2016 Silver Circle winner Marisha Humphries
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
As a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in children, Marisha Humphries’ background brings an important element to teaching that is often lacking in education.
Prior to coming to UIC, “I would often notice that many of the teachers I worked with struggled with understanding the role of child development in teaching,” said Humphries, associate professor of educational psychology. “I would often say to myself, if I could just teach teachers about how child development impacts their work, it would make such a difference in the lives of the children in their classroom.”
Humphries thought working in the College of Education was a perfect fit for her to be able to conduct school-based research and work with future and current teachers on child development and social emotional competence.
As an educator, Humphries said she wants to make traditional developmental research relevant and applicable to urban and minority populations.
“The overwhelming majority of the developmental literature does not include urban or minority children and families unless the work is focused on negative outcomes or pathology,” she said. “This reinforces stereotypes and biases of urban and minority children and families.”
Humphries also makes sure that her students are exposed to literature that examines urban and minority populations that are developing both normally and positively.
“If you only study problems and pathology for particular groups of people, you never know what healthy development looks like for the group,” she said.
Humphries’ teaching reflects the experiences of her students. “It’s so rewarding when students are able to think about the material more critically and apply it to a situation or event they have been thinking about or have experienced,” she said.