Daniel Calcagnetti

Associate Professor of Experimental Psychology, Maxwell-Becton College of Arts

If you have arrived at this site to learn more about Dr. Calcagnetti, you have found the right web page!
      Below, you will find a personal statement of my teaching philosophy.
Personal Statement Regarding my Philosophy of Science and Teaching
After earning my PhD, I worked as a post-doc at Dartmouth College and then two medical schools (Emory University School of Medicine and The Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine). I enjoy teaching students with the specific career goal focused on reducing human suffering. To make a lasting impact in reducing human suffering, students must acquire a background and training in the appropriate use statistical tools for data analyses and research design methods to conduct and interpret experiments. These skills are essential for research and the practice or teaching of science.
My skills include behavioral techniques to prepare researchers for training in Neuropharmacology approaches to understand brain function in general and specifically to help develop medicines to treat drug addition and mental illnesses. My training to become a Psychologist with a focus in Behavioral Neuroscience-Neuropharmacology, a researcher and a teacher, was influenced by many mentors. I owe thanks to Drs. Richmond E.Johnson, Lothar Schroeder, Frederick Mc Connell, Larry D. Reid, John Koller, John Schumacher, Michael Zenzen, James Flynn, Jay Effran, Mike Fanselow, John Jalowiec, Allen Cowen Martin Adler, David Margules, Martin Schechter and Chef Santo J. Calcagnetti. Each of these individuals has contributed to my teaching style and, collectively, my style reflects their models of instruction and ability to interact with students. In essence, I think one might conclude that I enter the classroom with a unique teaching strategy as I draw from and employ the skills of all of my mentors. Their efforts serve as my motivation to give students the best instruction I am capable of providing.
      The lessons that I carry into every classroom start with communicating an enthusiasm about the learning process in general and the knowledge database of psychology in particular. I set challenging performance goals for myself and for my students because I am committed to teaching as a profession. I have a positive attitude about a students' ability to learn. I see students as individuals operating in a broader perspective beyond the classroom. I hope to provide students with skills that can be applied outside the classroom or laboratory to help them solve real life problems for themselves and others.
      I am not so presumptuous as to believe that I can teach a single student anything. I believe that it is the students' responsibility to learn, what I can do is to create a climate conductive to learning. As a communicator, I strive to present ideas clearly and in various levels of description to aid the understanding of students that have a wide range of learning and study skills. I accomplish this task by listening to what students say and by encouraging questions. In this way I stay responsive to student needs.
      I feel an instructor has to earn the respect of students. My foremost concern is to earn the respect of my students by my personal model of professional behavior. I reinforce behavior in my classroom that reflects the utmost integrity, ethical and moral conduct. I do not tolerate disrespect or violations of the honor code. I state this in my syllabi, students realize that I am serious when I explain the high ethical conduct expected of every potential psychologist whom may eventually care for persons that are injured, mentally ill or traumatized. I practice nine rules of conduct that my students appreciate:

      1) I give corrective feedback promptly.
      2) I tell students when they do something right.
      3) I am fair in evaluations of student progress
      4) I encourage students to share their creativity and diverse talents in class
      5) I am available to students for questions, reviews and advising
      6) I make every effort to integrate current events subject matter in class material
      7) I provide a balanced presentation of differing viewpoints and I urge students to draw their own conclusions.
      8) I show up for class on time, prepared with demonstrations and organized class notes.
      9) I provide reviews prior to exams and I have class notes available in notebook form,
      My mentors taught me these values and more. I was most encouraged by Rick Johnson to become knowledgeable about how students learn. He convinced me of the value of recognizing four distinct learning styles. I understand that some students learn best by reflective examination of class material, other students learn best by observing demonstrations, a few students can learn by asking them how it would feel to be exposed to new contexts and many students learn best by doing rather than merely hearing about new material. Thus, I attempt to address these four learning styles (reflecting, observing, feeling and doing) in my classroom presentations. One goal in my classes is to make the investment of student time and effort worth the cost of tuition. Thus, I take every opportunity to stimulate their intellectual curiosity, encourage critical thinking and provide cooperative learning opportunities.
      It has taken me years to fully appreciate the value of the educational experience my mentors, starting with Rick Johnson, provided by example every day in their classes. I feel that much of what I have learned about teaching students was not gained by reading professional journal articles, attending teaching seminars or professional meetings. I simply teach students how I have been taught and that naturally reflects the teaching ideals of my mentors. In short, I aspire to provide the high quality of teaching that my mentors have realized. Lastly, I still recall the spark for the flame of teaching that burns within me as provided by Eastern Philosophy Professor, Dr. John Koller. John advised me: "Danny, guide your will to teach according to the last words of Siddhartha Guatama; Within the light of wisdom, destroy the darkness of ignorance."

     One current interest includes defining the new integral studies approach to behavior I call: Neurocuisine (and, no it is NOT about eating brains). I have studied brain function via various perspectives (including Physiological psychology, Sensation & Perception, general and molecular Pharmacology, Psychopharmacology, Neuropharmacology, Neurotoxicology, Behavior genetics and Behavioral neuroscience). Over all the years, I have never lost my passion and appreciation of eating new foods, cooking for my family and creating new recipes. It should be no surprise then that my overall training so appropriately brings me to coin the term Neurocuisine as an approach to study how brain functions underlie food selection, sensation, perception and enjoyment (reward, Positive Psychology). How does one define Neurocuisine? Neuro is the prefix pertaining to brain or central nervous system and Cuisine is what happens in the kitchen. When the two are put together we have a rather novel combination and approach for us to study how, guided by our nervous system, humans behave individually, socially, culturally and perhaps in a wider integral fashion. After all, what you eat sustains life and becomes part of you after stimulating waves of sensory systems. Eating (Dining) like a few other human activities, is so integral to our day-to-day existence (this side of breathing and sleeping).

     And, what is a better way to learn about the brain than by sampling the best of a variety of Global Cuisines? Given an experiential lab course component (Yes, evening dinners are served!), we will sample the essence of cuisine items from England, France, Italy, India, Lebanon, Thailand, Japan, and regional United States (ex. Shrimp Casino, French Onion Soup, Caesar Salad, Waldorf salad, Beef Tenderloin Wellington, Bearnaise Sauce, Orange Hollandaise sauce, Chicken Cordon Bleu, King Crab Legs, Rice Pilaf, Double baked yam potato boats, Pear-Butternut Squash soup, Breaded Eggplant Parmigiana, Vindaloo & Tandoori Chicken, Chutneys, Szechuan chicken, Dim Sum brown sugar pork, Butternut Squash soup, Babaganoush, Thai Red, Yellow and green curries, Jasmine rice, Spicy Peanut Satay sauce, Banana's Foster and Cherries Jubilee Cheesecake). These and other dishes will serve to highlight and illustrate principles of contrasting and complementary sensory manipulations chefs know so well as well as how the observation of preparation enhances the anticipation and the savoring of food... New combinations and recipes are being added...Bon Appetite! My CURRENT email is Daniel@fdu.edu Dr. C

Short Abstract