The Heights

Updated: December 19, 2016


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Foothill students name psychology instructor Eta Lin the most transfer friendly for 2016

More than 300 Foothill students who are bound for colleges and universities across the globe this fall gathered together with family and friends at the college’ s annual Transfer Achievement Celebration in June to celebrate their transfer successes, and applaud the faculty and staff who supported them throughout their Foothill experience.

One of the highlights of the celebration dinner was the presentation of the 2016 Transfer-Friendly Instructor Award to Foothill College Psychology Instructor Eta Lin, Ph.D. Nominated for the award entirely by students, Lin’s dedication and tireless commitment to inspiring students to achieve and succeed in the classroom and in their lives made her the perfect recipient of the award.

“I am so honored, thrilled, and humbled to have received the Transfer-Friendly Instructor Award,” Lin says. “My mission in education is to help my students achieve their goals, and I hope that this award is an indicator that I’m doing a good job. As community college faculty members, we have a responsibility to go beyond the classroom environment to guide our students in attaining their personal and professional goals.”

Lin’s students shared inspirational remarks that illustrated just how much she encourages and supports their success. Some also said that Lin’s empathy and professionalism made her an outstanding student advocate and a great teacher. “Eta Lin is truly the epitome of what every instructor should emulate,” one student nominator wrote. “An outstanding, deeply committed, and genuinely invested professor who exemplifies student-centered learning, Dr. Lin gives not only her valuable time and highly skilled guidance and expertise, but she imparts on students a passion for learning and academia. I am inspired, in awe, and forever changed by her instruction, mentorship, and unwavering compassion. I count myself lucky to have had such a valuable, brilliant, devoted, and inspiring academician guide me throughout my Foothill College career. I owe deep gratitude and thanks to Dr. Lin, as she is a primary reason why I am fortunate to transfer to UC Berkeley. I am only one of the many students whose lives she has touched. A maverick in education, Eta Lin is a trailblazer who exemplifies the integral role of the professor-student relationship.”

A member of the Foothill faculty since 2007, Lin teaches online and in-person courses in psychology, honors psychology and independent research studies, all while embracing student success and supporting Foothill’s commitment to academic excellence through inclusion. The co-advisor to Foothill’s student-run Psychology Club, her energy and enthusiasm make her a favorite instructor among Foothill students.

“College can be an intimidating place for many students, so it’s very important to me to provide a nurturing, supportive, honest, and respectful learning environment,” she says. “One of the most difficult things for me to hear is a student say that he or she doesn’t have what it takes to be successful in college. Hearing this just breaks my heart. It also makes me determined to change these students’ mindsets about their academic success and ability to achieve the goals they set for themselves.”

The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, Lin’s parents nurtured her love of learning and her keen sense of curiosity. These traits would later lead her to academic and professional interests in psychology and human development. It’s also no surprise that one of Lin’s instructional goals to help her students develop their own lifelong love of learning, critical thinking and curiosity.

“I've had many wonderful instructors throughout my undergraduate and graduate studies,” she says. “However, I often reflect back on one of my undergraduate professors who was quite intimidating and very much the opposite of a nurturing instructor. On one occasion, I forced myself to meet with him during office hours to ask questions about the midterm exam. I thought that some of the questions were confusing. I remember my professor coldly telling me that if I had studied harder for his exam, then I would have understood the questions and marked the correct answers. I left his office feeling frustrated and dejected. Today, I’m very grateful to him because that experience helped to shape me into the instructor I am now. I never want my students to be intimidated. I want them to ask questions, be curious, feel comfortable sharing their concerns with me, and know that they will always be treated with dignity and respect. Always.”

One of Lin’s most rewarding experiences at Foothill is mentoring students with their research projects. “It’s so exciting when students take their projects one step further by submitting their proposals and presenting their findings at research conferences,” she says. “This is really an amazing experience for the students and for me.”

A popular instructor at Foothill, Lin has also served on numerous collegewide organizations, including the Academic Senate, Business & Social Sciences Division Curriculum Committee, and Asian Pacific Islander American Network Committee. She currently participates on the college’s Academic Integrity Committee and Business & Social Sciences Scholarship Committee, as well as the Stanford University Research Experience Program. In addition to managing her professional responsibilities, she is the mother of three active children, ages 11, 13 and 14, and resides in Capitola, all of which help her further empathize with students who must find that critical balance between academic studies, long commutes, and family and work responsibilities.

Lin, who considers it an honor to teach at Foothill, holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, master’s degree in social psychology and a doctorate in social psychology with an emphasis in human development, all from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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