Q&A with Blythe Duell

Blythe Duell. Blythe Duell, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, earned her PhD at WSU Pullman in 2008. After teaching at a small college in the south, she returned to her alma mater to teach and help train the next generation of community-engaged students.

What classes do you teach at WSU Pullman? 

This semester, I am teaching Human Sexuality (Psych/WGSS 230), Psychology of Gender (Psych/WGSS 324), and Degrees and Careers in Psychology (Psych 201) — that’s a total of over 600 students.

I feel so lucky to teach the human sexuality course, because we get to speak about important topics like communication, relationships, and consent. These topics will impact students’ lives, regardless of what they do after they graduate. Teaching is the best part of my job.

Tell us a little about your work with WSU colleagues.

I am currently working on a project with Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe, professor of psychology, and Diane Cook, professor of computer engineering—along with many others— to design an online application that would assist users with memory impairment in maintaining their independence through the use of an app.

My role in the research is to help design and test a web-based training program for the application.

In the past, this training was done [in-person] by a clinician, so by making it available on the web, we can greatly expand the number of people that could benefit from the information.

What brought you to WSU Pullman?

I am one of those people who came BACK to Pullman. I love the small-town experience, combined with university-level resources, the lack of commute, and the great schools and outdoor areas. After 10 years away, I found my way back home to Pullman.

How has COVID-19 changed how you teach?

I spent a considerable amount of time redesigning my courses when we were fully online. For example, I expanded the use of small group discussions led by undergraduate TAs in the human sexuality course, and I created brand new experiences, such as “Escape Breakout Rooms.

Our transition back to face-to-face has included so many new challenges (teaching in masks, using Canvas, new assignments to allow for more flexibility) that I haven’t been able to fully incorporate all that I learned from the online experience. Eventually, I hope that I’ll be able to teach a class that includes the best of both the face-to-face and online courses.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I once won a poker tournament in Las Vegas. It was a small prize, not enough to retire, but I like to think that my knowledge of statistics played a role.

Learn more about Blythe Duell’s research interests and publications and read about her experience with the LIFT fellowship.

Adapted from the WSU Pullman Facebook page #FacultyFriday feature.