Macon State College MVPs is a web feature that profiles notable students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Full Name: David M. Biek.
Originally From: Rochester, N.Y.
Family: Wife, Angelica; sons, Daniel and Jason; wiener dog, Oscar Mayer.
Job Title: Assistant professor of psychology.
Degrees: Associate of science in biology, Monroe Community College, 1994; bachelor of science in human development and family studies, Cornell University, 1996; master of arts in developmental psychology, Teacher's College, Columbia University, 1999; doctor of philosophy in developmental psychology, Cornell University, 2006.
Year he joined the Macon State faculty: 2006.
Some of his teaching career highlights are … “Surprisingly, all three of these things have occurred in the last couple months. Taking a student to a regional conference to present research we worked on together and observing her as her professional horizons broadened in front of her; my honors ‘Introduction to Psychology’ class last semester challenged me in all the right ways; and a portion of my dissertation data was just included as a model study in a major meta-analysis just published on stereotype threat - this analysis concludes we need to significantly rethink the meaning of achievement test results like the SAT.”
He enjoys teaching at Macon State because … “I can see the difference that I make, sometimes immediately, but often eventually. My overall goal in teaching is to encourage students to see the world in a different light - to question what they thought they already knew and give them the tools to actively explore new answers. A word of caution, though - this can be a jarring, frustrating, even disturbing process; education encompasses the entire range of passion.”
His favorite course to teach is … “ ‘Introduction to Psychology’ is my bread-and-butter course, and I feel I owe it to myself and my students to personally invite each student to consider psychology as a powerful framework for understanding themselves and their world. In many ways, teaching intro psych is like being a used car salesperson, except in my mind, I'm selling ‘gently-used’ Porsches and Ferraris.”
One thing people don’t know about Macon State is … “That it has all the typical resources found at a high-end liberal arts college (faculty expertise, committed staff, access to a vast library collection, deep business and community connections, etc.). What will make a world of difference to students, in my estimation, is initiative - our young scholars should ask themselves each day, "What kind of learning will I make today?"
One thing people don’t know about him is … “I'm your classic ‘jack-of-all-trades’. I once replaced the engine on my 1973 VW Super Beetle with nothing more than a wrench and a screwdriver; I can synthesize aspirin from a few basic ingredients (thanks organic chemistry!); I've climbed several 5000-foot ‘mountains’ in upstate New York; I starred as a minor-lead in my high school musical (no, not that high school musical); I was social chairman of my (nerdy) fraternity; I can bake a mean loaf of whole wheat bread (assuming I get the temperature right for the yeast). See a pattern here?”
In his spare time he likes to … “Spend time with my family; fix up my house; dabble in photography; garden; read; explore cityscapes.”
The one person he’d most like to meet is … “Benjamin Franklin because he was a true Renaissance man who actually was a master of all those trades!”
If he wasn’t a college professor he would be … “A pediatrician because that's what I thought I wanted to be before psychology got in the way. My undergraduate major was in developmental psychology and when I finished with that, I thought, ‘Let's do that again,’ so I entered a terminal master's program in developmental psychology, all the while deluding myself with the thought that, ‘This is going to make me the best pediatrician ever!’ instead of the simpler truth which was, ‘You really just love developmental psychology and have found your calling.’ While assembling my application materials for med school, a mentor suggested I teach a few sections of intro psych at the local community college. Within ten minutes on my first day, I knew I had found my passion, and haven't looked back.”