“Carletonizing” Harvard

Harvard students had a chance to sample a bit of Carleton University right on their Ivy League campus, and they wound up clamouring for more.

Dr. Brian Little, Carleton’s Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology, was named a favourite professor by Harvard’s graduating class of 2003.

The Harvard Yearbook Favourite Professor designation is a celebratory honour decided by a vote from graduating students. All 70 undergraduates who took his personality psychology course last spring gave him a perfect 5.0 rating. The course subsequently quadrupled in size to 260 this year.

“I believe that he earned one of the highest ratings that a Harvard professor has ever received,” says Adam Grant, a former student of Little’s who nominated him for the favourite professor designation.

“Brian Little is the most engaging, entertaining, and caring professor I have ever encountered,” shares Adam. “Working with him has been the most rewarding experience I have had at Harvard. I cannot even begin to explain the ways in which he has positively affected my life. His advice is impeccable, and he achieves the rare feat of being extraordinary in both his expertise and the extent to which he cares about his students.”

Over the past two years, Little has taught the spring (Carleton’s winter) term in the Department of Psychology at Harvard. Two years ago, he was selected to spend the 2000-01 academic year at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study as one of the first group of Radcliffe Fellows. This is a diverse and elite group of about 50 drawn from all disciplines.

“This just goes to show that Carleton’s teaching standards are on a par with the very best in the world,” says Little.

Little has taught psychology at Carleton University since the late 1970s. He was also Director of the Social Ecology Laboratory at the University. His research on personality and human development earned him a number of significant awards and honours including Carleton’s prestigious 1999 Marston LaFrance Research Fellowship and a national 3M Teaching Fellowship, given to professors who demonstrate exceptional leadership and commitment to the improvement of university teaching.

“I love Carleton and will be back there come June. In the meantime it has been wonderful to “Carletonize” Harvard,” Little says.

Interviewed recently on CBC-Ottawa’s, All in a Day, Little explains the roots of his success. “Carleton has placed an enormous emphasis upon excellent teaching, and it is simply, to me, second nature to aspire to teach with great passion, and that’s something that I think I exported from Carleton and brought down there.”

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