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For Dvorak, creativity goes beyond the classroom

Troy Dvorak teachingThe faint sound of heavy metal music plays in the background as Troy Dvorak, psychology faculty at MCTC, shares his passion for teaching at the College. He’s always had a desire to help people and now combines his strong psychology background with a range of techniques to empower his students to find the keys to their success.

Born in Richfield, MN, Troy actually grew up in Canada and attended Lakehead University earning a master’s degree in psychology. After graduation, he dove into his field, serving as a psychometrist at the Lakehead Regional Family Centre (now Children’s Centre Thunder Bay) doing psychological assessments with children, teens and families. After several years in his field, Troy moved back to Minnesota to be close to his sister and newborn niece (his Goddaughter).

Troy’s career in academia began shortly after he moved to the States. He spent time teaching at Metro State, Rasmussen College, Hennepin Tech, Inver Hills and MCTC. He now teaches exclusively at MCTC. While teaching, he became keenly aware there were psychological keys (non-academic factors) that help students succeed.

Troy Dvorak with students After an extensive review of the literature, his ideas came to fruition in his book, Psychological Keys to Student Success. The keys Troy identified are: beliefs, attributions, achievement goals, self-efficacy, metacognition, self-regulated learning, avoiding thinking errors and culture. "The book was designed and written for students who can benefit from improving both studying and thinking skills," said Troy. "It will help college students learn how to learn."

"My book was a labor of love and I’m appreciative of the support I receive from the faculty and administrators at MCTC, not to mention the students who I learn from daily. I owe them all a debt of gratitude," said Troy.

Troy believes that the diversity at MCTC requires faculty to be better teachers who allow students to inform our teaching practice. He appreciates the humility in not knowing everything and the opportunity to collaborate with his students. "We have the opportunity to empower people from many walks of life and to do this, we must be creative in our process."

Troy’s creativity and desire to reach more students has expanded beyond the classroom and his book. Beginning in the fall 2016 semester, Troy began using social media to inform students and educators about student success, engagement, and retention. When you connect, you’ll find tips and tools about teaching and learning. On Twitter and Facebook, he is the RockinPsychProf. Visit his website psychologyrocks.com.

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