A memorable teacher can be hard to find. But according to her students, Lisa Diamond, a U psychology professor, is one of those who stands out.
Diamond has been teaching classes, such as Psychology of Love and the Psychology of Gender, at the U since 1999. She is also nationally known for her work on female sexuality and her 2008 book Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire.
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Anna Thorn, a senior in sociology, is currently in Psychology of Gender and Sexual Orientation. She first heard about Diamond’s classes from friends.
“My friends said that she would blow my mind in ways it’d never been blown before,” Thorn said.
Thorn said since the semester is new, she can’t pick the most interesting thing she’s learned yet, but she enjoys the way Diamond deconstructs concepts.
Katie Christensen, a junior in gender studies, has taken two classes from Diamond and is in one of her labs analyzing interviews.
“She would constantly make you question what you thought you already knew,” Christensen said. “Every time I would go in there, my idea about gender and sexuality would be completely destroyed and then rebuilt.”
Diamond once appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss women who leave their husbands for other women. Christensen said the Oprah appearance didn’t affect her opinion of Diamond, but she likes that the show hosted her.
“To bring her research to a common audience, to an Oprah audience, is amazing,” Christensen said. “It’s very difficult to get people to pay attention to scientific research and for her to find a way to do that and bring it into the public eye is big.”
Diamond’s research focuses on the nature and development of affectional bonds and homosexuality. Her work looks at psychological, biological and behavioral processes that underlie intimate relationships and their influence on emotional experience during different stages of life. Diamond could not be reached for comment.
“I think it is a great opportunity to have her teach at the U,” Thorn said. “She brings credibility to the softer sciences when the U is very focused on ‘harder’ sciences.”
Christensen said she admires that Diamond takes the time to answer questions in her auditorium classes. She said she also likes how animated and open Diamond is during her lectures and that she uses personal experiences as examples.
She said taking a gender studies course is a good idea for anyone, and Diamond is a good choice for a professor.
Thorn said she finds Diamond approachable because of the way she jokes around in class, but “could see her intelligence [coming] across as intimidating.” But Christensen said if students tried to approach Diamond they would find she is not distant.
“She’s very approachable,” she said, “so anyone who’s worried about going into a class with only vague knowledge will have her as a resource to calmly explain things to them.”