Baron Perlman, Chief Editor of the “Teaching Tips” column in the Observer since 1994, has received the American Psychological Association’s Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award, recognizing a career of significant contributions to teaching psychology. Recipients are required to have demonstrated an excellent record in teaching, along with innovative teaching research, development of effective teaching methods, and novel courses.
“His work in editing ‘Teaching Tips’ has made a significant contribution to the discussion about quality teaching among psychologists,” said Susan McFadden, Chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who nominated Perlman for the award. “He’s a marvelous, compassionate editor, and he has given warm encouragement to many authors who began with incomplete or poorly expressed ideas. He helps them produce strong columns that serve psychology by teaching about teaching. He is more than a mere editor, he’s a mentor.”
“On a national level, his scholarly work has extended our understanding of many aspects of undergraduate education in psychology and has addressed many components of the art of teaching,” said McFadden.
“We’ve learned far more than we taught,” Perlman said of his experience
with “Teaching Tips.”
Perlman began his research in mental health administration, when he and E.Alan Hartman received a NIMH grant in 1979 to study the administration of public sector mental health systems. But, as he did more undergraduate teaching, he became increasingly interested in education. “When you finish one study, there’s always another one to begin on,” said Perlman. “It’s endless, and I find it fascinating.”
The writings of Charles Brewer, whom the award is named for, led Perlman to study curriculum in the first place. “He showed me the validity and the importance of researching curriculum,” said Perlman.
The people Perlman has met throughout his career, both students and colleagues, motivate him to continue his research. “They have really sustained me and taught me so much,” he said.
Receiving the Brewer Award came as a pleasant surprise. “I’m flabbergasted, and I’m deeply honored,” he said. “I never thought of my work or myself as being at this level. You don’t do the work and the research expecting recognition.”
At the UW-Oshkosh, Perlman is a Rosebush and a University Professor in the Department of Psychology, as well as a UW-Oshkosh Distinguished Teacher. As part of the Brewer award, Perlman will receive a plaque, $2,000, and round-trip expenses to the annual APA convention, where the award will be presented and he has been invited to give an address.