Dr. Megan Saylor reflects on receiving 2022 Chancellor’s Cup

Professor Megan Saylor was awarded a distinction whose inception dates back nearly 50 years for nurturing students’ growth in and outside the classroom.


Vanderbilt University

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver and Chancellor Daniel Diermeier congratulate 2022 Chancellor’s Cup recipient, Dr. Megan Saylor, as photographed on Nov. 29, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt University)

Anseley Philippe, Staff Writer & Photographer

CORRECTED: This article was corrected on Feb. 14, 2023, at 11:57 a.m. CST to correct the spelling of Nikkie Dutta’s name. 

Dr. Megan Saylor, professor of psychology and human development in Peabody College, was awarded the 2022 Chancellor’s Cup. Saylor expressed her heartfelt gratitude for having been recognized as one of the prominent figures of student mentorship. 

“It is a huge honor, and I am so grateful to have my teaching and mentoring recognized in this way,” Saylor said in a message to The Hustler. 

The Chancellor’s Cup is awarded to a professor who has contributed significantly to undergraduate student-faculty relationships in and out of the classroom. The award was established by the Nashville Vanderbilt Club in 1963. Upon recommendations from several parties within the university, the chancellor selects an awardee who has the privilege to hold year-round custody of the cup, a Tiffany & Co. silver bowl bearing the names of all past recipients, an engraved pewter julep cup as a permanent trophy and a cash prize of $2,500 contributed by the club.

Having obtained her doctorate in psychology from the University of Oregon, Saylor joined Vanderbilt’s faculty in 2001. She has taught classes on infancy, cognition, language and development. Her research focuses on investigating active learning in the context of early-world learning. Among the spectrum of responsibilities she has shouldered within the Vanderbilt community, she has served as a faculty VUceptor, a member of the Peabody College Equity Diversity and Inclusion Committee, an undergraduate advisor and presides over the Peabody Scholars Program.

“When I saw that Dr. Saylor was the advisor assigned to me, I was elated because I had heard amazing things about her,” junior Grace Phillips said in a message to The Hustler. “She has not only lived up to her reputation but exceeded it.”

Saylor said she has a passion ignited by the need to cultivate kindness, genuine care, interpersonal relationships, a transformative learning environment and assistance in navigating academic challenges. 

“I find that treating students with respect and asking for their input helps to build a sense of community,” Saylor said. “I have two teenagers, and many of the choices I make are based on my vision of what kind of professor I hope they have someday.”

“I have two teenagers, and many of the choices I make are based on my vision of what kind of professor I hope they have someday.””

Junior Krish Shah said Saylor has been instrumental in empowering him to drive change and explore more in the field of psychology and human development. 

“She redefines education in a way where students are empowered to take matters into their own hands where change is necessary,” Shah said in a message to The Hustler. “In more ways than one, Dr. Saylor has been such a crucial part of my Vanderbilt journey, and she’s the reason why I feel comfortable talking and connecting to professors outside of class.”

Shah also attested to Saylor’s mentorship and the positive experiences he had in her classes.

She’s given me advice on how to manage my time and prioritize my most important commitments and activities. She’s been there for me whenever I’ve needed to talk to someone about school and my mental health,” Shah said. “In the best way possible, she’s made me feel like professors are accessible on every level whether it be academics or not.”