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Preparing the New Psychology
for the Teaching of Psychology
As all professors have learned, joining the professoriate means that for as long as we are members of the academy, our professional lives will be segmented into three unequally sized portions: We will teach, conduct research, and perform service. As we also all know, the academy trains graduate students primarily as researchers. They may receive some training for teaching, but almost none for service. At some institutions, graduate students may gain some teaching experience, although little formal training-they are simply told to "go teach."
In the past few years, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP; <http://www.teachpsych.org>) has attempted to underscore the need for better training and supervision of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) and has developed programs for helping GTAs improve the quality of their teaching. For example, three years ago, STP developed and implemented a series of nationwide preconference workshops specifically aimed to help graduate students develop their teaching philosophy and style. These workshops have been transformed recently into Teaching Enhancement Workshops (TEWs) that take place on college campuses instead of at professional meetings. In addition, two years ago, STP developed the Graduate Student Teaching Association (GSTA), to provide a supportive home for graduate students within its organization. The GSTA has full voting privileges within STP and an hour of programming at the annual American Psychological Association convention. Not to be outdone, the American Psychological Society (APS) is currently developing a series of programs and efforts to enhance GTA training and supervision <http://www.psychologicalscience.org/>.
This book follows suit in its emphasis on calling attention to the need for more extensive and intensive GTA training and it provides guidance regarding the ways that such training can serve graduate students who are ready for academic positions. This book focuses on diverse aspects of the transition from graduate student to faculty member. We divided its 31 chapters into four parts. Part 1 includes two chapters. Chapter 1 develops an argument in support of GTA training and Chapter 2 showcases the important links between scholarship and teaching. Part 2 features nine chapters, each of which describes successful models for effectively training GTAs. These chapters describe training programs at six doctoral institutions and three master's institutions. Part 3 contains 13 chapters that describe the qualities that psychology departments seek in hiring new assistant professors. Our authors describe the hiring preferences of a sample of doctoral, master's, 4-year, and 2-year institutions as well as historically black and religious institutions. Part 4 includes six chapters describing the transition from graduate student to assistant professor written by brand new or fairly new PhDs. These authors describe both their levels of preparedness for their first academic position and aspects of their work that "caught them off guard." The final chapter of the book contains an annotated bibliography of books related to college and university teaching in general and the teaching of psychology in particular.
As the authors have illustrated, success as a job applicant often rests on teaching experience, but success as a faculty member is often based on more than continuing development of excellence in the classroom. The ability to collaborate with students and colleagues enhances one's acceptance into a department. At the same time, the relative emphasis on teaching and research in a given institution will affect a faculty member's attention to either research or teaching at the expense of the other. As job applicants, graduate students must be sensitive to the context of the department in order to maximize the likelihood of success in their search and to minimize the types of errors that can dim their chances at a given school (see Brems, Lampman, & Johnson, 1995).
We thank our authors for their generous and thoughtful contributions to this e-book. This e-book differs from most edited books in that each chapter was peer-reviewed by at least two experts in various areas of the teaching of psychology We thank our reviewers for their careful critiques of our authors' work. We would also like to thank Ana Amstadter, Trish Benson, Amber Hensley, Jared Keeley, and Ryan Siney for assistance in proofreading this book.
We conceived and developed this book to be a useful resource to graduate students who wish to become competent college and university level teachers and to faculty who supervise or otherwise train them. We hope that you will find this book achieves this goal.
Bill Buskist, Auburn, AL
Barney Beins, Ithaca, NY
Vinny Hevern, Syracuse, NY
Brems, C., Lampman, C., & Johnson, M. E. (1995). Preparation of applications for academic positions in psychology. American Psychologist, 50, 533-537.
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Citation for this Chapter
Buskist, W., Beins, B. C., & Hevern, V. W. (2004). Preface. In W. Buskist, B. C. Beins, & V. W. Hevern (Eds.), Preparing the new psychology professoriate: Helping graduate students become competent teachers (pp. vii-ix). Syracuse, NY: Society for the Teaching of Psychology. Retrieved [insert date] from the Web site: http://www.teachpsych.org/ebooks/pnpp/
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