“Best professor” as voted by students addresses financial struggles

Psychology instructor says she hopes to give students genuine support



Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor of psychology, shares her care for reducing the cost of her classes through the use of cheap or free materials on March 21 at Johnson Tower.

NAPHTALI CALLES, Evergreen reporter

WSU psychology professor Carrie Cuttler has a passion for lecturing and supportive teaching philosophy.

Cuttler was voted best professor for the 2019 Student Choice Awards by students.

“My teaching philosophy is to try and be really compassionate and understanding of my students’ struggles,” Cuttler said. “Particularly their financial struggles and the high levels of stress that many of them face.”

She offers Open Educational Resources (OER) in her course. Psych 333 is zero cost through the help from learning grants that gave Cuttler the ability to create and edit open textbooks for her students.

“I was in her abnormal psychology class my freshman year and loved the way she taught,” said Kimberly Chapin, WSU junior psychology and sociology double major. “Her course is one of the hardest courses in the department of psychology, but you learn how to be detail-oriented and accountable, which has helped me through my academic career.”

Aside from teaching, Cuttler researches the health effects of cannabis. She focuses on the mental and physical aspects of the potential benefits and detriments of cannabis use.

“I use a lot of examples from my cannabis research in the classroom and my students enjoy that,” Cuttler said.

Cuttler said she hopes to provide support for her students and understand their circumstance. She said she is honored she was nominated for the award.

“With students spending an average of $700 per year on textbooks, I’m really sensitive to student’s financial struggles,” Cuttler said. “I think I was voted because of the use of OER in my courses. It proves to them that I care about their personal well-being, financially and emotionally.”

Her students describe her as kind-hearted and supportive, thanks to the use of OER in her classroom and flexible office hours.

“Anyone who has met her knows that she just radiates powerful energy,” Chapin said. “She is a woman in academia doing it all. She’s so confident in her ability when teaching and knows what she is doing and does it well.”

Cuttler said she is fortunate to teach abnormal psychology because it is an interesting topic, and she loves lecturing in front of a big class.

“I think it is very important to love what you do, and I think all my students can achieve what they want to do through persistence, hard work and dedication,” Cuttler said.

Chapin said Cuttler has a good sense of humor and treats the topics she teaches with respect, while simultaneously bringing levity to them.

“Depression and anxiety are very high among college students, so she’s really understanding that her students may be going through symptoms of those struggles,” Chapin said. “She’s really good at providing support to all of her students, so they can succeed.”