1999 Wine Award
Scott Geller's caring, dedication, talent, and energy have helped him earn just about every teaching award offered at Virginia Tech, including, this year, the Wine Award for Teaching Excellence.
Geller has taught at Virginia Tech for 30 years, receives extraordinarily high evaluations from students even in classes with 500 students, and "teaches from the heart," as one student wrote. He also involves both undergraduate and graduate students in his research. Geller has published 141 research articles and 15 book chapters with students as co-authors. Of his 827 professional presentations, 26 percent have student coauthors.
"The inclusion of students in the research process is a time-consuming, but unquestionably important part of a university education—allowing students to see the implication of their knowledge and ideas," said Roseanne Foti, associate professor of psychology.
Kent E. Glindemann has worked with Geller for 12 years, as both masters' and Ph.D. student and now as research associate. "I have learned how to be a professional under his guidance," Glindemann said. "He has taught me how to be a psychologist, a scientist, a teacher, and a leader. He has helped me reach my potential. I have witnessed firsthand the profound impact he has had on numerous students' lives…. This year alone over 50 undergraduate students and six graduate students will get to work closely with him in the Center for Applied Behavior Systems (of which he is the founder and director), learning how to develop, implement, and disseminate important scientific research."
Another research associate wrote that "Dr. Geller has devoted his life to improving the quality of life in the surrounding community through behavior-based safety research. He has researched and designed interventions concerning seat-belt use, pedestrian safety, industry safety, and has been one of the principal researchers in the effort to promote responsible alcohol consumption among college students."
Geller is a pioneer in the application of behavioral science to solve safety, health, and environmental-protection problems in corporate and community settings. He believes that "involving students in community-service research that puts knowledge to work enables students to experience the value of helping others." He hopes the lessons they experience will be "the start of a lifetime of actively caring behaviors and attitudes."
Geller is the author of several books, including The Psychology of Safety, Working Safe, Understanding Behavior-Based Safety, Beyond Safety Accountability: How to Increase Personal Responsibility, and Building Successful Safety Teams. Since 1987, the Center for Applied Behavior Systems has procured $2,778,558 for research from such agencies as the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of Energy and such corporations as Exxon Chemical Co. and Travelers Insurance Co.