Faculty Focus: Lisa Poole

Northeast State shines the spotlight on current faculty members making a difference in the lives of students. Associate Professor Lisa L. Poole teaches in the Psychology program at Northeast State. She earned bachelor’s degrees in English and Mass Communications at Carson-Newman University. She earned her master’s of Education degree from East Tennessee State University.

Why did teaching appeal to you as a career?

Well, teaching runs in my family starting with my great-grandfather who taught in a one-room schoolhouse. My dad was a coach, principal, and Director of Secondary Education. However, I majored in English and Mass Communication in college. I was going to be the next Barbara Walters! I actually was offered a job at a television station out of college, but I could not afford, based on the starting salary, to move to that city, so I started reviewing my career options. My mother taught psychology and my brother taught psychology so that discipline became a strong influence on my career path.

How did you come to join the faculty at Northeast State?

While I was getting my master’s at ETSU, I applied for and was hired as a part-time tutor coordinator in Student Services. After receiving my master’s degree, I was hired, by Dr. Chris Lefler, as a counselor in Developmental Studies.  After deciding to start a family, I left full-time work here but continued as an adjunct instructor. After my youngest son started school, a full-time psychology instructor position opened so I applied and got the job. I also had experience as an elementary school guidance counselor, but once I taught my first college class I was hooked.

Lisa Poole
Lisa Poole

What should college students hope to gain if they are considering a Psychology major or taking psychology classes?

Understanding psychology help can enhance their life experiences. I teach General Psychology, Social Psychology, and Lifespan Psychology. We engage in several social experiments ranging from the “elevator experiment” where students face the back of the elevator and measure the reactions of people when the doors open. The idea is getting the student into a learning experience to better understand behavior.

How do psychology classes benefit overall learning?

In anything you do, as well as a career, you need an understanding of people and human behavior. There are lots of disciplines, beyond the area of just psychology, that would benefit having an understanding of behavior and mental processes.  Part of my job is helping students develop critical thinking skills and prioritize their information they are studying.

How does the study of Psychology program help students transition from the classroom to the “real world”?

There are several excellent classes we offer to help students studying business, social work, education. I think it is a valuable tool for everyone to have. Every program at Northeast State wants the student to succeed. Student success is what we are striving to achieve and not only in the classroom. We want them to think about the world and understand how to make sound decisions as students and in life.


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