Professor Ronald Harvey teaches Introduction to Psychology, Psychology Research Methods, and Media Psychology at AUBG. He is also the founder of AUBG’s Improv theater club. After spending 20 years in the IT field, he earned his Ph.D. degree in Community Psychology with a specialization in drug addiction recovery at DePaul University, Chicago.
Listen or watch the interview with Prof. Ronald Harvey to hear more about his jobs before becoming a professor at AUBG, his rockstar youth, and his favorite dad jokes.
Listen to the conversation with prof. Harvey
“I think that the most important skill to learn as a person, and especially Psychology can help you with this, is just to learn about yourself and to accept yourself.”
Professor Harvey is the first Psychology professor at AUBG. Apart from that, teaching at AUBG is his first job in the academic field.
Before becoming a professor though, he was a sound engineer, truck driver for touring bands, software tester, and software librarian.
He wouldn’t have been on his Psychology path though, if it wasn’t for his instructor in his undergrad who told him that he should pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology. Fast forward some years later he came to Bulgaria on a vacation which developed into a Fulbright Program in 2010.
In 2016 he applied for a position in AUBG and after teaching a couple of classes, created the Psychology Major.
He finds the atmosphere of a classroom filled with students hungry for knowledge intoxicating, and has great respect for their hard work and determination to succeed.
“You guys are amazing. You come from all over the world, […] and work very hard for everything you’ve achieved. You’re doing things in multiple languages, which is unbelievable. It’s incredible!”
A piece of advice he gives to his students is to explore and experience as much as possible, so that they find what makes them feel whole and valuable, and to not try to be someone they are not.
In his classes he wants to see who his students are, their true personalities and thoughts, and encourages them to express and accept themselves.
“It is easier to be yourself, but if you don’t like yourself, […], if you think you should be something else, you’re never going to be there.”
What is more, as an introvert himself, he lets the students who are quieter participate in the class on their own time and when they feel ready to.
Some of the many topics covered in the podcast.
Professor Harvey recounts that his first step towards improv was during his work on his dissertation.
“I remember I was being miserable, sitting in a bus in Chicago, working on my dissertation. I looked up and saw an advertisement for Second City, which is a big improv theater.”
Chicago is the improv capital of the world, and he has been watching improv shows since the ‘90s, so he made the decision to take improv classes fast.
Apart from that, from the point of view of a community psychologist, Professor Harvey noticed in real life how in the improv group people improved each other’s well-being.
“I very quickly saw the parallels of an improv group and how they work to help support each other […] and create a happier group of people for an hour and a half or so.”
He further tells the story of how one of his acquaintances from the group went to his dissertation defense and took him for pancakes afterwards.
In AUBG, he founded the Improv theater club in 2018 and his students had a show at the end of the academic year. The club ceased activities during the pandemic, but it got revived in 2022.