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Promoting Partnerships: STP Partnerships Small Grant Program

2013 Winners

Melissa Beers (The Ohio State University), Jessica C. Hill (Utah Valley University), and Clarissa A. Thompson (University of Oklahoma): Essential pedagogical skills for first time graduate instructors

Preparation for teaching at the college level has been inconsistent despite early teaching experiences being recognized as formative (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2010). In some cases, graduates are simply handed a roster, a textbook, and told the class location (Bain, 2005). In other instances, advanced preparation is provided (see Beers, Hill, & Thompson, 2012, for a summary of graduate training programs in the U.S.). When graduate programs provide teacher preparation, effort is typically focused on developing practical skills that will enable first-time instructors to function in the classroom—but what are the most essential skills for new teachers? Although research has identified characteristics of master teachers, little empirical work has identified fundamental skills and common mistakes made by new teachers (Buskist, 2000; Keely et al., 2006). Utilizing methods employed to investigate master teaching (e.g., Keely et al., 2006), we will identify critical skills that should be included in the training of graduate instructors with the goal of developing a valid tool to provide first-time instructors with constructive feedback. This new tool will complement the Teacher Behavior Checklist (Keely et al., 2006) that addresses more advanced teaching skills. Results of this study will assist graduate institutions to further develop their pedagogy training programs in an evidence-based way.

Jessie Borelli (Pomona College), Debra Mashek (Harvey Mudd College), and Dave Sbarra (University of Arizona): Teaching relationship science through cross-institutional collaborations

Liberal Arts Colleges and Research I Universities serve different missions. Interaction between these two spheres is limited, creating barriers for both students and faculty. The primary objective of this proposal is to foster a cross-institutional teaching collaboration that capitalizes on the unique strengths of both environments, to educate undergraduates about the science of relationships, and to facilitate greater exposure between students and faculty in different academic contexts. To do so, Dr. David Sbarra (University of Arizona), a leading figure in relationship science, will visit the Claremont Colleges to (1) provide a public lecture on his research program, (2) develop collaborations with faculty and students at the Claremont Colleges, and (3) advise undergraduate and graduate students on their career paths and research projects. Similarly, Drs. Borelli and Mashek will provide professional guidance and teaching mentorship to graduate students at the University of Arizona. As a result of this collaboration, we anticipate the following benefits:  undergraduates at the Claremont Colleges will gain exposure to content at the leading edge of relationship science; graduate students will receive mentorship in professional development and teaching issues; and the three faculty members involved will have the opportunity to foster new collaborative teaching and research projects.

Lisa Dinella (Monmouth University) and Natalie Ciarocco (Monmouth University): The second biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology (ACToP) Conference 

The second biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology (ACToP) Conference, hosted by Monmouth University’s Department of Psychology, will be held September 20-21, 2013. With a view of the scenic Navesink River, and the Jersey Shore as a backdrop, psychology instructors from both secondary (2-year and 4-year) and high school communities will gather at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, New Jersey to discuss teaching and learning in the psychology classroom. The conference slogan is “Creating Collaborative Communities of Psychology Teachers,” and the conference goal is to unite psychology teaching professionals in an atmosphere that creates and strengthens the connections between those passionate about teaching psychology. The conference will consist of a variety of concurrent sessions and poster sessions, and will open with keynote speaker Dr. R. Eric Landrum speaking about workforce readiness and the preparation of undergraduate psychology majors. Additionally, invited speaker Dr. Susan Nolan will speak on how to integrate statistical and graphing concepts throughout the curriculum. Also, maximizing institutional assessment strategies will be highlighted at the conference. Conference attendees will submit proposals for the concurrent sessions or poster presentations. For full conference details, please visit

Jessica L. Hartnett (Gannon University) and John E. Edlund (Rochester Institute of Technology): Encouraging critical thinking using electronic discussion boards in statistics and research methods classes

The goal of our project is to test whether discussion boards can be used to improve critical thinking in research methods courses in psychology. These discussion boards consist of a series of recent popular press articles featuring science in the news, applications of scientific knowledge to your life, and other real world applications. In this study, we will compare whether critical thinking (as assessed by multiple published critical thinking measures) improves during a semester using these discussion boards (compared to a control quarter where the discussion boards are not used). Specifically, we will measure critical thinking abilities as the start of the semester along with measuring critical thinking abilities at the end of semester. We expect that our discussion boards will lead to an increase in critical thinking (when compared to the normal change that occurs during a control semester).

Rebekah Layton (University at Albany, SUNY) and Maureen Harrison (Emma Willard School): Neural fusion: Student learning facilitated by collaborative student interactions

During a collaborative afternoon, Emma Willard School (EWS) high school students will travel to the University at Albany (UAlbany) to learn about and experience collegiate psychology opportunities firsthand.  A university section of an intermediate level personality course will be co-taught and attended by collegiate and high-school psychology instructors/students to enhance the overall learning experience. The class meeting will focus on the study of the neurobiological underpinnings of personality and the implications that these have for behavior.  Undergraduate students will further their course learning objectives by combining their own experiences with those of students earlier in their developmental lifespan during class activities and discussions.  EWS students from Advanced Placement Psychology and Neuroscience courses will participate in an interactive class session, hear from a panel of graduate students and undergraduate research assistants about opportunities available in the field of psychology, join psychology research lab personnel for a discussion over an informal lunch, and tour psychology lab research areas to learn about current research projects. While UAlbany students will gain insight into age-relevant principles of personality, EWS students will gain an understanding of potential education, training, and career possibilities in the field of psychology.

Micah Sadigh (Cedar Crest College), Kerrie Baker (Cedar Crest College), and Robin Musselman (Lehigh Carbon Community College): Building a bridge between psychology programs of 4-year and 2-year colleges through pedagogy

A growing number of students are opting to begin their college education at 2-year colleges, after which many of them make the transition to 4-year colleges. The purpose of this project is to build a stronger bridge between the psychology programs of a 2-year and a 4-year college, by organizing a conference for students that focuses on the breadth of psychology through pedagogy. Additionally, the effectiveness of the teaching methods employed at the conference will be assessed via the use of brief questionnaires and rating scales. This information will lead to further collaborative projects between the two colleges, particularly in terms of pedagogical enhancements. Finally, we believe that this project will act as a model that may inspire other 2-year and 4-year colleges to plan activities that could achieve two important goals: (1) improved pedagogy, and (2) ongoing, long-term, collaborations between the faculty of such colleges. Ultimately, the achievement of the aforementioned goals should, above all, benefit students throughout their college career, and beyond; and will hopefully make their transition from a 2-year to a 4-year college much more seamless and rewarding.

2012 Winners

The Small Grants--Promoting Partnerships Committee is pleased to announce the 2012 Award Winners:

Thomas M. Brinthaupt (Middle Tennessee State University), Linda Jones (Belmont University), and Kiesa Getz Kelley (Tennessee State University).  Building research Bridges between High School and College Psychology Programs:  Psychology Educators of Tennessee 3rd Annual Teaching of Psychology Workshop

Julie Guay McIntyre (The Sage Colleges) and Karen Brakke (Spelman College).  Expanding Views of Emerging Adulthood:  Diverse Perspectives from across the U. S.

Kimberly Patterson (Cypress Bay High School), Jonathan Banks (Nova Southeastern University), and Jaime Tartar (Nova Southeastern University).  Research Initiative in Psychology for High School Students:  A First Year Pilot Program.

Jennifer J. Stiegler-Balfour (University of New England) and Victor A. Benassi (University of New Hampshire).  Applying the Science of Learning in Face-to-Face and Online Psychology Courses

2011 Winners

Wendy Close (Wisconsin Lutheran College) and the 16 other members of the Intercollegiate Capstone Project Research Team.  Capstone Courses and Program Portfolios in Undergraduate Psychology.

Lisa Dinella, Natalie Ciarocco and Gary Lewandowski (Monmouth University).
Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology Conference.

Robyn Kondrad (University of Virginia) and David Daniel (James Madison University).  Graduate Teacher Training Collaborative for the Teaching of Psychology.

Christine Smith, Kathleen Burns, and Melissa Schnurr (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay); Lee McCann (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), and Jeff Norby (De Pere High School).  UWGB Enhancing Teaching of Psychology Conference.

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