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Psychology professor publishes first book

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February 13, 2013

Karen BenderskyKaren BenderskyDr. Karen Bendersky, Georgia College associate professor of psychology, has co-written her first book to educate incoming students about higher education expectations and strategies to succeed throughout their academic careers.

Education publishing company Pearson printed “College Orientation” this year.

As a freshmen orientation resource, the book provides a road map for campus faculty and staff to improve four-year graduation rates and ultimately reduce student debt.

“The book is a college etiquette guide that sets the stage for higher student performance and greater faculty engagement,” said Bendersky. “It covers topics and behaviors that will enable students to graduate on time. It’s full of information we forget students don’t know but need to know about while they are experiencing college life. It’s also unique compared to other student success books because of its focus on promoting appropriate college behavior at the typical university.”

Bendersky published the book with colleague Dr. Catherine M. Chastain-Elliott, associate dean of general education programs and professor of art history, at the University of Tampa.

A 10-year project, “College Orientation” helps freshmen navigate through school and work environments. It includes practical information, tips, tables, graphs and humor illustrations to prepare students for the college experience and beyond.

“Early in college, behaviors can influence students’ ability to find a job or advance to graduate school,” said Bendersky. “Having a good GPA is just one piece of the college experience. This book helps students understand topics like the difference between high school and college; that the bulk of their learning should happen outside the classroom; and universities operate as a hierarchical system and how to move through that system. Our premise is that if students understood what was expected of them, they would become more successful.”

The comprehensive reference tool also features a companion piece customizable to any university freshman seminar, orientation or boot camp. The companion allows universities to include tailored information like a campus map, orientation schedule or president’s letter.

“Students learn about the right resources and how to connect with faculty and staff members in order to succeed in their chosen field of study,” said Bendersky. “The book is a gift for high school graduates and their parents, and a great resource for orientation programs and professors. It really prepares our future students for the working world.”

Bendersky has taught freshmen orientation and helped develop the Department of Psychological Science’s freshmen seminar module at Georgia College.

With a research interest in mental representation and student learning, Bendersky teaches courses in developmental and cognitive psychology and advanced research.

During 2010, Georgia College honored Bendersky with its prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award. During 2012, she received the university’s Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.

Bendersky earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from George Mason University in Virginia. She earned a master’s degree in general psychology from Indiana State University in Indiana and doctorate in developmental psychology from Purdue University in Indiana.

Visit or to purchase the book. Contact Dr. Karen Bendersky at or 478-445-0868 for more information.



ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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For more information, contact University Communications at (478) 445-4477.