PRESIDENT LETTER BLOG

This blog contains an archive of "Greetings from the President" that appeared since January 2020 on the STP home page and in STP News.  To view letters from STP Presidents from 2016 through 2019, click here.

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  • 10 May 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May: A Time for Reflection and Appreciating Yourself as a Teacher

    Linda Woolf, STP President

    May 8, 2022

    The duties of a teacher are neither few nor small, but they elevate the mind and give energy to the character." –Dorothea Dix

    For teachers, the months of May and June always bring forth a mix of emotions—joy, hope, dread, anxiety, regret . . . The academic year is grinding to a halt, with firm deadlines—the administration is not going to accommodate a request for “just two more weeks.” Graduation, students moving out of dorms, advanced placement (AP) tests, summer jobs, and a host of other events mark the transition from one school year to a break before the beginning of a new year months away. You may have even gotten a small token of “teacher appreciation” (i.e., a plant) with the operative word being “small.” Some of us may still teach during the summer but it always feels a bit different than during the “regular” academic year. Nonetheless, the end of the year is a time for reflection and even a bit of future planning.  And, yes, for teachers, the end of the year is often not marked on December 31—that is just a time to party during “winter break” or pack for NITOP

    Looking Back: A Time for Reflection

    Each semester, many of us assign self-reflection papers or student journals as part of our courses.  We want our students to think deeply and critically about the concepts learned in class and the application of ideas to their everyday lives. As we finish another academic year, I hope that all of us will similarly look back over the past year and critically reflect on our teaching. However, I also hope that we can connect that reflection to our values as teachers.

    As some of you know, I am on Facebook and periodically post on the STP Facebook page but I also follow other teaching and psychology related groups on Facebook.  It is this time of year when we see so many posts about the AP exam, inclusive of teachers questioning whether they taught the right things, whether they gave bad advice about how to take the test, and concerns about not compromising the test. Every AP teacher wants to do everything right, so that their students have the best chance at success. For all teachers, we see questions/posts about handling instances of academic dishonesty, running out of time to meet all the teaching goals we set for ourselves, stories of challenged grades, questions about rubrics, as well as stories of success.  These are all reflections but often reactive rather than proactive, situational rather than sustainable.

    For many teachers, these past two years have been the most challenging of their entire careers.  So I hope as your first reflection, you will pause and give yourself credit for all of your accomplishments. You have made a difference in the very stress-filled lives of your students and their families, as well as your colleagues and communities.  The pandemic forced many of us to try all sorts of new pedagogical and learning strategies and modalities. Take a moment to sit down and congratulate yourself, for handling all of the new challenges and for being adaptive and innovative. You not only survived but also grew as a teacher.

    Second, I hope you will examine all that you did right and where you fell short in your teaching. Sit down and focus on all that you did right. Think about what you did that was successful and how you can carry those practices into the future. If you had some failures along the way, reflect on what you can learn from those experiences but do not define the past two years by those missteps.  Yes, take a look at your course evaluations but look for the constructive comments.  If you are like me, you make a beeline to the most negative comment and dwell on that feedback. Well, sometimes these comments are the most instructive and can help you grow as a teacher. So, pause and critically examine the content of that comment. Of course, there are times, when a student may state that they don’t like your shoes (yes, I got that comment) and you can ignore such feedback. Also, look at the positive comments separating out the unhelpful (“Best professor ever!” Feels good doesn’t it!) from the instructive (“I really liked this assignment because . . .”) comments. Such information will help you plan for the future. Of course, I am a big fan of mid-semester course evaluations or conversations as a tool for reflection and possible course change during each semester (e.g., Keutzer, 1993). I’ve done it both formally and informally depending on the class size and level of the course. Each class is unique and such evaluations are helpful to learn if you are meeting these students’ particular needs and interests, as well as demonstrates respect for your students. It highlights that they are partners in the learning process.

    Third, you can evaluate all sorts of other markers of whether you feel you were successful in the past year or not. For example, I like to look at whether I successfully met the learning outcomes for the course using the results of various assessments as a measure for each of these goals. Or you can examine overall grades for each of your courses, comparing these grades to previous semesters.  Or you can evaluate your time management if you finished the material early or, more likely, ran out of time at the end of the term. There are lots of ways you can assess your own endeavors as a teacher.

    Further Reflection on Values

    Further, I really want you to reflect on your values as a teacher. Obviously, we want our students to learn and apply psychology to their everyday lives. But, what else do you value? You might reflect first on those teachers who stood out both positively and negatively in your life and what they did that was important. For me, it was whether the teacher exhibited respect for me and value for me as a human being. Hopefully, the days are gone when it was considered acceptable for a teacher to be disrespectful based on power and status or worse, based on differences in gender, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, national origin, LGBTQ+ identity, disability, and other elements of personal/cultural identity. I want students to see that I care about them as human beings and know that I will treat them with respect and dignity. I want students to see me as accessible if they are experiencing difficulties. I may not be able to fix their problems but I can listen and point them to appropriate resources for help. So, throughout the year, but particularly at the year’s end, I reflect on whether I treated students with fairness, kindness, support, and respect.

    Some other values for me are communication, alternate views of success for students, and cultural humility. I am grateful to students for their openness in discussions and all the feedback they provide me through the year. I’ve reframed “success” being tied to stellar academic achievement—it comes easy to some students—but rather tied to individual growth. I recall the 60+-year old student who never took a math class during her time in an inner-city high school. She worked like crazy, was incredibly stressed, had to learn new skills but ultimately she passed statistics with a C grade. I also remember the parent at graduation who came up profusely thanking the psychology faculty, as her son struggled throughout college. Mom never thought he would ever finish but he walked across the stage and got his diploma. These are the sorts of accomplishments that do not make it on any marketing posters but make a tangible difference in the lives of individual students, their families, and communities. I’ve also come to know that my cultural values and traditions, many of which are grounded in mainstream psychology, are not universal and there is so much that I do not know about other peoples and cultures. Hence, I have a commitment to work aimed at anti-bias education and decolonizing my courses, recognizing that I too have much to learn.

    So, take a moment. Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or perhaps an adult beverage. Find a quiet place and reflect on your values as a teacher.  How do these values shape your courses and teaching? I’m sure that some of your values and goals may be different than mine. And such differences make for great diverse educational environments and opportunities for students. Regardless, think about what is important to you and then examine how you translated those values into your courses this past year. Chances are—despite COVID, despite the stresses of the world—you will have much to celebrate as you reflect on how your values informed your accomplishments during the past year.

    And as a final thought: Know that I am grateful for all of you amazing teachers and your work is truly

    Reference

    Keutzer, C. S. (1993). Midterm evaluation of teaching provides helpful feedback to instructors. Teaching of Psychology, 20(4), 238-240. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15328023top2004_12
  • 08 Apr 2022 9:34 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Power of Teaching

    Linda Woolf, STP President

    April 8, 2022

    Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.

    Kofi Annan, Former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, 1997

    Kofi Annan (1997) was not only the 7th Secretary-General to lead the UN but also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who’s worked tirelessly for human rights, sustainable economic development, and international peace and freedom. Originally from Ghana, Annan worked his way up through the ranks of the UN to become a powerful voice—a voice aimed at lifting up those living in fear, conflict, and deep poverty. When given the opportunity to speak before the World Bank Conference on “Global Knowledge,” held in Toronto in 1997, he spoke about the power of information and education, as key to addressing local and global problems. He stated:

    We at the United Nations are convinced that information has a great democratizing power waiting to be harnessed to our global struggle for peace and development. We believe this because we are convinced that it is ignorance, not knowledge, that makes enemies of men. It is ignorance, not knowledge, that makes fighters of children. It is ignorance, not knowledge, that leads some to advocate tyranny over democracy. It is ignorance, not knowledge, that makes some think that human misery is inevitable. It is ignorance, not knowledge, that make others say that there are many worlds, when we know that there is one. Ours.

    With these words in mind, I celebrate that I am a teacher. I love teaching and I am passionate about what I teach. I love psychology and appreciate all of its underlying theoretical and philosophical ambiguities, its methodologies, and its concern for individuals, organizations, communities, and the planet. Psychology is a complex, challenging, and important discipline—a discipline interconnected with numerous other fields of study and practice. Fundamental to my passion for teaching is the belief that what I teach is important—it has value to people’s lives individually and collectively within a multi-cultural global community. What we teach and what our students learn make a tangible difference in their lives and the lives of others.

    Sadly, teaching is often undervalued. We see this marginalization of teachers in many forums within the United States (US). Indeed, we too often see a perceived hierarchy of value within psychology related to who teaches what kind of students and in what type of setting. In meetings, I have seen celebrations and congratulations when a colleague’s university has moved “up” the rankings of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The intention of these rankings is purely classification and based on number and types of degrees awarded (e.g., Doctorates) and amount of research. It is not designed to imply that one school necessarily is better than another but rather just documents differences in institutional focus. Yet, movement from an R2 to an R1 is often celebrated because it is perceived as an increase in status, prestige, and overall worth of an institution and the individuals who study/teach at such institutions. The rankings imply a hierarchy of worth.

    Occasionally, I will meet someone, and they will ask the proverbial, “What do you do?” question. I answer that I am a teacher. Occasionally, the person will get excited and comment that they are also a teacher. The conversation is off to a good start! Then they ask, “Where do you teach?” and I name my university. It saddens my heart, when on occasion they reply, “Oh, I only teach . . .” adding high school, junior high or at some other level. Why the modifier of “only”? Of course, I experience the flip side when I meet a person and I hear the disappointed “Oh” and loss of eye contact when they learn I do not teach at an R1/2 university.

    Now I personally think that high school teachers of psychology are absolute heroes! They represent the front line of bringing psychology to hundreds of thousands of students each year across the US. These students may never attend a college of any sort, but they will bring what they have learned in their psychology classes into their future careers and lives. And it is not just content (i.e., psychological literacy), but these students also have learned the fundamentals of scientific thinking and reasoning—skills aimed at making them better consumers of information and better citizens. They learn about the diversity of the human experience and ethical reasoning. High school teachers are the front line in the fight against ignorance, as described by Kofi Annan (1997). High school teachers of psychology are some of the best-prepared and most knowledgeable teachers of introductory psychology that I have ever met. And while I am at it—I can say the same thing about community college teachers. Our community college colleagues are excellent teachers, who are focused on providing high quality educational experiences to students across a range of psychology courses. Remember that First Lady Jill Biden is a proud community college teacher!

    Although, within some circles, a hierarchy of worth exists based on where one teaches, I think it is important to know that this belief is NOT supported within the Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP). We are all teachers, and all of our voices are valued. Regardless of who you are and where you teach, your voice is welcome and heard. Everyone can join in discussions, ask questions, engage in professional scholarship (e.g., conference presentations; eBook chapters), apply for grants/awards, participate in committees and task forces, and run for office! There are many opportunities and resources, some of which are focused specifically for high school and community college teachers (e.g., High School Teacher Travel Grants; Wayne Weiten Teaching Excellence Award—2-year colleges; Mary Margaret Moffett Memorial Teaching Excellence Award—high school). Regardless, we are all teachers, and we share that common bond.

    I should add that I had the privilege of working with APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) a few years back. What an amazing group of individuals and indeed, many within STP have been involved in TOPSS over the years, such as Kristin Whitlock, current STP Vice President for Programming, who teaches at Davis High School in Kaysville, Utah. If you haven’t checked out the TOPSS webpage, run and take a look at all the resources, which you too can use in your courses!

    Kofi Annan (1997) spoke of “What can we do, what can you do” in relation to education on a global, as a key element of international peace, sustainable development, and human security. Some of his key points involved global access/reduced censorship, with a focus on shared information between countries across a range of technologies with improved infrastructure supports. Certainly, STP’s international initiatives and partnerships fit within this vision. But Annan also included the following:

    • Initiate innovative approaches to education and learning at all levels, understanding the cultural contexts in order to ensure the greatest achievement of knowledge.
    • Ensure that the young will be the first to gain this knowledge and to make it their partner in the pursuit of a better, richer life for themselves and for their peoples.

    Recognizing the value of K-12 teachers, community college teachers, teachers on tribal lands, teachers at HBCUs, online teachers, programs aimed at first generation college students, teachers in prisons, and others reaching out to make education inclusive and accessible for all students fulfills the vision of Kofi Annan. Eliminating our beliefs, both implicit and explicit, about not just a hierarchy of what students are worthy but also the value of different educational contexts is essential. We need to change the hierarchical narrative to a vision that values diversity, equity, and inclusion for students, for teachers, and across educational contexts and opportunities.

    Certainly, these ideas are mirrored in the STP Mission Statement (just in case you haven’t seen it!):

    The Society for the Teaching of Psychology promotes excellence in the teaching and learning of psychology. The Society provides resources and services, access to a global collaborative community, and opportunities for professional development. It endeavors to promote equity and social justice for teachers and students of psychology with marginalized, racially minoritized, and intersecting identities. The Society also strives to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning; advocate for the needs of teachers of psychology; promote diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the teaching and learning of psychology; foster partnerships across academic settings; and increase recognition of the value of the teaching profession.

    Reference

    Annan, K. (1997, June 23). Press release: 'If information and knowledge are central to democracy, they are conditions for development', says Secretary-General. https://www.un.org/press/en/1997/19970623.sgsm6268.html

  • 09 Mar 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Linda Woolf, 2022 STP President

    Early in my career, I began attending teaching conferences. As a confirmed introvert, I was really nervous—these conferences tend to be small and include some big names in the teaching of psychology (STP’s Annual Conference on Teaching is an excellent example and opportunity).  Nonetheless, I knew I needed to learn more about the fundamentals of teaching and I wanted an opportunity to share my own professional scholarship. One year, I put together a poster about teaching the Holocaust to psychology students and a year later, another poster entitled, “Genocide, mass violence, and human rights.” These posters sparked a lot of interest and conversation. However, I also got the occasional comment: “What does this have to do with psychology?” and “This is too political!”

    Such comments are still present today and pop up in many forums.  Someone will raise an issue concerning a current event on Facebook and someone else will chime in with comments that this page is about teaching and not politics. At conferences when policies are being debated or presentations involve current world events, someone will invariably state that the pendulum has moved too far towards the political spectrum and we need to move back to the science. Those statements, generally very well-meaning, are grounded in assumptions about our discipline and science.   

    When I was first faced with such comments, I responded with a nervous, “We study all kinds of human behavior. Why not study people killing other people in large numbers?” Today my responses are more nuanced and specific.  For example, I have a passion for human rights, particularly for those persons and peoples who have been routinely denied such rights in the United States and around the globe. A political topic? Absolutely. Unrelated to science? Absolutely not.  Science and human rights do not exist as opposite ends of the spectrum but rather respect for human rights is a fundamental ethical principle underlying science. Indeed, when human rights have been ignored, we have examples of bad science (e.g., Tuskegee, Tearoom Trade, Fernald School radiation studies). We can make the same case about the interrelatedness of issues such as social justice and diversity to science and discuss the historic use of science as a tool for political oppression when justice/diversity concerns and populations are ignored.

    Sadly, today the reality of science itself has become designated as a political topic Science is being uniformly dismissed, denied, and devalued—essentially equated with political opinion. I doubt that many of us would challenge the importance of critical thinking and skepticism when reviewing scientific findings. Indeed, those are fundamental components of the scientific process. However, the current trend of anti-science or scientific denial is a completely different creature. Lewandowsky and colleagues (2016) document that those who deny scientific research often rely on conspiracy theories and engage in personal attacks on researchers. Of course, it is important to note that such scientific denialism can come from all ends of the political spectrum (Lobato & Zimmerman, 2018).  Regardless, if used ethically, science, inclusive of both qualitative and quantitative research, can help to provide answers to issues, which impact us personally, locally, and globally.

    So can we as teachers ignore events in the world around us today because the issue may be deemed “political”? Over the past two years, our students have been exposed to and are concerned about a host of world events, which are increasingly being defined as largely political: COVID, the attack on Ukraine, Supreme Court cases related to the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and Indigenous rights, #Me Too movement, challenged elections, and the death of George Floyd and countless others translating into the Black Lives Matter movement, the impact climate change, and the list goes on. Psychology has a lot to say and offer about all of these topics and more.  For some of these topics (e.g., diversity), you can find teaching resources on the STP webpage –just explore!

    Regardless, in some states within the US, laws are being passed prohibiting the teaching of topics deemed too political.  For example, laws against teaching critical race theory could severally impact the ability of psychology teachers to address not only topics of prejudice and discrimination but most importantly, systemic and structural foundations of oppression based on race and ethnicity, as defined in the US. Or how can teachers, particularly our amazing colleagues who teach high school psychology address topics of human sexuality and gender diversity if such topics are prohibited in the classroom? Indeed, the College Board has issued a set of principles, which includes the following:

    AP opposes censorship. AP is animated by a deep respect for the intellectual freedom of teachers and students alike. If a school bans required topics from their AP courses, the AP Program removes the AP designation from that course and its inclusion in the AP Course Ledger provided to colleges and universities. For example, the concepts of evolution are at the heart of college biology, and a course that neglects such concepts does not pass muster as AP Biology.

    At first glance, it might seem “easier” to just avoid topics, which might be deemed “too political” or lead to difficult dialogues in the classroom. And, I should note that the risks are real for teachers in some educational contexts.  Regardless, I would encourage you not to avoid these topics, if you can. Such avoidance may lead students to see psychology as irrelevant or out of touch with the world they face every day. Moreover, we want our students to come to understand our science, the contributions it can make to the world, and for them to learn the skills and knowledge needed to be effective citizens in a rapidly changing global environment. Additionally, these topics affect many of our students in a personal way. For example, to ignore current issues related to the rights of LGBTQ+ students, the rights of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian-Pacific Islander, and other students of color, the reproductive rights of women, etc. sends a message that somehow our students may be unworthy because of who they are—they should be ignored. Of course, that is not true and we need to recognize that our science is not only political but it is also personal.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t provide a few suggestions so you can keep yourself out of trouble.

    Stay grounded in research and scholarship. Use the resources provided by United Nations, APA, the research literature, etc., and when in class, always come back to a critical evaluation of these sources. There are a significant number of materials on the APA website, particularly the Public Interest website. There you will find a host of policies, resources, and publications, all extensively referenced. You will also find information to help students who may themselves be struggling to survive due to the stresses of marginalization, war, COVID, poverty, and more. For example, just this week, APA published, “How to handle the trauma of war from afar” (Abrams, 2022).

    Draw on history for examples. Current topics may spark great discussions but may also lead to emotional thinking and arguments. Have students search for and draw connections to the past and review the research on those topics.

    Model respectful dialogue. Establish and model what you expect of your students and the critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating psychological research on “political” topics. It is both what you say and how you say it that can either promote or inhibit respectful dialogue. Note that there are numerous resources online about effectively navigating controversial conversations (e.g., DifficultDialogues.org). 

    Reach out for support. When in doubt, reach out to your colleagues, your administration, and your STP friends.  STP is active on social media, so drop by and have a conversation.

    Throughout my career, I have often reflected on the words of Dr. Carolyn Payton, a psychologist who was also the first woman and first African-American to serve as Director of the United States Peace Corps.  In her address to the APA Convention, upon receiving a life-time achievement award, she asked,  “Who must do the hard things?” She then gave the answer, “Those who can.” She further referenced a colleague who expanded the query with, “Who must do the impossible things? Those who care” (Payton, 1984, p. 397).  As teachers of psychology, we not only can do the hard things because we care, we can teach our students to follow a similar path. We can highlight that what they learn matters and they too can go out, exhibit care, and make a difference in the world.

    References

     

    Abrams, Z. (2022, February 28). How to handle the trauma of war from afar. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2022/trauma-war-afar

    Lewandowsky, S., Mann, M. E., Brown, N. J. L., & Friedman H. (2016). Science and the public: Debate, denial, and skepticism. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 4, 537–553. doi:10.5964/jspp.v4i2.604

    Lobato, E. J. C., & Zimmerman, C. (2018). The Psychology of (pseudo)science: Cognitive, social, and cultural factors. In A. B. Kaufman & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.) Pseudoscience: The conspiracy against science (pp. 21-44). MIT Press.

    Payton, C. R. (1984).  Who must do the hard things? American Psychologist, 39, 391-397. doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.39.4.391

  • 05 Feb 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    February: Let’s Celebrate Black History Month!

    Linda Woolf, STP President

    "Won't it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of US history is taught from one book. Just US history. I am trying to work myself out of a job by being so active extolling the virtues of African Americans." Maya Angelou (cited in Muir, 2012)

    Often discussions of the history of Blacks in the United States (US) have focused on the destructive harms committed by privileged Whites against Africans forcibly brought to this country and enslaved. It is an essential history to learn, as is learning about the far-reaching legacies left behind from the eras of enslavement and racist eugenic ideas of human hierarchies to today with the ongoing fight for social justice. Certainly, the American Psychological Association (APA) has been grappling with this history and has begun the processes of apology, reconciliation, and reparative justice.  STP also has been wrestling with its own history and legacies, issuing the Statement on Addressing Systemic Racism and Inequity in STP and looking at structural processes affecting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.  Moreover, STP is working actively to increase diversity related resources, blog posts, publications, conference offerings, and more.  Important work but is there anything else we should be reflecting on during Black History Month? The answer is “Yes!”

    What is often omitted from Black history discussions are the legacies of resilience, accomplishments/triumphs, inspired communities, rich cultural tapestries, and soaring spirits of African-Americans, who not only survived but also thrived under systems of exclusion. I think it is this history that forms the basis for celebrating Black History Month, which sets the stage for greater inclusion throughout the year.

    I’m sure that many of you are like me, and when psychology was first introduced to you, you were taught about the “fathers of psychology”—a bunch of White men.  Gradually, over the years, I was introduced to women pioneers in the field, who previously had been written out of history. However, I still was not exposed to the breadth of Black pioneering psychologists, who have shaped our discipline. There is an amazing history for us to explore, learn, and celebrate.  So for this Black History Month, I want to recognize the work of a few of these Black pioneer psychologists and call on everyone to learn more.

    Many psychology textbooks today include the story of Kenneth Clark and Mamie Phipps Clark. Kenneth Clark became the first African-American President of APA and both are remembered for their pivotal work before and during the Civil Rights Movement. Most notably, they are recognized for their groundbreaking Doll Study research, which paved the way for their expert testimony before the Supreme Court in 1954 with Brown vs. Board of Education, ending mandated segregation of schools. 

    However, how many of us have learned about Inez Beverly Prosser, PhD, “the first Black women to earn a doctorate in psychology”? Her dissertation, “The Non-Academic Development of Negro Children in Mixed and Segregated Schools,” helped form the basis for early arguments against school segregation and was also cited in that 1954 Supreme Court case. Of course, I should also mention Ruth Winifred Howard, PhD, “the first African-American women to earn a doctorate in psychology,” who worked with troubled girls as well as students with special needs. As to who really was “the first,” it appears to depend on whom you read and your definition of what should count as a psychology doctoral degree at the time.

    Of course, we know that desegregation did not simply end segregation. Beverly Daniel Tatum, PhD. in her book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria And Other Conversations About Race, wrote, “Our public schools are more segregated today than they were in 1980, as measured by the percentage of all Black students who are attending schools that are ’90-100% non-White” (2017; Prologue).  Dr. Tatum’s examination of the effects of racism on Black children’s identities in school and problems with the educational system earned her the 2014 APA Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology.  

    Some other early educational leaders:

    Francis Cecil Sumner, PhD, is often referred to as the “Father of Black Psychology.”  He was the first African-American to earn a doctorate in psychology. He helped found the Psychology Department at Howard University and served as a teacher and mentor to individuals such as the Clarks.

    Albert Sidney Beckham, PhD, is often cited as the first Black school psychologist. He also worked to found the first psychology laboratory at Howard University. His research examined a range of topics such as artistic and musical abilities in Black children, IQ testing, the role of the environment in juvenile delinquency, and racial attitudes of Black adolescents. 

    George Canady, PhD. was the first psychologist to study bias in IQ tests by examining the role and effect of the test administrator on the IQ results for non-White children.

    Robert Lee Williams, II, PhD, challenged the idea that IQ test results were equitable and is remembered as the creator of the Black Intelligence Test of Cultural Homogeneity. He demonstrated that differences in IQ often cited by eugenicists to falsely claim White superiority failed to address differences in the environment and culture.

    Joseph White, PhD, wrote and advocated for the creation of Black Psychology. He argued that the application of White psychology defined as normal created the illusion of an inferior Black Psychology. In his writing he focused on a strength-based approach and description of Black psychology and culture. He is one of the founders of the Association of Black Psychologists. As such, he also has been described as the “Father of Black Psychology.”

    Of course, there are too many individuals to celebrate in this short column!  I do want to mention two others as their work and legacies are remarkable beyond the university and are just personal favorites of mine.

    Carolyn Robertson Payton, EdD, was the first psychologist, first female, and first African-American Director of the US Peace Corps.  A pioneer in the field of multi-cultural psychology, Payton (1984) asked, “Who must do the hard things?” (p. 391).  She stressed that psychology has an important role to play in understanding and addressing social issues.  As an educator, leader, mentor, scholar, and policy-maker, Payton confronted issues of social inequality and justice exemplifying her belief that psychology is not just about research but also direct action to improve the lives of others.

    Olivia Hooker, PhD was originally rejected by the Navy but challenged the Navy’s decision and won. Nevertheless, she decided not to join the Navy and went on to become the first African-American woman to enter the U.S. Coast Guard and served towards the end of and after WWII. Later, Dr. Hooker became a school psychologist. It also is important to highlight that she was a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre.

    Of course, I could write about so many other Black psychologists who have shaped our discipline and our understanding of psychology. But more importantly, how can we help our students learn this history and include Black psychology into our work today?

    One of the projects that I do with my History of Psychology class is something I call the “Lost in History” project.  I give them a basic instruction: “You will be responsible for creating a one-page infographic highlighting the works of an early psychologist who has been lost in history due to their status within a marginalized group.” I also tell them that they cannot select a person who is already presented in their textbook. I provide them some basic resources such as APA’s I Am Psyched and Ethnicity, Race, and Cultural Affairs Portfolio (ERCA) Featured Psychologists.  I have these students provide each other feedback about their work with opportunities for revision. Then (during non-COVID times), we place these infographics around the department as a way to celebrate these psychologists’ accomplishments through the entire year.

    In my Introduction to Psychology class, I open the class by highlighting the work of a range of psychologists with various intersectional identities. I want my students to see individuals who look and identify similar to themselves—individuals who have gone on to amazing careers in psychology and related fields.  A quick look at recent Black APA Presidents includes: Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD., first Black woman President of the Association, Rosie Phillips Davis, PhD, Jennifer F. Kelly, PhD, and current APA President Frank Worrell, PhD.  You can read about Dr. Worrell and then explore links to previous Presidents on the governance webpage. You will find brief biographies but also links to videos and publications. In addition, I like to have my students look online for research and publications by Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) psychologists, neuroscientists, etc. related to the various topics we cover in class. I want them to not only learn about the research and accomplishments but also to see their own possible futures.

    As we progress through Black History Month, let us work with our students to highlight the work of Black Psychologists and other leaders, celebrating their lives and accomplishments. If you learn about a BIPOC scholar that got “lost in history” or someone who everyone should know about today, share what you have learned on the STP Facebook page, via Twitter, or other social media. Let us all learn and celebrate together.

    For more information about Black History Month, see:

    References

    Muir, H. (2012, February 15).  Maya Angelou: 'Barack Obama has done a remarkable job.’ The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/feb/15/maya-angelou-barack-obama-remarkable-job

    Payton, C. R. (1984).  Who must do the hard things? American Psychologist, 39, 391-397.

    Tatum, B. D. (2017). Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria and other conversations about race (Kindle edition). Basic Books.

  • 17 Jan 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Legacy and Call to Action

    By Linda M. Woolf, STP President

    I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Today we celebrate and honor the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is a day of remembrance but also a day of action. In 1994, Congress passed legislation designating the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal holiday as a Day of Service—"a day on, not a day off." Around the country, individuals are engaged in endeavors designed to improve the lives of others, build communities, break down barriers, and spread the message of Dr. King. It is a day of kindness grounded in a message of social justice.

    In 1967, Dr. King addressed the American Psychological Association (APA) at the annual convention. If you have not read his speech or if you have not read it recently, please take a moment to read and reflect: The Role of the Behavioral Scientist in the Civil Rights Movement. Although the language used today may be different, the concerns and challenges raised by Dr. King are just as real and profound as over a half-century ago—protest, political division, voting, war, discrimination, unemployment, vast disparities built into the structures of society, and daily injustices directed against individuals based on the color of their skin. As stated by Dr. King, “It is my deep conviction that justice is indivisible, that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The work and vision of Dr. King is unfinished.

    In his address to convention, Dr. King spoke about a common psychological concept—maladjustment.  However, he argued against “adjustment” to what long has been defined as “normal”—a historically-defined “normal,” which includes not only deeply rooted prejudice and discrimination within society but also cultural, structural, and systemic barriers oppressing Black individuals and communities in the United States. As noted by Dr. King, “discrimination explains a great deal, but not everything.” 

    Today, we recognize that many of our beliefs and social structures were created with the idea of White European ancestry and culture as “normal” and all others defined as “different” and in need of adjustment, assimilation, or civilization. We recognize many of these biases remain within our society, as to what is defined as “normal” and hence “correct” based on ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, religion, economic status, age, language, immigration status, physical and mental abilities, and so many other expressions of humanity. Within psychology, simply the term “abnormal psychology” carries with it a host of beliefs and attributions about individuals who experience “disorder.” Should we resist change to our beliefs and our actions simply because we have adjusted to ideas of what is “normal” or more often, “We have always done it this way”?  Dr. King spoke to those of us in psychology:

    I am sure that we will recognize that there are some things in our society, some things in our world, to which we should never be adjusted. There are some things concerning which we must always be maladjusted if we are to be people of good will. We must never adjust ourselves to racial discrimination and racial segregation. We must never adjust ourselves to religious bigotry. We must never adjust ourselves to economic conditions that take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. We must never adjust ourselves to the madness of militarism, and the self-defeating effects of physical violence.

    This past October, APA passed two historic resolutions, which not only apologized for its role in past and ongoing racism against Peoples of Color (PoC) but also set forth a call for action and a plan to address the continuing harms caused by the discipline and practice of psychology against PoC. I wrote about these Resolutions in a column entitled, “APA Passes Historic Apology To People of Color.” Take a look at this column. You will find additional information about these Resolutions, teaching, and resources from Society for the Teaching of Psychology (STP) and from APA.

    Certainly, as teachers, we are intimately aware of our call to service and we daily engage in productive action through teaching, research, scholarship, and advocacy. Our work is important. Nonetheless, as I wrote, “I encourage us all to work to "decolonize" our courses, syllabi, research, etc. to make our classes and our disciplinary understanding more inclusive. Within our departments or collegial groups, we can have conversations about what we can do to learn from diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts related to the teaching of psychology and how to translate that information into our respective courses.” As noted, this column includes links to resources that you can explore related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of both STP and APA. Take some time to explore these teaching materials.

    Today on MLK day, I urge us all again to reflect on not just what we teach but also how we teach so as to meet the needs of students, particularly Black, Indigenous, Pacific-Islander-Asian, Latinx, and other students of color. I encourage us to work within our neighborhoods to reduce educational barriers and create more inclusive and welcoming learning environments for all within our diverse student communities. Certainly, change is never easy and there will be those who challenge efforts to be more inclusive in our courses and teaching. However, in the words of Dr. King, ““The time is always right to do what is right.”

  • 09 Jan 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Linda Woolf, STP President

    I have a rescue dog, Ozzie, who came into my life not that long ago. Unfortunately, it turned out he was heartworm positive.  We caught it early, so treatment has a very high chance of success.  Nonetheless, for the past 14 weeks, Ozzie has been confined to “bed rest.”  That translates as very short walks, no steps, no jumping or running, and lots of confinement to a crate.  I bought him lots of toys and showered him with affection. He was content but seemed to carry a sadness. Well, this week, his treatment protocol and confinement came to an end.  We walked outside—no leash.  It took him a few confused moments but then he took off running and jumping around the yard. He spent his time sniffing, exploring, and chasing the birds. His experience seems an apt metaphor for the past two years. With COVID once again dominating many of our lives, how many of us not only feel confined but less content—sadness, stress, and a sense of unpredictability. We look towards the day when we can walk about through our lives and into our classrooms unencumbered.

    We have all had to change the way we teach in response to COVID. Most of us made the mad dash to a virtual classroom in 2020 and may still be teaching primarily synchronously online or in an asynchronous format.  Today, some of us may be teaching face-to-face in socially distanced settings wearing facemasks, while others may be teaching in situations with few protections. We certainly know that these unpredictable times are challenging for our students.  Much has been written for teachers to help us provide support for our students. For example, APA has put together modules, Building Student Resilience, which teachers can use at 4-8 grades and high school levels. Certainly, these materials can be used at the college level as well.  Many resources have been developed related to teaching online and under these new conditions. Indeed, Past-President Susan Nolan formed a task force aimed at Pivot Teaching last year and you can read Chair Jenel Cavazos’ update about their work in Susan’s last column. There is also a new STP eBook, which focuses on Teaching Psychology Online.

    But what about meeting the needs of teachers themselves? Any one of us who have spent any time on social media has read our colleagues’ requests for support and resources to ensure that we are all providing the best educational opportunities for our students. We care about our students and their learning. However, we have also witnessed colleagues and friends exhibit stress and pain, as they struggle with an array of situations from massive burnout to concerns about their health and safety to the loss of colleagues, students, and loved ones. What can we do to take care of ourselves?

    I’m not a clinician, so being an academic, the first thing I did was go to PsycInfo and put in the terms “teacher stress or teacher burnout” and “COVID.”  I got very few hits but was gratified to see that half of the results were dissertations. In a few years, we will have more research on this topic! Regardless, here are my thoughts based on extrapolations from materials aimed at students but also positive psychology.

    Reflection, Resilience, and Reframing: Look back over the past year and examine those moments of challenge.  Do not focus solely on where you faltered or what you should have done better—these are often my first instincts! Self-reflection is a positive strategy but not if it is drowned out by the drumbeat of self-criticism.  Frame your thinking to examine your growth as a teacher, your new coping and reliance strategies, and your myriad of successes.  Do not focus largely on the losses due to COVID, which are real, but rather, on all that has been gained. Yes, there are things I really miss about my “old teaching life” but most of it is still there. Moreover, the pandemic has really stretched my skills as an educator and I think I am a much better teacher than I was two years ago. Do your own reflection and be kind to yourself!

    Health: Negative and chronic stress has an impact on all of us physically.  Unfortunately, it is all too easy to reach for that bag of Cheetos when feeling stressed! I know that I am preaching to the informed, however, all of us may need a reminder to at times, just breathe. Take time to listen to your body, breathe, perhaps meditate, be mindful, eat a bit healthier, sleep, and exercise.  Plan time to step away from the stress by whatever way works for you whether reading, taking a walk, a hobby, pickleball, or watching British mysteries. Make a time commitment to yourself, to your health, and to your well-being.

    Gratitude: Certainly, positive psychology teaches us the value of gratitude.  Each day look for those elements in life for which you are grateful. Guy Boysen wrote a wonderful E-xcellence in Teaching post this week entitled, “Teachers’ Intense Dislike for Students.” Great discussion of a difficult topic, which we often just converse behind closed doors.  Interestingly, one of the ways I have found to cope with those students is to look for things that I do like about them even if obscure and why I am grateful that they are in my classroom. Usually if my attitude changes, they respond—even if just a little.  Of course, if one has a threatening or dangerous student, then other measures may need to be taken. Regardless, look for elements in your life for which you are grateful and nurture those elements.

    Meaningfulness:  Well-being has been linked to finding meaning in life. Many of you may find that connection through family, spiritual or cultural beliefs, or social activism. I’m sure that many of us also find meaning through our teaching and other professional activities. And, yes, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in STP!   I know, some of you may be thinking, “I’m feeling burnt out and she thinks I should add something to my schedule!??”  To which I would respond, “I get that.” Take the time to evaluate what is important to you, what brings you the most meaning, and balance your efforts. I’m reminded of the following quote by Betty White, “I’m the luckiest person in the world. My life is divided in absolute half: half animals, half show business. They’re the two things I love the most and I have to stay in show business to pay for my animal work!”  I’m sure that Ms. White had lots of demands for her time but she focused on the two things she loved most, spreading joy throughout her 99 years. Find meaning and balance.

    Use STP Resources:  You do not need to do everything yourself!  Are you taking over a class at the last minute? Did the activity you always used in the past not translate well into the online environment? Are there new topics that you really want to add to your courses based on world events or a new understanding of the discipline? We grow, we learn, but we do not need to always reinvent the wheel.  Our time is valuable, and we are part of an STP community with a wealth of resources and knowledge. For example, browse the STP website for eBooks on all sorts of topics ranging from lab projects for classes to diversity materials.  Check out Project Syllabus, Resources by Topics or Course, the various teaching blogs, and the list goes on! Of course, the STP programming is second to none and we hope that the Annual Conference on Teaching will be in person this year. Of course, you will find STP programming as part of a range of national as well international conferences—all listed on our webpage. STP is also on social media forums such as Facebook.  The Facebook page, as well as the STP listservs, PsychTeacher and Div2GSTA (graduate student), are excellent avenues for support, help, and networking. And, of course, do not forget Teaching of Psychology (ToP), our amazing journal filled with evidence-based best practices, activities, articles, and other materials. If you are not already a member of STP, supporting the work of psychology teachers at all levels, then JOIN—if for no other reason than to get ToP!

    Finally, I cannot end this first column of the year without thanking Susan Nolan and Amy Fineburg.  Amy is ending her term as Past-President and Susan is rotating into that role. Both have been instrumental in leading STP through the past two challenging years. As noted previously, Susan is leaving a legacy through the work of her various task forces. I would also add that both Susan and Amy have a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and internationalization (DEII) and that commitment is reflected in their work within STP and the discipline over the past two years. I hope to continue that work and I know whenever I have a question about what I should do, I’ll ask myself, “What would Susan or Amy do?”  I thank them for their leadership.

    In closing, I would comment that there have been times in my life when I viewed the proverbial glass as half empty; other times as half full.  During COVID, I am learning that the glass is refillable.  There are strategies that I can engage in to make me a better teacher and more accessible to my students. There are also strategies that I can use to refill my glass to avoid burnout and maintain the joy in what I do.  My pup Ozzie needed to wait till the end of his illness to run, explore, jump, and feel the joy.  We do not need to wait till the end of COVID to refuel, reignite our passion for teaching, and experience the joy!  STP is here to help and here’s to a good new year!

    P.S. Make sure you keep your dogs on heartworm prevention!

  • 06 Dec 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    APA Passes Historic Apology To People of Color

    by Linda M. Woolf, STP President-Elect

    During the early days of our discipline, psychological “research,” theory, and practice was central to the eugenics movement with destructive ideological beliefs grounded in social Darwinism. Psychologists involved in this movement helped craft policies, which led to forced sterilizations of “inferiors,” immigration quotas, race laws, and charted a path to genocide supported by “research” differentiating between those of White northwest European-based stock and “primitive man.” Psychologists endeavored to reify racist and colonialist beliefs through collections of invalid data, such as intelligence measures, based on anthropomorphic measures. Sadly, these ideas are not simply obscure elements of the past but have resurfaced regularly within the history of psychology.

    In this brief article, I want to highlight the recent work of APA to address this history of harm and briefly discuss how we can use this work in our teaching of psychology. At the forefront of APA’s efforts is a historic apology of APA to Black, Indigenous, and other Peoples of Color.

    APA Resolutions

    The Council of Representatives (CoR) for the American Psychological Association (APA) met on October 29, 2021 and formally apologized for its role in past and ongoing racism against Peoples of Color (PoC). APA acknowledged that it “failed in its role leading the discipline of psychology, was complicit in contributing to systemic inequities, and hurt many through racism, racial discrimination, and denigration of communities of color, thereby falling short on its mission to benefit society and improve lives.” For many individuals, this apology was long overdue. Nonetheless, it represents a beginning; it outlines many of the historic harms, the importance of an apology, the apology, and potential next steps.

    You can read the full text of the Apology to People of Color for APA’s Role in Promoting, Perpetuating, and Failing to Challenge Racism, Racial Discrimination, and Human Hierarchy in U.S.

    This Apology Resolution does not stand alone as a finished product but rather represents a first step toward restorative justice. For example, the Resolution commits to future APA actions, which “could include targeted apologies and restorative processes for specific communities of color that extend beyond the content, format, and style of this formal Council resolution to be responsive to, and respectful of, the unique cultures and traditions of a given group, such as by the inclusion of elements respectful of the cultural traditions of Indigenous peoples."

    Additionally, the Resolution includes the following, "Therefore, be it resolved that future APA actions could also include targeted interventions to benefit other groups that have experienced systems of oppression, including those based on religion, sex, class, sexual orientation and gender diversity, and disability identity."

    As such, the Resolution acknowledges that more work needs to be done to address specific harms against the diversity of groups identified as PoC. Additionally, the Resolution recognizes that harms have occurred within psychology against other persons and peoples, which have been systematically marginalized by the discipline and profession.

    At the October meeting, CoR passed two additional anti-racism resolutions. The second Resolution outlined a commitment and steps aimed at dismantling racism within the Association, the discipline of psychology, and within the United States. The third Resolution focused on a commitment to health equity for all persons and peoples of the United States and the role psychology will play in eliminating inequities. Together, these three Resolutions signal APA's and all of psychology's commitment to human rights and social justice for all both within the U.S. and as part of APA's global mission. The Resolutions build upon a February 2021 CoR Resolution, Harnessing Psychology to Combat Racism: Adopting a Uniform Definition and Understanding. This Resolution began efforts to define and address four levels of racism—internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural—and how APA can work to address these harms within the Association but also in the broader society.

    It is important to note that the Association of Black Psychologists issued a response to the Apology Resolution. I urge everyone to read this letter as it highlights the pain, depth, and complexity of issues as APA begins this process.

    Teaching

    So, what does this mean for our teaching and our students? I encourage us all to work to "decolonize" our courses, syllabi, research, etc. to make our classes and our disciplinary understanding more inclusive. Within our departments or collegial groups, we can have conversations about what we can do to learn from diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts related to the teaching of psychology and how to translate that information into our respective courses.

    For more about STP’s work and DEI resources, see http://teachpsych.org and click on the Diversity tab. But don’t stop there! Throughout the website you will find eBooks, conference presentations, and a host of other resources aimed at not just creating more inclusive classrooms but integrating DEI materials into your courses. Check STP News for ongoing updates regarding the Task Force on Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and International Initiatives Across STP. This DEI task force began work under the initiative of Past-President Amy Fineburg and has continued under the guidance of President Susan Nolan. These efforts will continue in 2022. The STP Diversity Committee chaired by Teceta Thomas Tormala with members, Jennifer L. Lovell, Viji Sathy, Sasha Cervantes, Leslie Berntsen, and Dina Gohar, supports and expands upon this work. You can find out more about this important committee here. at http://teachpsych.org/page-1537443. I also urge you to explore the APA Public Interest Directorate for more DEI materials for use in your courses.

    What I like in particular about any of APA’s policy resolutions is that these documents contain a fountain of information and references you can use in your courses. For example, you not only can share and discuss these anti-Racism Resolutions with your students but you also can dig deeper to explore specific elements of these Resolutions and the materials cited. You also may want to share APA President Jennifer Kelly's opening video to CoR, which highlights the anti-Racism work of APA this past year.

    I would be remiss if I did not tell you that part of the process of drafting the anti-Racism Resolutions, APA commissioned a historic review by the Cummings Center, the Psychology Archives/Museum in Akron. The Center put together a Historical Chronology examining Psychology’s Contributions to the Belief in Racial Hierarchy and Perpetuation of Inequality for People of Color in U.S. As noted in the Chronology, the document is incomplete, as the voices of oppressed victims rarely get to record their history and stories. Nonetheless, it is a concise overview not only of harms but also significant moments of DEI progress made by APA over the decades. And again, the references are a goldmine.

    Finally, as we know, psychology has a diversity problem in relation to the pipeline from high school to undergraduate programs to graduate school and beyond. What can we do to help our students see themselves as future members of the psychology workforce or as psychologists and leaders in the field? From the Resolution:

    APA will prioritize efforts in training, opening pathways, and workforce development, such as those that expand opportunities for students of color to pursue careers in psychology; promote mentorship of psychologists of color; improve psychology graduate education and training to include diverse, non-Western cultural perspectives; increase mechanisms, strategies, and practices to raise participation and success rates for psychologists of color in academia, publishing, and governmental licensing; increase representation of communities of color throughout APA’s elected and appointed leadership; expand opportunities for leadership and leadership training for psychologists of color; and enhance the visibility of psychologists of diverse backgrounds.

    The Education Directorate as well as STP have been and will continue to be involved in such efforts.

    I want to thank STP’s Council Representatives Maureen McCarthy and Jodie B. Ullman for their diligent efforts on Council. These are positions are often not visible to most STP members. Yet their work is essential for promoting educational interests within APA as well as broader policies such as these anti-Racism resolutions. Their leadership on CoR has been exemplary.

  • 03 Dec 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Susan Nolan, STP President

    Just a year ago, I lamented in one of my presidential letters that this was not the year I would have chosen to be STP President. I will readily admit that it’s still not the year I would have chosen; yet, serving STP in this way during such a challenging year has been professionally and personally rewarding. And it has showcased the deep wells of talent, experience, creativity, and empathy among our leaders and members. It has been an honor to work with and for all of you, and to benefit from the uncountable contributions you have made to our community and to our students.

    In my final presidential letter, I want to thank my colleagues on the Executive Committee from whom I learned so much in our monthly meetings and ongoing email threads, and (just as importantly this year) who made me laugh. A lot.

    I also want to recognize the many members of STP’s leadership and committees. STP is so fortunate that you have chosen to share your talents with us, and I am grateful to have worked directly with so many of you. I also want to express thanks to all the members who have contributed to the success of STP in so many different ways – from editing e-books to moderating social media to reviewing award nominations to presenting as part of our conference programming. I am lucky to count so many of you as colleagues and friends.

    In spite of the pandemic and other challenges and because of the dedication of so many talented volunteers, STP accomplished a great deal this year. (See below, for example, for the accomplishments of our task forces!) But one of the initiatives I’m most excited about is our newly created Advocacy Committee. This past summer, I worked with Executive Director Tom Pusateri, Past President Amy Fineburg, and President-Elect Linda Woolf to develop a proposal for a committee that would explicitly seek out ways for STP to make a difference, rather than simply waiting for opportunities to arise. The Advocacy Committee will vet requests for STP to sign various statements; bring public policy and position statements to the Executive Committee; monitor our previous statements and suggest further action; communicate with our members to identify areas where our advocacy might be needed; and publicize our advocacy work.

    The committee will include the Past President, Past-Past President, Vice President for Diversity and International Relations (or their designee), our APA Council Members, and several additional members, including a committee chair, whom we will recruit via a broad call for involvement. We will soon issue this call: Watch for it on our website! Or email me at susan.nolan@shu.edu and I will send you the call once it goes out. I, for one, am delighted to be able to serve ex officio on this committee in 2022 and 2023.

    In line with this focus on advocacy, STP recently applied and was accepted to join the Divisions for Social Justice, a consortium of APA divisions who work together with the goal of “pursuing social justice issues both within APA governance (e.g., working together to appoint social-justice oriented individuals to APA committees; working with the Public Interest Directorate), and in terms of ongoing social justice related research, action, and public policy.” Our Advocacy Committee will serve as the face of STP within the Divisions for Social Justice.

    And finally, I specifically want to call out the dedicated leaders and members of the three 2021 presidential task forces. The chairs of the task forces wrote brief overviews of their impressive work – see below. I thank them for their initiative and leadership! Outcomes include a soon-to-submitted manuscript on pivot teaching, a color paper on EDI and internationalization, a series of statistics mini-lessons for introductory psychology, and a curriculum study of statistics. All will be publicized through STP channels, and when appropriate, will live on our website. These outcomes are sure to have a lasting impact on STP. I am deeply grateful to all of the task force leaders and members.

    Task Force for Resources for “Pivot Teaching”

    Chair: Jenel Cavazos

    Faced with the unprecedented complications surrounding Covid-19, the Task Force on Pivot Teaching was charged with gathering resources to aid instructors in proactively addressing the challenges associated with changing modalities in response to potential disruptions, both currently and in the future, by accommodating students and integrating flexibility and agility into instruction. The committee’s work centered on four unique areas of focus: teaching modalities (various modes of instruction and their application for pivot teaching); methods and assessment (the use of evidence-based teaching methods and forms of assessment that are both flexible and adaptive); personal and professional development (best practices to promote the wellbeing of instructors); and lessons learned and future directions (insights from pandemic teaching that may influence the future educational landscape). The committee presented its findings during a symposium at the APA Annual Conference during the summer of 2021. A smaller subset of committee members is currently in the final stages of manuscript development for a publication that will be submitted early next year.

    Task Force on Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and International Initiatives Across STP

    Chair: Arlen Garcia

    Inspired by The Warrior’s Path (Color Paper) from Division 45, the 2021 Task Force drafted their end-of-year report in a hybrid format weaving the proposals with a backdrop of activism. Overall, we acknowledged the previous work, especially the Statement on Addressing Systemic Racism and Inequity in STP as well as the Diversity Survey. We also included APA’s latest EDI framework and relevant articles. Specifically, three committees were formed in January 2021 composed of ~3-4 members each and a volunteer lead. Committee #1 focused on infrastructure; Committee #2 focused on affinity groups and other surveys; Committee #3 focused on internationalization across STP areas. Working teams coordinated and presented asynchronous sessions highlighting the Task Force efforts at APA’s Annual Conference in August 2021 as well as at our Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) in October 2021. Infrastructure recommendations included but not limited to embedding a diversity consultant in each VP area as well as creating a new VP area just for international affairs. Affinity groups recommendations based on the Diversity survey results were outlined including logistical aspects of joining/membership. Additionally, a Travel Award was proposed. Ultimately, the Task Force hopes the Color Paper draft becomes a living document for the next phases.

    Task Force on Statistical Literacy, Reasoning, and Thinking

    Chair: Jessica Hartnett

    The task force approached statistical education on two fronts and in two subcommittees: Statistics in Introduction to Psychology (IP) and Statistics Across the UG Psychology Curriculum.

    Dr. Garth Neufeld chaired the IP subcommittee. The subcommittee decided that the best way to address statistics in IP was to create a series of statistics mini-lessons. These lessons correspond to the main topics typically taught in IP and align with teaching guidelines created by both the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and Guidelines for Assessment and Instruction in Statistics Education.

    Dr. Erin Freeman chaired the Curriculum subcommittee. They were interested in understanding how psychology instructors teach statistics, both in statistics courses and across the curriculum. They worked together to create a wide-ranging survey, completed by psychology professors across the country, that sheds light on when and how statistics are integrated into the psychology curriculum.

    These resources, both the mini-lessons and the curriculum study, will be available via the Society for the Teaching of Psychology website in early 2021.


  • 04 Nov 2021 12:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I’m excited to announce the 2022 Presidential Initiatives and Task Forces! Please email me, Linda M. Woolf, if you are interested in serving on any of these task forces or if you have any questions.

    Presidential Theme

    Teaching to Make a Difference: A Social Justice Approach

    Task Force for “Teaching to Make a Difference”

    As teachers, we recognize that psychology has value to people’s lives individually and collectively within a multi-cultural global community. Human rights, social justice, and global citizenship are not just buzzwords but are grounded in psychological principles and essential to the wellbeing of persons, peoples, organizations, and communities. This task force will solicit, gather, and highlight resources related to a) activities/projects used by teachers to teach and promote human rights, social justice, and global citizenship (e.g., unique service learning projects; global psychology activities); b) integration of theories and research concerning these constructs into existing psychology courses; and c) identification of unique courses/programs aimed at promoting human rights, social justice, and global citizenship within a psychology framework.

    Task Force on Teaching Ethics: Literacy, Thinking, and Reasoning

    Both the APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major and the recent APA Introductory Psychology Initiative identify ethics as a core learning theme. Yet, very little guidance is provided to high school and undergraduate psychology teachers concerning the teaching of ethics or ethical principles beyond ethical standards related to research methods. At the graduate level, U.S. psychology students are taught the breadth of the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct. However, many of our students continue in social work, counseling, nursing, other graduate programs, or international programs with their own unique ethics codes. Additionally, a rule-based approach may enhance ethical literacy but be of little use in teaching students ethical reasoning and thinking. This task force will solicit, develop, gather, and promote resources related to the teaching of ethics on the high school and undergraduate level, including guidelines related to best practices in teaching ethics.

    Task Force on “Decolonizing Psychology” in Introductory Psychology

    STP has many resources aimed at incorporating diversity issues into the classroom and making classrooms more inclusive. However, these materials are not focused on the teaching of introductory psychology from a perspective grounded in research/materials related to decolonization, liberation psychology, or critical psychology. This task force will solicit, gather, and promote articles, activities, lecture materials, and projects aimed at both typical chapters within an introductory psychology course as well as materials aimed at more general decolonizing approaches to teaching the class.

    Task Force on Teaching Psychology and Climate Change

    For many of our students, climate change is an abstract concept with seemingly little significance to their daily lives. Yet, it represents an existential threat to the lives of many around the globe, with immediate ramifications in terms of economics, displacement of persons and peoples, increased risk for global violence, and future pandemics. Psychology plays a vital role related to climate on many fronts from beliefs and attitudes about climate change to behavior change regarding conservation to psychosocial and mental health consequences of the climate crisis. This task force with solicit, gather, and promote resources related to integrating issues of climate into psychology courses; promotion of psychological research related to climate/sustainability; and teaching about human rights, social justice aspects (e.g., structural and institutional aspects of climate policy), and the mitigation and human adaptation of individuals and communities to climate change. The task force also will make sustainability recommendations to STP.

    Continuation of the work of the Task Force on Integration of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and International Initiatives Across STP
    In 2020, the DEI task force began work under the initiative of Amy Fineburg and continued under the guidance of Susan Nolan. Much work has been completed but it is an ongoing endeavor. The task force is exploring a variety of recommendations based on assessment of structural issues within STP, such as integration of DEI and internationalization across the organizational structure as opposed to the current siloed approach, as well as the creation of affinity groups. A Color Paper will be issued soon, which will articulate current task force findings and recommendations. As such, much of the work of the task force in the next year will relate to implementation of proposed actions.

    I hope many of you will get involved!

    Best,

    Linda Woolf

    STP President-Elect

  • 04 Nov 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Susan Nolan, STP President

    Stealing Back Joy: A Renewed Focus on Student Mental Health

    “How COVID-19 Stole ‘Children’s Joy,’ a recent headline offered. And we’ve all heard stories of stolen joy. The student who gave up their waning-summer weekend at the shore in an overcrowded shared rental because a sibling is immunocompromised. The ones who struggle to maintain fitness and social networks now that the indoor volleyball habit seems, well, treacherous. Or the ones who are saddened that limited tickets to indoor commencement exercises means they can’t include the family cheering squad they always imagined.

    But for some students, “stolen joy” may represent more than just a sad moment. Rising rates of mental illness among our secondary and higher education students have long been a concern. But these trends are even more concerning during the pandemic. This is true broadly; about half of university students in the U.S. report moderate-to-severe stress and about 25% report that they have considered suicide. Similar patterns have been reported around the world. These trends are even more pronounced for historically marginalized groups. In the U.S., for example, university students who are American Indian or Black, are particularly at risk for psychological disorders, and although Asian American students do not seem to be at higher risk for mental illness, they do seem to be less likely than their peers to seek treatment. In other examples, university students from lower castes in India are at higher risk, as are indigenous students in Canada.

    There may be a silver lining, though. I suspect – and I’m not alone in my suspicion – that the pandemic has made many more people aware of the acute need for accessible psychological interventions and perhaps even reduced the stigma associated with seeking mental healthcare. Whether because rates of mental illness are higher or because students are more open to treatment, rates of help-seeking at university counseling centers are higher than ever.

    With that preamble, I want to showcase one important resource, published recently by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. Titled Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs, this comprehensive report outlines seven challenges related to offering mental health support – as well as seven recommendations – across all levels of education, including secondary and higher education. Admittedly, this is a U.S.-centric report; however, existing research suggests that the conclusions may be relevant at least in some international contexts.

    The challenges include: 1) disparities, including based on race, in both vulnerabilities and access to treatment; 2) the enduring obstacle that is stigma; 3) a lack of (or lack of awareness of) evidence-based interventions; 4) the unfortunate “silo-ing” of mental healthcare; 5) a lack of funding and relevant policies; 6) limited mental-health resources in school settings; and 7) limited data to drive decision-making. The report’s recommendations directly address these challenges and offer a blueprint to identifying and addressing mental health in our students, as well as to increasing resources, developing policy, and (hopefully!) reducing stigma.

    As psychology educators, we are uniquely positioned to forward these goals. Many of us are trained as clinicians. Many of us are not. Regardless, our training situates us to understand human emotions, behavior, and/or cognitions. And, as STP members, we all love to teach and support students! We can all forward an agenda, similar to the one in this report, in our own classrooms, programs, and institutions. Or even with a single student. My own institution’s slogan is Hazard Zet Forward, which loosely translates to “whatever the obstacles, keep on fighting.” In the context of stealing back our student’s joy, it’s a fitting slogan. Hazard Zet Forward.

    The latest introduction in my ongoing series of “meet the EC” features Kristin Whitlock, our new Vice President for Programming. Kristin has been active within STP and other psychology professional organizations for quite some time, and we’re excited for her to bring her talents and experiences within the secondary school psychology teaching world to the STP Executive Committee. Among (many, many) other contributions, Kristin has served as a committee chair for the development of APA’s National Standards for High School Psychology Curricula and as a steering committee member for the APA National Summit for High School Psychology. In recognition of her work on behalf of psychology instructors, Kristin was awarded one of just two STP presidential citations in 2020. Below, Kristin writes about her position and what she most values about STP. As always, check out STP’s Get Involved page to see where you might fit within our organization!

    What would you like STP members to know about your position?

    STP programming is among the most visible of STP initiatives.  For many instructors it is the place where many first realize the existence of our organization. Currently there are nine directors and programming chairs working year-round planning for the many conferences, preconferences, and teaching institutes available to STP members. Along with STP’s own Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) we also team up to provide teaching programming with other organizations, such as the Society for Research on Child Development and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. STP’s presence is also felt at regional and international conferences, as well as at the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Sciences annual conferences.  I’m excited to be a part of this effort and look forward to supporting STP and the Programming Division.  Recent years have brought new challenges to conference planning, and I look forward to the future as we continue to find ways to make what we offer more accessible to more psychology instructors.

    What do you most value about STP?

    It’s hard for me to pick just one thing I value about STP. I am amazed at the incredible resources available for teachers of psychology across all levels of instruction. STP is like a safety net for those instructors new to the classroom, as well as seasoned veterans. I always come away from STP events energized by what I learn and inspired by the incredible members of our community.

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