Submitted by: Morgan Franklin and Christopher Kleva
During these first few months of this new year, the GSTA Corner will be featuring brief interviews with all six members of our committee. This month, we are featuring two of this year’s new committee members.
Type of doctoral program, year, & expected graduation:
Morgan: I am a fourth year in the Clinical Psychology - Adult Track doctoral program at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale. I am on track to complete and graduate by Spring 2024.
Chris: I am a third-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student in the Behavioral Health concentration at Virginia Commonwealth University. I am on track to complete the program in Spring 2025!
Classes you have taught and/or been a GTA for (undergraduate or graduate):
Morgan: I have been both a graduate teaching assistant (GTA), as well as an Instructor of Record for Introduction to Psychology. I have also taught as Instructor of Record for Effects of Recreational Drugs, Abnormal Psychology, and Psychology of Crime.
Chris: I have had the pleasure of serving as a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) and/or primary instructor for several undergraduate-level courses including Introduction to Psychology and Research Methods. I am excited for the opportunity to teach undergraduate Psychopathology this coming summer.
Experiences you have been able to participate in because of being a part of GSTA:
Morgan: I am new to the association, and I am excited to work with others who are involved in teaching and who share a passion for teaching to discuss actionable ways to improve the academic experience of students.
Chris: I am most appreciative of participating in the GSTA because it allows me to collaborate with other graduate students and professors who share a common passion for improving teaching.
Benefits of GSTA on your professional development and future as an academic:
Morgan: I think that being a part of GSTA will allow me to work and collaborate with like-minded individuals so that I may grow as an instructor and use my current role as an instructor, and any academic roles I may hold in the future, to be an effective instructor for students.
Chris: Being a part of the GSTA leadership team provides a unique service opportunity to have a seat at the table so I may collaborate with academics across institutions and make an impact for the better!
Impact of GSTA on you personally:
Morgan: Personally, I am hoping that GSTA may help me consider creative and unique ways to be accessible to students, foster a positive learning experience, and create an environment for students that provides adequate and appropriate resources and communicates transparency in academia.
Chris: Being a GSTA member provides a sense of community, which arguably we all need to strive and are lacking now, especially since COVID has caused us to be virtual and feel isolated. Each GSTA meeting is another opportunity to share experiences/ideas and receive/provide support.
Advice (teaching and/or research tips) for other graduate students:
Morgan: I have found flexibility, both for myself and for my students, to be paramount in teaching (especially during COVID). I also find open and transparent communication with my students important in being able to meet students where they are at. Regarding research, reminding myself of what and why I enjoy and value the process is helpful. Research is a marathon, not a sprint. Reminding myself of why I value it helps to keep me grounded, focused, and enjoying the process.
Chris: With respect to teaching tips, the priority should always be to create a safe and supportive learning environment for our students and I think the best way of doing this is emphasizing communication. Additionally, teaching should be conceptualized as a growing art, in which you consistently elicit feedback from your students and use them to further improve your teaching for the next cohort of students.