2021 Julian Ross Award for Excellence in Teaching — Rodney Clark

Rodney Clark
Rodney Clark, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Rodney Clark is a life-changing educator. Known for encouraging scientific rigor in students’ thinking and inspiring a passion for research in many of his mentees, it’s no surprise that his influence remains with students long after their time at Allegheny.

“Dr. Clark changed the way I saw the world within a few weeks. I found myself thinking about the world and my place in it differently,” says Sara St. Peter ’14.

Since joining the Allegheny faculty in 1990, Professor Clark has demonstrated an unflagging commitment to the student experience.

“In faculty meetings, he is invaluable as an advocate for supporting students to present their work at conferences and helping us retain a longer institutional memory as many of our senior faculty have retired,” notes Professor of Psychology Jennifer Foreman. “I appreciate his integrity and consistent student-centered approach.”

According to his students, Professor Clark is one of those rare teachers who realizes that he can learn as much from his students as they can from him. Often incorporating humor into his teaching methods, Professor Clark’s lectures have become something students look forward to. He keeps his class discussions relevant and captivating, all while remaining fair and respectful.

Shannon Adkins ’04 recalls that “Dr. Clark’s classes were never quiet. I think it was his teaching style. Someone was always asking a question.”

It’s this approach that has captured the adoration of so many students, who consistently praise Professor Clark’s lectures for not just being lectures, but informal discussions. 

“This was the first time in my education where I did not feel like the teacher was talking at me, but encouraged me to have a voice,” adds Jesse Menard ’99. “His classes and labs were active and exciting. I had always been a good student, but he made me love school.” 

In addition to being an excellent educator, Professor Clark is also a devoted mentor and friend, going above and beyond to help students with ideas for their Senior Comp, making sure they take the classes they need to graduate on time, and much more. 

“I am amazed how he can be so calm and stable around a lot of crazy seniors, but he more than manages us,” Krystal Baldwin ’08 says. “He is there for us to lean on and help us with problems that we don’t even know how to deal with.”

Adds Michael Roth ’08: “Before I met Dr. Clark, I had no idea what I wanted to do after Allegheny for a career or continuing my education. However, after many conversations he counseled me on the field I am now in and loving. He was not my advisor, but he was always available to help lend a helping hand or to just listen and provide advice.”