Dr. Anré Venter is the Professional Specialist and Director of Undergraduate Studies for Psychology. Venter grew up in South Africa and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town. Last spring, Venter gave a talk on gender and equality in investment banking, sponsored by the Smart Women Securities ND chapter. He has taught at the university for 18 years.
As a professor of psychology, what topics interest you?
Recently, I’ve been interested in the self and the way in which people think about themselves. As a director of undergraduate studies, I don’t have a lot of time to pursue research anymore — most of what I do is either advising or teaching. I’m also interested in quantitative psychology and research techniques. I will be teaching a class titled “Psychology: Science, Practice, and Policy” next semester.
Have you ever given any talks or lectures?
I have participated in the TED Talks on campus, and I was chosen as a Senior Class Fellow in 2012. I’ve also given two talks for Junior Parents’ Weekend in the past. I usually talk about my research and thoughts on the self and how I think we should be doing here at the University as students and faculty. I’m not always invited back after my lectures, though.
Why is that?
I think it’s because I am willing to ask uncomfortable questions. I challenge people in my talks to think critically about issues such as stereotypes and racism. I think the purpose of education is to challenge our normal ways of thinking and to begin to think about things from a different perspective. It’s not always a comfortable experience and sometimes people don’t enjoy it.
Do you have any good stories from your time here?
I do, but I don’t think all of them are fit for print! I will say that I tend to end up at charity events like “Kiss-A-Pig” with Carl Ackermann and Jim McKenna a lot. I call us the “usual suspects” for events like these.