By Rita Obeid, Christina Shane-Simpson, & Anna Schwartz
Early in October, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) holds an annual writing workshop which is chaired by Dr. Regan Gurung and designed to support faculty in designing, implementing, and writing up their pedagogy related research (termed SoTL research). This year, three members of the GSTA leadership team were able to attend the workshop and greatly benefited from the structure and goals of this writing workshop.
Prior to the workshop, each applicant (mentee) was paired with an experienced SoTL mentor that matched the needs of the applicant. The mentors and mentees met virtually via Skype, e-mail, or the phone over the summer before the conference was scheduled (beginning in June of 2014). The mentees introduced and updated their mentors about their projects. Upon their arrival at the STP Conference, the mentees had developed a draft of a paper or at least a plan for their research. The mentees were each at different stages in their projects where some had began the implementation phase, and others were in the process of writing up their results and conclusions about the work they conducted. Under the leadership of Regan Gurung and with the support of a statistical consultant (Dr. Georjeanna Wilson), and their mentors, mentees were given additional wrap-around support as they continued to write throughout the three-day conference. This blog highlights the narratives and experiences of the GSTA members who attended the writing workshop.
“It was nice to get out of the big city for a couple of days, disconnect from everything else you need to do and just be sitting in a nice hotel room filled with people who are passionate about pedagogy research. The writing workshop was a great opportunity to not only meet great people in the SoTL field, but also benefit from their expertise.”
“My mentor met with me every three weeks over the course of the summer, edited repeated drafts of my paper, helped me develop future research lines from my project and, although his obligation to me is complete, continues to help me develop the project. At the conference, multiple mentors helped me do statistical tests and explore my data. In general, this experience has taught me more practical skills than all my classes combined, and I hope they can extend this model. My mentor is an angel, as are Dr. Gurung and Dr. Wilson.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of support that was provided to all of the mentees during the three-day writing workshop. During the summer I regularly communicated with my SoTL mentor, soliciting her advice on anything from research design to framing my IRB application. She was immensely helpful in helping me develop my study in a manageable way that didn’t overshadow my teaching responsibilities. At the writing workshop I received support not only from my mentor, but also from other experienced SoTL researchers and from a statistical consultant. At the end of the workshop I ended up with two papers in-progress that were ready for data analysis.”
All graduate student teachers are already busy with program requirements and teaching responsibilities. However, the writing workshop allowed each of us an opportunity to step back from our busy schedules and never-ending to-do lists, to spend two full days working on our pedagogy-based research. Not only did we each make significant progress on our SoTL research project, but we were also able to benefit from networking with other SoTL researchers and educators passionate about the teaching of psychology.
**If you are interested in attending the STP Writing Workshop in 2015 the application process will take place in the spring. We will be sure to post links to Facebook and Twitter when it opens.**