ROE R. Cross Distinguished Professor
1999 - Ken Weaver
When Dr. Ken Weaver was selected for the Excellence in Service Award at Emporia State University, nominators used words like thoughtful, unselfish, kind hearted, competent, and thorough.
Weaver said during his award acceptance that he believes service encourages others toward excellence, complements teaching and research, contributes to productivity, and connects the server to community and family. That philosophy has propelled him to great achievements for Emporia State and the community.
Having joined Emporia State in 1986, he has risen to Dean of The Teachers College and Professor of Psychology. He received his BS in Biology and M.Ed in Secondary Science Education from the University of South Carolina and Ph.D in Educational Psychology from Columbia University. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural public health education for two years in the Philippines and a 7th- and 8th-grade science teacher for five years in his hometown in South Carolina.
Weaver’s expectations for his students are varied.
“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary,” he says. “Students are in my class to own rather than lease the content through cognitive skill development.”
He plans his courses to be a transformative experience for all his students with their future success in whatever endeavor as the ultimate assessment of his teaching effectiveness.
Weaver grew up in Aiken, South Carolina, a product of an outstanding public school system and a loving family. He is a firm advocate for the critical and central importance of quality public education to our society, academically challenging all students to learn, providing the necessary supports to ensure their success, and demonstrating frequently that they are safe, cared for, and valued.
Weaver recalls how integration of black and white students started when he was in the 9th grade, and he taught for five years at a middle school where students of color were the majority. Having grown up and taught in South Carolina, having served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in a small fishing village in the Philippines for two years, traveling through Asia for six months, living in New York City for five years, and living and working in Kansas for 27 years, Weaver says “culture is a lens through which I process much of what I encounter.”
He has served in many leadership positions on a variety of national and regional committees and professional organizations, most notably the American Psychological Association.
Aside from his quest for teaching and administrative excellence, Weaver’s passion is understanding how high school psychology teachers are credentialed in states across the nation.
“Every state sets different expectations, and few states have a separate endorsement for psychology,” he explains. “This means that the high school course defined by the National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula is taught by teachers with a variety of content preparation backgrounds. This is not healthy for the entry-level course in psychological science.”
To this end, Weaver chaired the working group that developed national guidelines for preparing high school psychology teachers. He involves students in all phases of his research both to give them “hands on” experience in data collection/analysis/interpretation and to have capable assistance in conducting the investigations.