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College of Education and Allied Professions

Psychology professor lauded for teaching excellence

alvin malesky

Alvin Malesky

By Chaz Lilly

Western Carolina University professor Alvin Malesky has received the 2024 Award for Excellence in Teaching from the University of North Carolina Board of Governors.

Malesky is a professor in the College of Education and Allied Professions and has served as the psychology department head for nine years. He is a licensed psychologist in North Carolina and Virginia and has advanced training in the practice of forensic psychology.

“I have been very fortunate to have worked alongside gifted colleagues over the years and have been able to learn a tremendous amount about teaching from these individuals,” Malesky said. “I have also been fortunate to have had the support of the Coulter Faculty Commons for assistance in developing my classes. I feel strongly that these resources have made me a better teacher.”

Since 1993, the Board of Governors has annually chosen one tenured faculty member from each of the 17 UNC System schools to receive the award.

“These extraordinary faculty members have dedicated their lives to teaching and are committed to lifting up their students to become the next generation of leaders for North Carolina and the nation,” said UNC Board of Governors Chair Randy Ramsey. “We are grateful for their service and congratulate them on these awards.”

Each of the winners will receive a commemorative bronze medallion and a $12,500 cash prize.

Malesky’s current research interests deal with academic integrity violations in higher education. He has published and presented on the topic at national and international conferences. He has received several research and teaching awards over the past 18 years at WCU, including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

“I try to take risks in my teaching. Sometimes these risks pay off, other times, not so much. But I think the net result has been an improvement in my instruction,” Malesky said. “Bottom line is that I try to get students invested in their classes and think critically about the issues we are covering. I also try to incorporate real world situations and issues into the classroom as much as possible as well as integrate high impact practices in my teaching. Finally, I love what I do.  Hopefully that comes across to my students as well.”

Malesky received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Mason University, his master’s degree in counseling from the University of Southern Mississippi and his doctorate from the University of Memphis. He completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Federal Correctional Complex in Butner and his postdoctoral Forensic Fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Malesky also earned a master’s in business administration from WCU in 2016.

Malesky conducts pre-employment evaluations of law enforcement officers as well as testifies in court as an expert witness. He has also appeared as an expert on several television news shows where he addressed various psychological related topics.

His father was a diplomat and consequently Malesky grew up overseas. He values international travel and cross-cultural exchanges. He developed a travel course at WCU where students visit multiple countries in Europe during the summer to study World War II and the Holocaust. He is always looking for new educational opportunities and experiences for his students.

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