“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank
I am a firm believer that teachers hold in their hands the ability to improve the world. We inform, inspire, model, motivate, challenge—we teach. Of course, when I arrive in the classroom, I never arrive alone. Behind me are all of my colleagues, former teachers, and former students who have taught, supported, and inspired me through the years. I am grateful. Additionally, I arrive in the classroom carrying a backpack full of scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research, resources provided by organizations such as STP, and a wealth of knowledge learned over the years. That backpack is pretty hefty but I could not effectively teach without it. Often, I think I take that backpack for granted, as it is always there when I need it.
Every year, the STP President has the honor of selecting up to two individuals for special recognition—the STP Presidential Citation. This citation recognizes “individuals who have made extraordinary life-time contributions to the Society and/or to the teaching of psychology.” This citation recognizes those who have spent their lives helping to stitch and fill the backpack so that we all can continue to excel as teachers. If there is a common thread between this year’s recipients, it is that they are kind, respectful, humble, and unwavering in their commitment to the teaching of psychology. With all of that in mind, I am honored to announce the 2022 recipients of the STP Presidential Citation: Emily Leary Chesnes and David Kreiner.
Emily Leary Chesnes, MBA, is the Assistant Director of Precollege and Undergraduate Education at the American Psychological Association (APA). She has also served as Precollege Psychology Program Officer and State Advocacy Assistant at APA and Membership Coordinator with the Council on Undergraduate Research. Most importantly, during her years at APA, she has served as staff support for the APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) committee and their various projects and initiatives.
Psychology has become a common course offered by many high schools around the globe, and high school psychology teachers have no better friend than Emily Leary Chesnes. As noted by former TOPSS Chair Alison Shaver, “Everything she does is because of the passion she has for high school teachers and her/their love of psychology.” TOPSS is one of the most active and productive committees within APA producing extensive and invaluable resources for teachers of psychology and Emily’s efforts have made all of that work possible. For example, in 2017, Emily provided support and helped organize the APA Summit on High School Psychology Educationat Weber State University. She worked tirelessly with the steering committee and seven summit working groups (e.g., science, technology, credentialing, diversity), and assisted with the publication of all summit deliverables such as an introductory psychology video, an assessment guide and exemplars, a diversity self-reflection tool, lab templates, sample lesson plans, and a starter course. These materials are all available on the Summit website.
Emily also helps to plan and organize the annual APA/Clark University Workshop for High School, an essential program particularly for new teachers of high school psychology. Former TOPSS Chair Maria Vita wrote: “I first met Emily at the Clark Conference in 2010. The APA has provided this conference to high school teachers and it was one of the first times I felt truly respected and honored as a teacher. And yes, part of that was the amazing staff at Clark, but I know another part of that was Emily. She made sure that each person felt cared for. I remember eating lunch with her one day and she mentioned grants for the classroom. She was always trying to communicate opportunities for teachers to improve the classroom.” In additional to the APA/Clark Workshop, Emily helped organize and plan the 2019 and 2022 three-day workshop at Oregon State University as well as other numerous pre-convention workshops and one-day workshops for high school teachers as well as online webinars for teachers. It should be noted that Emily has worked with Dr. Lee Gurel and Dr. David and Mrs. Carol Myers on their remarkable gifts to the American Psychological Foundation to support high school psychology teachers and assist with the management of the grant funding.
Former TOPSS Chair Maria Vita writes of Emily: “While her conscientiousness is something to admire, her kindness is even more impressive. She is thoughtful of the needs of others and she will wait patiently before giving her concerns. She listens to people. Which is a rarity today.” Today, we honor Emily’s conscientiousness, kindness, and indefatigable commitment to the teaching of high school psychology with this 2022 STP Presidential Citation.
David Kreiner, PhD, is a Professor of Psychological Science at the University of Central Missouri. David earned his PhD in Human Experimental Psychology at the University of Texas-Austin. He teaches a range of courses such as General Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, History of Psychology, and Advanced Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences. In addition to being an exemplary teacher, David has been actively engaged in research and contributions to the SoTL literature and unflagging support for STP. He is part of the foundation upon which STP stands.
STP could not survive without all of the individuals who freely give of their time, expertise, energy, and commitment to the organization. Dave’s contributions extend across the breadth of the organization and highlight his commitment to service and teaching. Dave has served a number of leadership capacities such as STP Treasurer, Coordinator of the Departmental Consulting Service, Chair of the STP Fellows Committee, and Chair of the Midcareer Mentoring Work Group. Of course, his service extends beyond these leadership positions as Dave has served on the STP Fund for Excellence Board and as a consulting editor for STP’s journal Teaching of Psychology. He has also regularly served as an ad hoc reviewer for Teaching of Psychology, the Office of Teaching Resources in Psychology and for STP/APA convention programming. Regardless of role, David has made a lasting contribution to the growth and success of STP. He has done it quietly, humbly, and with great care to the benefit of all of STP.
Although David’s STP work alone would be enough to honor him with this citation, his SoTL work is also exemplary and noteworthy. His extensive publications and presentations focus on a breadth of topics ranging from reading comprehension to statistics online education to problem-based teaching approaches to computer-based activities. David is definitely a teacher’s teacher and I know we have all learned much from his scholarship over the years. He has published in flagship journals such as Journal of General Psychology, Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, and STP’s own Teaching of Psychology. Moreover, if you have ever attended the APA Annual Convention, the Midwest Psychological Association Annual Meeting, or the STP Annual Conference on Teaching, you may have been privileged to see one of David’s presentations. It is a joy to see, experience, and learn from David.
STP Past-President Susan Nolan writes of David: “He is the epitome of the quiet, behind-the-scenes force who gets so much done. While getting stuff done, he has also touched so many teachers’ lives with his kindness, humor, and support. He does it all on the grand scale – policies—and on the small scale – friendships.” Today, we honor David’s unwavering dedication to STP, commitment to the teaching of psychology, and impressive SoTL contributions with this 2022 STP Presidential Citation.