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Bachelor's Degree With Individual Concentration

Spring 2008 Newsletter
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Profile of a BDIC Faculty Sponsor

By Shawna Shappy
            I am currently a BDIC Peer Advisor, and every time I mention that my faculty sponsor is Chris Overtree I get the same variety of responses. If the person has taken a class with him, they immediately exclaim how lucky I am and how much they loved his class and him as a teacher. If the person has not taken a course with him, he/she would still know the name and state how amazing they have heard he is from others who have!
            There are many renowned sponsors in the program from various departments across campus. My sponsor, Dr. Christopher Overtree from the Psychology Department, is actually a finalist for the Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest available teaching honor at the University!
            I first met Professor Overtree my sophomore year here at UMass when I was enrolled in his Psychology 380 Abnormal Psychology course. I was hooked from the very first day, and it remains the best class I have ever taken at the University! In fact, it was the inspiration for the development of my own major through BDIC in the Psychology of the Exceptional Child: Early Intervention & Special Education.
            Dr. Overtree is by far the best professor I have had the privilege to meet. His style of teaching is highly dynamic, engaging, and comprehensive. He is very knowledgeable and well-accomplished in his field and is clearly passionate about enhancing the level of learning and success of his students.
            In addition to the regular 380 lecture, I also had the opportunity to participate in a Community Service Learning Honors seminar that coincided with the course material. I volunteered at Behavioral Health Network in Northampton and had the ability to apply what I was learning in class to a hands-on real-life experience. Professor Overtree’s decision to create this seminar further exemplifies his expertise and willingness to go above and beyond to teach his students all that he can.
            I enjoyed his course and style so much, that when I decided to apply to the BDIC program I asked him to be my faculty sponsor. Despite the many hats that he wears, (and wears very well at that), he readily agreed, and he has been the best mentor I could have asked for. Just last semester I was also a Course Assistant for the same Community Service Learning Honors seminar that I was a part of. This was an amazing experience in leadership and I enjoyed assisting Dr. Overtree in making the seminar even more successful the second time around. He was very open to and accepting of new ideas and suggestions, and of course had even more of his own.
            Good luck to all future BDIC students in finding a qualified sponsor for your individual concentration. I can assure you that he/she may very well be the best connection you will ever make in your Undergraduate career.

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