"Leave no academic butt unkicked" is a favorite saying--or "Brewerism"--of Furman University psychology professor Charles Brewer, PhD, and a motto the education pioneer has observed far beyond his classroom. Nearly every nook of psychology education bears his stamp, fellow educators say.
In recognition of his contributions, Brewer will accept the 2008 Raymond D. Fowler Award at APA's 2008 Annual Convention in Boston. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to APA and psychology.
"Almost single-handedly, Charles is responsible for the establishment of a scholarly foundation for the teaching of psychology," says Auburn University psychology professor Bill Buskist, PhD, praising in particular Brewer's 12 years of editing the Div. 2 (Society for the Teaching of Psychology) journal Teaching of Psychology.
Academics also credit Brewer with shaping the undergraduate curriculum at the national level as 1979-81 president of the Council of Undergraduate Psychology Departments. He was also an organizer of the historic 1991 St. Mary's conference on undergraduate education in psychology and a member of APA's Board of Educational Affairs, Council of Representatives and Board of Directors. In 2003, the American Psychological Foundation named its annual teaching award after Brewer, noting that "Charles Brewer epitomizes what this award stands for."
Brewer is also a highly popular teacher, thanks to his self-deprecating wit, grace, rigorous standards and engaging teaching style.
"No matter what topic he talked about, it seemed like that was the most important thing in the world," recalls John Batson, PhD, a former Brewer student and Furman's current psychology chair. "If it weren't for him I wouldn't be where I am today."
Like Batson, more than 200 of Brewer's former students now have psychology doctorates--a staggering figure for a professor who teaches only undergraduates.
When asked about retirement, Brewer dismisses the idea with his usual flair. "I am not the retiring type," he says, "from employment or from being shy."