Crystal Hoyt, professor of leadership studies and psychology, is known for her dedication to research and teaching, for inspiring enthusiasm in her students, and, of course, for her dog and frequent office hours guest, Bailey.

“Dr. Hoyt wants her students to challenge themselves to do well. No matter how much she has going on, Dr. Hoyt always puts her students first and goes out of her way to make time for her students,” said Annette Schieffelin, ’17, who has worked with Hoyt on several research projects.

In June 2016, Hoyt assumed the role of associate dean for academic affairs at the Jepson School. Below, Hoyt discusses teaching, research, and her new role.

What about this new role are you looking forward to?

The thing I am most looking forward to is doing what I can within this role to help further Jepson’s — and UR’s — commitment to promoting inclusivity and equity in higher education.  I also look forward to working more closely with students to ensure their academic success, and I look forward to doing what I can to help support the teaching and scholarship of my fellow faculty members.

What questions are you currently focusing on with your research?

Much of my current research program falls under the broad topic of examining the important role of belief systems in understanding fundamental social issues including the obesity epidemic, intergroup discrimination, wealth inequality, and prejudice against sexual minorities. These social issues are complex and challenging and a scientific understanding of them can help ensure that relevant social policies and interventions are both informed and intentional.

You’ve served as advisor to more than 20 senior theses. What do you enjoy about advising students on their research?

My favorite mode of teaching undergraduate students comes in the form of actively mentoring them in research. I believe in the teacher-scholar model such that my teaching is enhanced from what I have learned from my research and my scholarship is deeply informed by my teaching.

At the University of Richmond I have mentored more than 50 undergraduate students, with a number of them conducting research in my laboratory on projects that have yielded both scientific publications and research awards. I regularly mentor undergraduate researchers from both the Jepson School and the psychology department.

What idea do you hope that Jepson students take with them from their education?

One hallmark of a liberal education is to promote the development of a sense of social responsibility, an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. As Jepson graduates, I hope they understand and are prepared to take on their responsibilities to both combat anti-intellectualism and work for a more equitable society.

What are some of your favorite things to do in your free time?

I enjoy hiking. I hiked out in Crested Butte, Colo., this summer and have for the last few summers, and not long ago, I hiked Half Dome in Yosemite. I regularly go to Zion National Park over the winter and hike around there, including one of my favorite hikes — Angels Landing. I also enjoy running and spending time with my best friend Bailey.