by the impression she has left on it and I can think of no one more deserving of the 2014 Teaching Excellence Award.”

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