Kent State Psychology Professor Wins Outstanding Research and Scholar AwardPosted Jul. 8, 2013
Unlike students who try to master copious material the night before an exam — only to forget about half of it the next semester, Katherine Rawson, Ph.D., associate professor in Kent State University’s Department of Psychology, will not soon forget earning Kent State’s Outstanding Research and Scholar Award.
Rawson was recognized this year as an Outstanding Research and Scholar Award recipient for her scholarly research, its quality and impact on society. She was one of three award recipients.
Kent State’s Outstanding Research and Scholar Awards recognize outstanding faculty members for their notable scholarly contributions that have brought acknowledgement to their fields of study and to Kent State.
“We have a very busy lab,” Rawson explains. “We do research to support durable learning. We want learning to be durable, but also efficient.”
Rawson’s research focuses on text comprehension, memory and metacognition, and applications of cognitive psychology to education.
“Specifically, we want to focus on different study strategies and long-term retention. We also look at not only what works, but also why it works,” she says.
Rawson’s research shows that students study in a way that is just good enough, resulting in little to no retention.
“We want to identify techniques students can use that will help them do well on an exam, but also help them to retain what they learn beyond the exam.”
She explains the biggest challenge students have is identifying what they know and what they don’t know.
“You can give students all the techniques you want, but if students can’t identify what they don’t know, the techniques will be useless. Simply put, students don’t know what they don’t know,” Rawson says.
Rawson’s interest in research and psychology developed out of her restaurant experience.
“I was very frustrated by the lack of support we had for training,” Rawson says. “It got me thinking about how people learn and how we could train them better. That’s when education sparked my interest, and I decided to pursue a psychology degree in cognitive psychology.”
Overall, Rawson believes the research is making progress.
“More people are recognizing the importance of this problem,” Rawson says. “I see increasing gains and connections in student learning, but I believe there is still a lot of work to be done on this particular topic.”
For more information about Kent State’s Department of Psychology, visit www.kent.edu/cas/psychology.