Faculty Feature: Janina Jolley of psychology

Dr. Janina Jolley of the Psychology Department is known as a “demanding professor,” she says.

Jolley grew up in Southern California and attended California State University, Dominguez Hills for her undergraduate degree in Human Studies, and continued to Ohio State University for her doctorate, majoring in psychology.

She said she chose to go to a California state university because they were free at the time, and also because they had an experimental college on campus that allowed students to design their own program.

“The experience was superior because my largest class was 12 [students],” she said.

The west coast native chose to teach at Clarion University because at the time, the job market was tight; she said there were only 91 applicants.

The area she chose to study, which is development psych, had two options after graduation: either primarily do research or teaching.

“Teaching is more important because of the mentors I had. When someone believed in you, you worked harder,” she said.

Jolley teachers four classes per semester. This semester her classes include two sections of developmental psychology, adolescents and emerging adulthood and adulthood and aging.

Setting goals for herself at the start of a semester, Jolley said, is intrinsic to her.

She said, “I am updating lectures that I have been working on for 31 years. I will still put 20 hours a week to developing my classes.”

Jolley wants her students to think through the material as they are learning it instead of just regurgitating it back. The goal she sets for her students at the beginning of every semester is for them to apply critical thinking skills through what they are learning.

Her favorite aspect of teaching is, “When you can help someone discover they can do something more than they thought they could. Seeing that light bulb go off is very rewarding.”

Jolley loves music. She has been learning how to play guitar for the last two years. She originally started her college education as a music major.

“Music majors take a lot of work to be a good musician, but I love music,” she said.

As an equestrian, Jolley likes to cowboy dressage, which is focusing on horses dancing to music, or how they move to the music.

Jolley said her inspiration throughout her life was her grandfather. He, too, had a doctorate degree, which he received in the 1920s after his widowed mother continued to keep their farm up and running, and sent all her children, including the women to college.

She said, “I think the perseverance is what I received from that side of the family.”

Jolley met her husband, Dr. Mark Mitchell, in graduate school. He is also a professor in the psychology department. The two had a commuter marriage for the first seven years of their marriage until they both found jobs at Clarion, because they were having trouble getting jobs together.

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