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DIALOGUE 17

[00:07:03] IN: NSSR has historically been a school with a heterodox approach to academics. Can you talk a little bit about how that approach filters into both your teaching and your research here? [00:07:24] WD: Our department is one of the most heterodox in its approach to studying and teaching psychology. In my lab, we’re a combination of heterodox in philosophy and orthodox in method. We do very strict quantitative research that is fairly connected to a positivist tradition. We conduct it in a way that is attentive to deconstructing some of the assumptions around who can be included in research and what conclusions can be drawn from research. For example, in understanding the role of biology and behavior, we’re very, very cautious about saying something is caused by the brain or being overly deterministic. A lot of our work is pretty attentive to issues of representation and research and whose voice gets heard.

[00:09:47] IN: What would you tell prospective students about the Clinical Psychology program and NSSR? [00:09:59] WD: The Clinical Psychology program in particular and NSSR as a whole are really an interesting balance between innovation and a connection to history. In my graduate training, we had a complete disconnection from a lot of what was done before us. At The New School, one area where we excel is our intellectual history and knowing our trajectory. Here we talk about the same idea from multiple perspectives. I work with trauma. There are people in sociology and anthropology and politics and philosophy who are all doing work with trauma. Yet at another university, I wouldn’t know any of them. Our approach is pretty unusual. Additionally, I think most of the faculty here are very open to student ideas and to being shaped by their students. I mentioned earlier that I study cognition, emotion, social behavior, and physiology. That covers a whole lot of territory. That, in part, is because my students’ interests are broad. Most of the faculty here do a lot of integrating across disciplines that otherwise might be disparate. Things that are often not talked about together—politics and cognition or emotion and combat, for example— get brought together here.

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serious about the work. I also try not to take more students into my lab at the master’s level than I can support continuing into the PhD. Right now, everyone who wanted to pursue a PhD has gotten either into our PhD program or another PhD program from our master’s program. In my work, we have lab meetings—that’s our intellectual church—where we all present our ideas, read about other ideas, and also workshop our papers that we’re trying to produce. Then, we have weekly individual meetings with the grad students. In master’s students’ first year, they work on group projects. Then in their second year in the master’s program, and moving forward into the PhD, students develop their own projects that they have intellectually spearheaded and designed. We have one rule in the lab: Everyone has to present his or her work in a conference at least twice a year. We also try to get each student to co-author a paper by the end of his or her first year in the lab.

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