As I write my last Presidential column, I am delighted to include a column from long-time STP leader, Susan Nolan. I also want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me through the Presidency in so many ways. There are far too many to name and far too many ways in which I realized that I am simply the facilitator for STP to happen. It has been an honor and I wish everyone a restful holiday season.
Our guest columnist is Susan Nolan who has served STP in so many ways – it would take a whole column to mention them all. I asked her to write this in her capacity as Director of International Programming. Susan has raised the visibility of STP internationally in only a few months and I see great growth coming. We have always said that STP was an international organization and Susan is making that claim true.
I am grateful to Diane Finley for the opportunity to contribute to her Presidential Letter. As a former STP president and the current Director of STP Programming at International Conferences, I have long valued the opportunity to work with STP to explore international aspects of psychology pedagogy, curricula, assessment, and policy. Just this calendar year, STP has co-sponsored international conferences in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and Sweden. Already, we have plans to co-sponsor in-person conferences in 2024 in India and France, as well as a series of webinars in English and Spanish, co-sponsored with several other organizations, including the International Council of Psychology Educators (ICOPE). Of our 16,000 Facebook members, more than 7,000 are from outside of the United States.
Through STP and other teaching organizations, such as ICOPE, I have had the privilege of meeting psychology educators from around the world. One result of those connections is the International Collaboration on Undergraduate Psychology Outcomes (ICUPO) which I co-founded with STP member and former STP Presidential Citation awardee Jacky Cranney of the University of New South Wales (Australia). Jacky and I began this project with the goal of developing international foundational competences for the undergraduate psychology major, a goal we outlined in a 2022 paper with several colleagues.
A little over a year ago, Jacky and I recruited a team which comprised a central ICUPO committee of 13 psychology educators from 17 countries and a broader advisory committee, the International Reference Group on Undergraduate Psychology Outcomes (IRGUPO). More than 100 IRGUPO members come from more than 40 countries. Both the ICUPO and IRGUPO include many (approximately 30) STP members. (And we have been recruiting more and more of those involved with ICUPO and IRGUPO to become STP members; we are grateful that STP now facilitates expanded membership by recognizing that there are economic disparities among nations. Those from any countries not designated as high income by the World Bank may now join STP for US $5 rather than the US $25 for those from high-income countries.)
The aim of the ICUPO and IRGUPO is to develop a consensus document that provides learning outcomes (which we call competences) that might supplement or inform national or regional psychology learning outcomes or other regulatory guidelines at the undergraduate level. We strived to develop competences that were relatively content-agnostic, but rather, were focused on skills and values relevant to psychology undergraduate programs across cultures and countries. We hope that this document will facilitate communication across countries and cultures, and might contribute to mobility of psychology students, faculty members, and degrees.
After more than a year of work (see this paper, starting on p. 22, for an early overview of our theoretical background and process), we recently publicly unveiled the beta draft of the International Undergraduate Foundational Psychology Competences (IUFPC). Members of the ICUPO and IRGUPO have now presented drafts of the IUFPC at conferences in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, and Sweden, as well as at the 2023 STP Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT). At all these venues, including at ACT, attendees provided thoughtful and concrete feedback that has already led to additional changes in the document. We recently launched the latest phase of the project, which is to explicitly seek broad input from psychology educators and psychology associations around the world.
STP members from many different countries have formed the backbone of the ICUPO and IRGUPO. We hope that many more STP members will contribute to the ongoing revisions of the IUFPC. Our goal is to have a completed document by July 2024, and we encourage you to be a part of the project! We invite you to read the beta draft and email us with any feedback, whether laudatory or constructive. You may email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.