How our academics are building a brighter future: Dr David Lewis

Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology

At Murdoch University, we view building a brighter future as a collaboration between students and academics. Meet Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology from the School of Psychology.

For Dr David Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology at Murdoch University, a great university education extends far beyond textbook learning. It is an opportunity for a metamorphosis—a transformative experience in which students develop skills to make a real-world impact, see themselves as having the genuine potential to make such an impact, and apply those skills to effect positive change in society.

This is Dr Lewis’s story about how he’s helping build a brighter future, one student at a time.

David is a highly active researcher who supports the students he supervises to go on to achieve great things. David regularly publishes in the world’s top journals—and, under his supervision, so do his undergraduate students. His students’ achievements include producing highly cited Scopus-indexed publications, publishing first-authored papers in top-tier journals such as Frontiers in Psychology, and receiving prestigious awards such as the Australian Psychological Society Prize. 

I see research as a powerful teaching medium.”

Dr Lewis believes there’s more to being a great lecturer and, consequently, helping to build a brighter future for all.

“There are two facets of my approach to a university education that I would emphasise. The first facet is the idea of dissolving boundaries between different activities. For example, instead of thinking about teaching as one category of activity and research as another, I see research as a powerful teaching medium,” he said.

“The second facet is that of dropping the limitations that conventional labels can sometimes impose on us and our self-views. For example, students often come to me with a view of themselves as ‘just undergraduates’–a label that, for them, initially precludes them from seeing themselves as potential researchers with real-world impact. The research experiences I offer in my lab transform those students and their self-view. They emerge from my lab as full-fledged scientists who are already making a real-world impact even before they’ve completed their degrees.”

The goal is to see a metamorphosis in students. For students to be transformed into real-world scholars and applied scientists.”

This idea of thinking beyond labels can expand our thinking about the challenges of today’s world and solutions to them. For example, Dr Lewis encourages students to consider the issue of sustainability in a broad and expansive manner that includes but also extends beyond the issue of limited planetary resources. “If we think about sustainability as a broader concept, we recognise that there are many aspects of our current world that are unsustainable. One example is social media use in its current form. A central program of research in my laboratory is investigating the phenomenon of FoMO (fear of missing out) in order to mitigate the negative effects on mental health and psychological well-being associated with current patterns of social media use,” he said.

It’s these sorts of applications of psychology that make Dr Lewis’s research, teaching, and supervision invaluable to Murdoch students – and their careers.

Addressing the challenges of today’s – and tomorrow’s – world on a united front aligns with our University-wide strategy, Ngala Kwop Biddi, Building a Brighter Future Together. This is our shared purpose to change lives and society for the better whilst being an inclusive community where anyone can realise their potential. 

We are on a shared journey to a brighter future. 
Posted on:

19 Jan 2024

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