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Welcome from STP President Diane Finley

Happy February!

February 2, 2023

by Diane Finley, STP President

Happy February! Did you know that the word February comes from the Latin “februa” which means to cleanse? The month was named after the Roman festival of Februalia which was a month of atonement and purification. I have always found this interesting since we in the United States do not view February in this fashion. We tend to focus on Valentine’s Day and all that holiday represents in current society. As I learned about the actual history of the day, the connections began to make more sense. (Check history.com for information). How do these two views of the month reconcile? Some experts think the emphasis on love is an attempt to Christianize the pagan festival which had overtones of fertility. I do not think we will ever know, and I think that having time dedicated to love is sorely needed in today’s world. Throughout the year, I will be having guest columnists since I do want to “invite everyone in” (my Presidential theme).

This month, Dr. Stephanie Afful, from Lindenwood University, is sharing her thoughts. She is currently the Secretary for STP. She does an amazing job of taking minutes and keeping the Executive Committee on track with to-do lists and past votes. I have known Stephanie for a long time since she served as the first Chair for the Early Career Psychologists Committee which was started during my tenure as VP for Membership. I have always been awed by her dedication to teaching and by her energy. I know you will enjoy her ideas and I am sure she will welcome comments and discussion.

The Month of Love

Dr. Stephanie Afful

February is the month of love, the month where we can celebrate our love of football, of boxed chocolates, of Galantines, and maybe even our love of teaching! One of the reasons I love teaching is that the classroom (both physical and virtual) is a sacred space where we can practice social justice, one in which we can lean into difficult discussions, widen our perspectives, gain empathy and awareness. bell hooks (1994) said of transformational pedagogy "the classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy" (p. 12). And as discussion of Black history should last all year (not just for these 28 days), we might think about how to introduce, continue, or even reignite our passion for social justice and its pedagogical implications....

To read the rest of this letter and past letters from the STP President, click here.

To read Diane Finley's presidential theme and task forces for 2023, click here.

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