Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, April 5, 2013

Schreier emphasizes 'making good choices' during Golden Apple lecture

Following two standing ovations and multiple opening remarks, Shelly Schreier took the stage of a packed Rackham Auditorium Thursday night to deliver her "last lecture" — the lecture she'd give if she could give only one more.

As the winner of the 23rd annual Golden Apple Award, Schreier, a lecturer IV in psychology, built her talk around a central theme: "Make Good Choices."

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  Psychology lecturer Shelly Schreier delivers her Golden Apple lecture to a packed audience at Rackham Auditorium. (Photo by Paul Jaronski, Michigan Photography)

She touched on many topics — education, friendship and taking risks. "For many of us, it's not the risks we failed at, but that we failed to take the risks." Another important choice, she said, is to "protect your permanent record."

"Your permanent record is not the one that follows you from elementary school, and it's not in the dean's office," she said. "Your permanent record is what you see when you look in the mirror."

Introduced by psychology professor Albert Cain as "maize and blue through and through" for her and her family's strong Michigan ties, Shreier began by talking about her own good choices, with emphasis on the decision she made to come to U-M for her degree.

She then recognized the "good choices" of recent Golden Apple winners Bruce Conforth and Ralph Williams, and drew another round of applause when quoting the late Chris Peterson's Golden Apple lecture from 2010.

The Golden Apple Award, created by Students Honoring Outstanding University Teaching, is the university's only student-chosen award for teaching excellence.

Speaking for nearly an hour, Schreier moved through a list of good choices everyone should make in their life: "Do more than the minimum expected," "Treat all people with respect," and "Speak up for what you believe is right."

She said the phrase "Make Good Choices" has become something of a trademark for her as a parent. Schreier has three daughters, and she made a point to wave to her oldest daughter, who couldn't be there in person but was watching via a video chat.

She complemented her lecture with projected images ranging from a classic optical illusion to a picture of Schreier and her mother at a poetry contest she won at age 9. It illustrated her advice to "celebrate with the people you love and care about."

The audience laughed along as Shreier frequently took off her glasses to make a joke in between lines of her speech.

In one memorable moment, she successfully had everyone rub their bellies with one hand and their heads with another, only to then make fun of them and point out that no one in the room questioned her authority to tell them to do so.

Returning to her main theme, Schreier concluded by saying, "And finally, making good choices is knowing when you've said enough. Thank you all again."