Psychology Professor Paulina Multhaupt loves empowering students by exposing them to new ideas, fighting stigma and challenging preconceived notions.
“Take what you know and set it aside for a little while,” says Multhaupt. “And, when you go back to it, you may take it all back. That may be what you embody, and that is fine. But, none of us can truly learn if we’re hanging on so tightly to what we already think we know, because there’s no room for growth if we’re doing that all the time.”
Multhaupt, married and a mother of two teenaged sons, obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Michigan State University, and her master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Eastern Michigan University. She started teaching at Macomb in 1999, and shares what she describes as “a kindred feeling with the College.” Both of her parents attended Macomb, and her siblings (who also graduated from MSU) took math courses on campus. After her husband accepted a local teaching position, the first thing she did was to apply at Macomb.
“I remember driving by and going, ‘I will work there, one day,’” relates Multhaupt. “I always knew I was going to be teaching at a community college.”
Nearly 20 years later, she appreciates just how little students have changed since she began. While others may make claims to the contrary, she hasn’t noticed a difference.
“You know who I have in my classes?” asks Multhaupt. “Hardworking students, who have multiple roles. They’re working. They’re going to school. They’re taking care of family.”
In addition to instructing, Multhaupt also serves on the committee and is a presenter for the SAFE @ Macomb program, which strives to make the College safer and more inclusive for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students and employees.
“I felt like I needed to be part of the discussion,” says Multhaupt. She was compelled to take action with fellow Psychology Professor Linda Bajdo, after hearing students tell homophobic jokes in the classroom. She’d respond, “You want to tell a joke? Find something funny that doesn’t offend anyone.”
Upon completing SAFE training, faculty and staff are given the option to become allies. They’re asked to respectfully challenge misinformation and heterosexist biases they encounter on campus. Befittingly, one of Multhaupt’s favorite things about teaching at Macomb is encouraging people to become more open-minded: “open to thinking about things differently, open to examining their current thoughts and ideas about something, open to putting to rest something that they’ve always believed in light of new information,” she says. “There’s so much excitement in that.”