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MU Professor Awarded 2012 Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence

April 9th, 2012

Story Contact: Timothy Wall, 573-882-3346,

By Jerett Rion

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri Chancellor Brady Deaton and Commerce Bank Chairman Jim Schatz of Commerce Bank today awarded one of the 2012 William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence to Ines Segert, an assistant teaching professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science and the associate director of the MU Honors College.

Deaton, Schatz and a group of professors, administrators and staff surprised Segert by honoring her with the Fellowship, which includes a $10,000 check. Kemper Fellowships are awarded to five outstanding teachers at the University of Missouri each year.

The William T. Kemper Fellowships for Teaching Excellence were established in 1991 with a $500,000 gift. Kemper, a 1926 MU graduate, was a well-known civic leader in Kansas City until his death in 1989. His 52-year career in banking included top positions at banks in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. Commerce Bank manages the trust fund.

Ines Segert

Ines Segert is the associate director of the MU Honors College and has been a faculty member in the psychology department since 1990. She has taught and advised thousands of undergraduates, mentored graduate students, and worked tirelessly with other faculty to improve education at MU. Her classes, which range from seminars of 20 students to lectures of nearly 500, examine complex and controversial topics and give students the tools they need to be informed citizens on current issues. Her students and fellow faculty members say she is an avid reader, making sure that her students are familiar with the latest developments in the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and serving as an example of a lifelong learner.

It also is important to Segert to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom structure, which she encourages by organizing field trips, inviting guest speakers and tying classwork in with current events.

“Dr. Segert is a woman of detail, which also makes her an exemplary teacher,” said Nancy West, a professor of English and director of the MU Honors College. “Even in a class of 500 students, she manages to learn all of her students names in a few weeks.”

Through the course of her career, Segert has influenced students with her personal approach. She uses a range of strategies to teach her classes, depending on their size. In smaller classes, Segert builds individual relationships with students by using examples relevant to each individual. In her larger classes, she makes a personal connection with every student by getting to know them and handing out candy before exams. Segert often uses examples from her personal life to illustrate her own struggles with reconciling modern psychology to simple human nature.

“Dr. Segert has restored my confidence in the education system.” Evan Townsend, a former student, said. “She is an expert in education, but also an expert of teaching and of learning, of speaking and of listening. She is an expert on students.”

Segert received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and English from Rutgers University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology and neuroscience from Princeton University.