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Provost welcomes new professors

By Marissa Piccolo
On March 3, 2014

This spring, the Office of the Provost is excited to welcome new staff on board as they seek to expand research opportunities, accommodate the increase in student enrollment and growth of the university. 

Ronald Beghetto is a newly hired Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, holding a doctorate degree from Indiana University and coming from the University of Oregon. Beghetto said he hopes to better incorporate creativity into the everyday classroom, where it is oftentimes inadvertently suppressed, by reevaluating academic curricula. This semester, he is teaching EPSY 3010, an undergraduate educational psychology introductory course, and in the future will likely be teaching advanced graduate courses on themes of learning, motivation and creativity. 

Beghetto was attracted to UConn both by its reputation and the possibilities for innovative and collaborative research. 

"UConn has taken an exciting and groundbreaking approach to developing research capacity in high education by recruiting clusters of faculty who can compliment the existing expertise and outstanding research tradition here," Beghetto said. "The possibilities and impact that result from such a strategic approach to faculty hiring is not merely addictive, but multiplicative." 

In his first few weeks, Beghetto said he is proud to have quickly adjusted to being a Husky despite being an Oregon Duck for the past decade. He is already developing projects and creativity and innovation initiatives with colleagues Dr. Jonathan Plucker and Dr. James Kaufman, and is both impressed and thrilled by how engaged and insightful his students are. 

Pamela Diggle is another seasoned individual who has started working at UConn this spring semester as the Associate Department Head of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. Her research interests include the evolution of developmental patterns of plants and how they respond to changing environmental conditions. She hopes to develop "Plants in a Changing World" as a new course that focuses on the central role of plants in understanding the environmental challenges we will face in the future. 

Diggle has already been participating in discussion groups that seek to explore and address new and challenging area of research and wants to work specifically on how to better include undergraduates. 

"Experience with actual research is a critical part of undergraduate education; every student at UConn should have the opportunity if they are interested," Diggle said. 

 Diggle said she was attracted by the opportunity of joining one of the top ecology and evolutionary biology departments in the country, and everything else UConn has to offer. 

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