Dr. Kim Knesting is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department
What is your educational background?
I have a PhD in Educational Psychology with an emphasis in School Psychology. I earned my PhD from Indiana University. Because my undergraduate degree was in German Literature and Language, I studied psychology at the University of Minnesota for a year before beginning my coursework in school psychology.
What courses do you teach at UW-Whitewater?
I teach undergraduate courses in Introductory Psychology, Psychology of Women, and a course called Field Training in Psychology- it’s a class where students have a field placement for four hours a week, and then we meet for two hours a week. I also teach graduate courses in our school psychology program in foundations in the field, in cognitive behavioral therapies, and behavioral therapies.
What are your research interests?
My primary research interest is in looking at how better to support students who are at risk for dropping out of high school- so looking at how we can support their persistence. And that has begun to focus more and more on how it is that we can communicate caring and belonging to students who often times don’t have that sense or that feeling at their school. We are looking at how to help teachers better do this. I also look at how schools support sexual minority youth, specifically looking at the support teachers need in order to provide that support to students in their classrooms and hallways at school.
How long have you been teaching at UW-Whitewater?
This is my fourth year at Whitewater.
What inspired you to become a professor?
To be honest, I was really torn. When I was finishing up my internship for my doctorate degree, I was applying to jobs both as a school psychology practitioner- so working in schools, as well as faculty positions. The faculty position came through with an offer first, so I accepted it. Since then, I have really come to love teaching and working with students.
What do you like most about teaching?
I like the one-on-one interactions with students- I like trying to help them figure things out, help them think about something differently, or expose them to a new idea.
What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?
I have a wonderful department- really supportive colleagues. I think there seems to be a relatively positive energy among faculty about trying to do things better and improving- yet understanding that sometimes we do the best that we can, and that is the best that we can do. That support really makes a difference.
What are some of your interests outside of teaching?
Traveling. We have been working on a huge house project since we moved to Wisconsin, so sanding and painting and pounding and nailing and doing those types of things. I’m a new mom, so that is also taking up lots of my time. I have a little girl, and she’s five months old.
What’s your favorite movie?
Off the top of my head, I would probably have to say The Princess Bride.
Who inspires you and why?
When I was in graduate school I had a professor, and when I started to think about possibly pursuing a career in academia, she became my mentor. She still is in many, many ways; from just little things- like how she would approach handling a conflict with a student, to how she makes career decisions, how she handles being a mom, faculty member, and all of that. She is always a guide in the back of my mind about how she would handle a situation or what she might suggest I do in a situation.