Faculty Profile: Landon Reid

Jaclyn Cohen

“One of the assumptions I make about my students is, it’s almost never a question of ability, but what students are willing to do,” Assistant Professor of Psychology Landon Reid said. Consequently, it is Reid’s desire to motivate his students to make the most of their Colgate experience. Reid graduated from Morehouse College, where he double majored in philosophy and psychology. He wanted to attend a liberal arts school like Morehouse because he felt that the education “fit my eclectic taste.” Reid went on to receive his Master’s and Doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focusing on social psychology and philosophy. “One of the common threads through all that I had been doing was an interest in race and racism, racial justice,” he said.After his sophomore year, Reid had the opportunity to intern on the Martin Luther King, Jr. papers project at Stanford University. “It’s a documentary history project which collects all of the history of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” he explained. “It was my first exposure to doing big time research.” It was during this experience that he met Clayborne Carson, a noted historian and editor of the project. “He said ‘all of us are consumers of knowledge, but there are very few producers of knowledge; I strongly encourage you to be a producer of knowledge,'” Reid said. “That changed my life.”Another of his mentors was Jocelyn Jackson, Director of the Honors Program at Morehouse. Reid recalled her advice: “Don’t forget to give back. Don’t just give back in the classroom, give back of yourself. Make the time to talk to students.” “It’s been really rewarding that I’ve been able to do that,” Reid said.It is this combination of research and interaction with students that attracted Reid to Colgate. “As much as research makes me very happy, you have to delay a lot of gratification when you’re a scholar,” he said. “When I can go into a classroom and a student doesn’t know something at 9:20 but they do at 10:10, that is immediately satisfying. Colgate’s emphasis on the importance of both was and remains a very attractive feature of the institution.”Reid said that one of his best experiences at Colgate was teaching a first-year seminar (FSEM) called “The Psychology of Oppression.” “I loved teaching that class,” he said. “An FSEM is part class, part camp.” Reid also cited mentoring students formally and informally as an important feature of his time here. “Being able to be someone that students can talk to has been especially rewarding,” he said. One of the ways Reid has been able to make these connections is through his role as faculty advisor to the African American Student Alliance (AASA).”It’s been a really exciting organization to get to know,” he said.Reid is also on the African, Latin, Asian and Native American (ALANA) Affairs Committee, which helps coordinate the ALANA Cultural Center and enhance cultural consciousness on campus. Reid also finds his time outside the classroom enjoyable. “I try to actively support a lot of evening events like banquets, lectures and student meetings; I try to be a presence outside of the classroom,” he said. “One of the things I enjoy about being at Colgate is the informal times, the things that aren’t necessarily scheduled. I think part of why you become a professor is you like to think about things and talk about things with other smart people. I get a chance to do that every day and that’s pretty amazing.”Reid hopes to promote this intellectual environment at Colgate.”We have a lot of smart people at one place, and people should be able to be unashamedly engaged and interested in things,” he said. “With all these smart people, people should be having incredible life-changing conversations every day, and I’d like to see more of that.”Reid feels it is his job as a professor to ensure that students are ready for the real world. “In the end,” he said, “we are here to help students get to a place where, whatever comes next, they feel competent and eager to excel wherever they find themselves.”