A Talk with Evening Credit Psychology Instructor, Dr. Michael Freedman
Programs: Evening Credit
Dr. Michael Freedman is a clinical psychologist with a PhD from CU Boulder. He has been in private practice in Boulder for over 25 years helping adults, children and teens, couples, and families with problems in living their fullest lives. He is also a long-time Evening Credit instructor who recently shared his experience teaching classes for Continuing Education.
How long have you taught with Continuing Education?
I started teaching for Continuing Education in 1986 and my first course was General Psychology (PSYC 1001). I plan to teach that same course in the evening this fall. I also teach main campus classes for the Psychology Department.
My attitude throughout my teaching career has been, if I ever don’t enjoy it—or if I get bad reviews from my students—I will stop doing it. I only want to teach as long as my students and I are getting something out of the experience.
How does your private practice influence your teaching?
Well, I practice psychology by day and teach it at night. The two experiences go together well. I am able to bring real-world examples of the topics we are learning in class to my students, which they enjoy and benefit from.
What do you love most about your evening classes?
I enjoy teaching evening classes because they are smaller, usually less than 30 students. The General Psychology class offered during the day on main campus has hundreds of students in a lecture hall. There are too many students to allow for much engagement. My evening classes include some lectures, but more often involve group discussions using current events to illustrate the psychology principles we are learning that week.
The backgrounds of my evening students are also more diverse than the large main campus sections. I have undergraduate students, nondegree students, and career changers. For example, I had a student who was the CFO for a local company—with an MBA—who wanted to learn about psychology. I’ve had students who wanted to apply the course material to their work or personal relationships. I’ve had 19-year olds who left college early because they weren’t prepared but are now finding a way to get back into school to finish their degrees. They all come together in my evening classes and find a way to engage and help each other.
The mix of students and the smaller class format means we have great conversations about the topics. I like exposing students to the field of psychology and having them bring something of their own background to the discussion. Psychology is a topic that affects everyone. I enjoy helping students understand it whether they go into the field or not; knowledge of psychology will help them pursue more in their own lives.
Why is evening an important format for students?
The evening meeting time allows students to fit class into their schedule, especially for those people seeking career advancement. Working professionals and parents can work during the day and take classes in the evening. The fact that my evening classes meet only once a week is also a benefit; we can knock out the material in one sitting. I think that is a big deal for students, both traditional and nontraditional alike.
Do you have any advice for students interested in taking evening classes?
Some people worry about being tired after an evening class, but they shouldn’t; most students feel more energized at the end of the night, not less so. You tend to be more energized about your life.
For my General Psychology class, most anyone who tries can be successful. The number one key is to show up for class. Mine is not a class that you can just read the textbook and get a good grade, but I tell the students what I want them to know. In the working world, you mostly know in advance what you need to know when you are being tested. I model that in my classes.
For the most part, my class is fun to attend. Or, if it isn’t fun, it’s at least interesting. It’s not drudgery. There is usually something in the material that every person can related to.
Learn more about Dr. Freedman’s General Psychology class and how to enroll on the course page.