Presidential Task Force Round-Up, and a Focus on Advocacy

03 Dec 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

by Susan Nolan, STP President

Just a year ago, I lamented in one of my presidential letters that this was not the year I would have chosen to be STP President. I will readily admit that it’s still not the year I would have chosen; yet, serving STP in this way during such a challenging year has been professionally and personally rewarding. And it has showcased the deep wells of talent, experience, creativity, and empathy among our leaders and members. It has been an honor to work with and for all of you, and to benefit from the uncountable contributions you have made to our community and to our students.

In my final presidential letter, I want to thank my colleagues on the Executive Committee from whom I learned so much in our monthly meetings and ongoing email threads, and (just as importantly this year) who made me laugh. A lot.

I also want to recognize the many members of STP’s leadership and committees. STP is so fortunate that you have chosen to share your talents with us, and I am grateful to have worked directly with so many of you. I also want to express thanks to all the members who have contributed to the success of STP in so many different ways – from editing e-books to moderating social media to reviewing award nominations to presenting as part of our conference programming. I am lucky to count so many of you as colleagues and friends.

In spite of the pandemic and other challenges and because of the dedication of so many talented volunteers, STP accomplished a great deal this year. (See below, for example, for the accomplishments of our task forces!) But one of the initiatives I’m most excited about is our newly created Advocacy Committee. This past summer, I worked with Executive Director Tom Pusateri, Past President Amy Fineburg, and President-Elect Linda Woolf to develop a proposal for a committee that would explicitly seek out ways for STP to make a difference, rather than simply waiting for opportunities to arise. The Advocacy Committee will vet requests for STP to sign various statements; bring public policy and position statements to the Executive Committee; monitor our previous statements and suggest further action; communicate with our members to identify areas where our advocacy might be needed; and publicize our advocacy work.

The committee will include the Past President, Past-Past President, Vice President for Diversity and International Relations (or their designee), our APA Council Members, and several additional members, including a committee chair, whom we will recruit via a broad call for involvement. We will soon issue this call: Watch for it on our website! Or email me at susan.nolan@shu.edu and I will send you the call once it goes out. I, for one, am delighted to be able to serve ex officio on this committee in 2022 and 2023.

In line with this focus on advocacy, STP recently applied and was accepted to join the Divisions for Social Justice, a consortium of APA divisions who work together with the goal of “pursuing social justice issues both within APA governance (e.g., working together to appoint social-justice oriented individuals to APA committees; working with the Public Interest Directorate), and in terms of ongoing social justice related research, action, and public policy.” Our Advocacy Committee will serve as the face of STP within the Divisions for Social Justice.

And finally, I specifically want to call out the dedicated leaders and members of the three 2021 presidential task forces. The chairs of the task forces wrote brief overviews of their impressive work – see below. I thank them for their initiative and leadership! Outcomes include a soon-to-submitted manuscript on pivot teaching, a color paper on EDI and internationalization, a series of statistics mini-lessons for introductory psychology, and a curriculum study of statistics. All will be publicized through STP channels, and when appropriate, will live on our website. These outcomes are sure to have a lasting impact on STP. I am deeply grateful to all of the task force leaders and members.

Task Force for Resources for “Pivot Teaching”

Chair: Jenel Cavazos

Faced with the unprecedented complications surrounding Covid-19, the Task Force on Pivot Teaching was charged with gathering resources to aid instructors in proactively addressing the challenges associated with changing modalities in response to potential disruptions, both currently and in the future, by accommodating students and integrating flexibility and agility into instruction. The committee’s work centered on four unique areas of focus: teaching modalities (various modes of instruction and their application for pivot teaching); methods and assessment (the use of evidence-based teaching methods and forms of assessment that are both flexible and adaptive); personal and professional development (best practices to promote the wellbeing of instructors); and lessons learned and future directions (insights from pandemic teaching that may influence the future educational landscape). The committee presented its findings during a symposium at the APA Annual Conference during the summer of 2021. A smaller subset of committee members is currently in the final stages of manuscript development for a publication that will be submitted early next year.

Task Force on Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and International Initiatives Across STP

Chair: Arlen Garcia

Inspired by The Warrior’s Path (Color Paper) from Division 45, the 2021 Task Force drafted their end-of-year report in a hybrid format weaving the proposals with a backdrop of activism. Overall, we acknowledged the previous work, especially the Statement on Addressing Systemic Racism and Inequity in STP as well as the Diversity Survey. We also included APA’s latest EDI framework and relevant articles. Specifically, three committees were formed in January 2021 composed of ~3-4 members each and a volunteer lead. Committee #1 focused on infrastructure; Committee #2 focused on affinity groups and other surveys; Committee #3 focused on internationalization across STP areas. Working teams coordinated and presented asynchronous sessions highlighting the Task Force efforts at APA’s Annual Conference in August 2021 as well as at our Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) in October 2021. Infrastructure recommendations included but not limited to embedding a diversity consultant in each VP area as well as creating a new VP area just for international affairs. Affinity groups recommendations based on the Diversity survey results were outlined including logistical aspects of joining/membership. Additionally, a Travel Award was proposed. Ultimately, the Task Force hopes the Color Paper draft becomes a living document for the next phases.

Task Force on Statistical Literacy, Reasoning, and Thinking

Chair: Jessica Hartnett

The task force approached statistical education on two fronts and in two subcommittees: Statistics in Introduction to Psychology (IP) and Statistics Across the UG Psychology Curriculum.

Dr. Garth Neufeld chaired the IP subcommittee. The subcommittee decided that the best way to address statistics in IP was to create a series of statistics mini-lessons. These lessons correspond to the main topics typically taught in IP and align with teaching guidelines created by both the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education.

Dr. Erin Freeman chaired the Curriculum subcommittee. They were interested in understanding how psychology instructors teach statistics, both in statistics courses and across the curriculum. They worked together to create a wide-ranging survey, completed by psychology professors across the country, that sheds light on when and how statistics are integrated into the psychology curriculum.

These resources, both the mini-lessons and the curriculum study, will be available via the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website in early 2021.


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