Tucked into a snug corner office in Sutton Science Center, Dr. Jason Troyer, assistant dean of academics and associate professor of psychology, works diligently to further improve the Maryville College experience for incoming freshmen, graduating seniors and everyone in between.
Raised in Iowa, Troyer knew early on that he wanted to pursue a career in psychology. With aspirations to become a therapist with his own practice, Troyer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Truman State University in psychology and counseling, respectively. He then completed a Ph.D. program in counseling and psychology at the University of Kansas, opening doors in the field that are shut to sub-doctorate degrees.
After earning his Ph.D., Troyer began a year-long internship in therapy and found that full-time practice was not his niche. Drawing from experience he had working on small college campuses while completing his doctorate, Troyer began applying for positions in academia as his internship came to a close.
Troyer has now been at MC for 10 years and counting, and he has full intentions of staying.
“I was lucky to be hired here,” Troyer said. “I’m really happy.”
Over the span of his MC career, Troyer has taught regular courses in counseling and abnormal psychology alongside occasional courses in adult development and aging, death and dying and the psychology of men and masculinity. He also introduced a crisis intervention course over the 2014 J-Term that he aspires to turn into a semester-long curriculum. This course drew in many MC students as well as members of the Blount county community, including a U.S. Marshall and a local police officer.
Troyer also teaches freshman year seminar classes when possible. At the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, he was appointed as the assistant dean of academics with direct focus on student retention, so his experience working with first-year students is invaluable for both the incoming freshmen and MC administration. Furthermore, he takes a genuine interest in curriculum adaptation and social integration for his new advisees and the freshman class as a whole.
Troyer not only assists with the incoming students, but the outgoing classes, too. After receiving troubling news from past advisees about their Graduate Record Examination scores and researching the sparse preparation courses available to MC students, Troyer crafted a GRE-Prep program that accounts for seniors’ packed schedules as well as their stretched wallets. He offers three to four classes per year that provide preparation material, an environment to disconnect from the regular course load and an advisor to use as a resource for questions and support.
Outside of his extensive Maryville work life, Troyer spends most of his free time with his wife, Jenny, and his two daughters, Gwendolyn age 5 and Juliana age 2. He also has a book in its final stages of publishing, “Counseling Widowers,” which is a volume in the Routledge Series on Counseling and Psychotherapy with Boys and Men.
“Counseling Widowers” stemmed from a dissertation that Troyer wrote during his schooling about the unique struggles of men who lose their wives. The psychology behind widowers’ battles, alongside death and grief counseling in general, have been “a research interest and a personal interest,” for most of his scholarly career. His fascination eventually became a prospective self-help book for widowers and then a reference text for counselors working with widowers. The project took a semester of full-time commitment and another working nights and weekends. Completed in October, the book is set to publish towards the end of the spring semester.
Even while juggling his extensively successful career and span of responsibilities, Troyer still provides a warm smile and an open ear to students who seek his counsel. He is an asset to Maryville College and a model mentor to students of all ages, and he will remain so for years to come.