LCCC Associate Professor Vincent Granito, Ph.D., thinks outside of the traditional classroom box for his psychology courses. His unique approach to teaching was nationally recognized when he won the 2013 Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award from the Teaching Division of the American Psychological Association.
He has also been recognized with the 2010 Faculty Excellence award from the LCCC Foundation in 2010, and the 2011 LCCC Outstanding Faculty Award from LCCC. He was also named Alumnus of the Year in 2005 by John F. Kennedy University, where he completed his master’s degree.
“Most people think that college means sitting in a desk and listening to a professor drone on for 50 minutes. As more research is done, we find that the one-dimensional style of teaching doesn’t always work,” Granito said.
Granito adds depth to his classes by using adjustable spaces, small group assignments, and a variety of student research projects. He also makes a point to include dialogue with his students during class. Grantio’s approach to learning has made him a favorite among students.
Studies show that students benefit from interaction in multiple forms, including interaction between the student and the professor, and also interactions that students have with each other, Granito said. By trying out different classroom arrangements and teaching styles, Granito enhances the kind of connection his students form with the subject matter.
“At LCCC, we have some wonderful new spaces which allow us to explore the student/faculty connection like never before. The new spaces on campus make it so much easier to engage students in new ways and see how that affects their learning experience,” he said.
One such space is the newly renovated iLOFT building. With walls that can be moved to suit the instructor’s needs, the iLOFT is a psychology professor’s dream, Granito said. The nontraditional room configurations can lead to higher student involvement during class time.
“When students feel connected during class, they’ll keep it up after class, and come talk about things related to class, their own lives, and career questions,” Granito said.
The subject of classroom configuration was explored by Mary Santana, a student in Granito’s Advanced Research Methods class. Santana’s research impressed the American Psychological Association (APA), and she recently presented her work at the APA national conference in Hawaii, where her study was a huge hit. She credited Granito’s guidance with helping her achieve national status.
“Dr. Granito is a very patient man. He is experienced in many different areas of psychology, so he always has great advice. He was, and will always be, my mentor,” Santana said.
When it comes to research, Granito doesn’t just talk the talk. Granito and his colleagues in the psychology department are invested in their own research, too. Most recently, Granito studied the unique subject of trash talk in sports.
As part of the Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award, Granito was recognized in the journal Teaching of Psychology.