Society for the Teaching of Psychology: Division 2 of the American Psychological Association

"This is How I Teach" Blog

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Teaching shouldn't be a private activity, but often it turns out that way. We don't get to see inside each others' classrooms, even though we'd probably benefit if only we could! In order to help Make Teaching Visible, we've introduced this blog, called "This is How I Teach." We will be featuring the voices of STP members twice a month. Psychology teachers will tell us about how they teach and what kinds of people they are -- both inside and outside the classroom. 

Are you interested in sharing your secret teaching life with STP?

We’d love to hear from you!  To get started, send your name, institution, and answers to the questions below to the following email: howiteach@teachpsych.org.  

  1. Tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach.
  2. What are three words that best describe your teaching style?
  3. What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you?

"This is How I Teach" edited by: Mindy J. Erchull, Editor (University of Mary Washington); Jill M. Swirsky, Associate Editor (Holy Family University); Victoria Symons Cross, Associate Editor (University of California, Davis); and Lora L. Erickson, Associate Editor (The Chicago School)

  • Emeritus Editors: Rob McEntarffer
  • Emeritus Associate Editors: Virginia Wickline
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  • 15 Feb 2024 9:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: Delaware State University (DSU or DelState)

    Type of school: HBCU

    School locale (including state and country): Dover, Delaware, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? Since graduating from East Carolina University’s PhD program; I have been teaching full-time for nine years!

    Classes you teach: Most of the classes I teach are traditional, in-person courses. Introduction to General Psychology, Honors Introduction to General Psychology, Health Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Principles of Psychopathology, Psychology of Learning, Senior Research Seminar.

    Specialization: My doctoral degree is in Health Psychology with a specialization in Pediatric School Psychology.

    Average class size: 30 to 35 students

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? At ECU, I had the honor to take courses about teaching as a graduate student and one piece of advice that I have implemented ever since is to structure class time in 10 to 20-minute chunks to hold students’ attention and foster engagement (e.g., in a 50-minute class: lecture, group work, lecture, video clip, lecture, review).

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? 

    • ·         Keeley, J., Afful., S. E., Stiegler-Balfour, J. J., Good, J. J., & Leder. S. (2013). So you landed a job – What’s next? Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists. Retrieved from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology web site.
    • ·         Hogan, K.A. & Sathy, V. (2022). Inclusive Teaching: Strategies for Promoting Equity in the College Classroom. West Virginia University Press.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. It is so hard to choose! I will narrow it down to two. I really like teaching students about parts of the brain. Students like it because we do a lot of drawings and hands-on activities like making neurons out of pipe cleaners and drawing the lobes on each other while wearing shower caps. Another favorite of mine is on operant conditioning principles of +R, -R, +P, and -P. With a background in Applied Behavior Analysis, I enjoy teaching students about the differences and similarities among punishment and reinforcement techniques. In groups, students are asked to give examples of how to utilize these principles in their professional careers (e.g., teach a class of noisy ballet dancers) and personal lives (e.g., deal with a messy roommate).

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. I introduce an activity called Speed Meeting on the first day of class to get to know each other. Students write down certain facts on an index card. Then, we go out in the hallway and make two lines. Students have a partner and talk to that partner about what they wrote down on the card for about 1 minute. Then, after the timer sounds, one line moves down so each student has a different partner. We rotate two or three more times. I bring it back as a review activity throughout the semester.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? There are so many to talk about! From my most recent course evaluations and written feedback, I believe that the teaching and learning techniques that are working for my students include learning each of my student’s names, holding students accountable for coming to class by taking daily attendance, providing skeletal notes, using Power Points for lecture, doing sample test questions, reviewing content learned at each class session, and providing time in class to engage in group work.

    What’s your workspace like? Since the pandemic, my husband and I have developed into plant parents. My office is home to a variety of plants: jade (crassula ovata), spider (chlorophytum comosum), snake (dracaena trifadciata), fantasy venice (tradescantia nanouk), and mother of millions (kalanchoe delagoensis). Our home office has a lot more! I also have a standing desk with two screens, a couch, and filing cabinets decorated with magnets from places traveled or activities that make me smile.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style.  I want to share the most frequently-used words from last semester’s course evaluations and student feedback because they validate what I want to accomplish in the classroom! Welcoming, Interactive, and Engaging.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Encouraging mutual learning through support, relevance, and kindness.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. There are countless times when I planned activities and they have fallen flat! One of them early in my career was when I was a graduate assistant for an Introduction to Psychology class with 100+ students and prepared a game to do as a review which utilized Glee (yes, I was a Gleek!) cards. I assigned different Glee character cards as certain letters which coordinated with different questions. I did not write down what cards matched with what letter, so everyone got confused! I learned that I needed to try out different activities with friends or loved ones before implementing them in the classroom.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? In terms of the quality of life as an instructor, I love the schedule of being a professor. Having breaks throughout the year as well as summers off helps with spending time with my daughter, husband, and family. I also love how each semester is a fresh start for students and faculty and staff. I like that I can make changes to a course and modify techniques based on feedback and outcomes. I also love how each academic year is filled with excitement about coming to college and then graduating from college! I truly enjoy helping students with their own career trajectories, discussing the many opportunities available to them, and the people/departments/resources in college that can support them towards their goals. I hold first-generation college students and students with children especially dear to my heart.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I am an ovarian cancer survivor. I was diagnosed in summer 2019 and continued teaching after a radical hysterectomy and throughout chemotherapy. I received tenure in 2020 as an associate professor at Wesley College. When it was acquired by DSU, I lost status and tenure. I was Visiting Assistant Professor during a probationary period and just recently transitioned to tenure-track Assistant Professor. I discuss teaching through cancer and other aspects of my career in a recent article in the Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? For me, Murder and Mamon by Mia P. Manansala (Book 4 of the A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery). With my daughter, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly. Filipina authors write these books, and I heard about them from being a member of the Filipinx Author Book Club. I am so inspired by the authors who talk about their journeys that I am taking classes to write my own middle grade novel!

    What tech tool could you not live without? As a professor, there are several tools that I need to make my days less stressful including Outlook, Google Calendar, Color Note, Power Point, etc. Before 2022, I would have probably said my flash drive(s), then I bought an expensive one which stopped working and I switched to One Drive and Google Drive.

    What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? Very often it is about technology issues that we are experiencing in our classrooms! Other topics include when meetings and parties are as well as student issues (the good, the bad, and the ugly).

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how? I make sure to emphasize social support and add in readings to help students feel that they are not alone in their academic journeys. To this end, I also find myself disclosing more about myself. Notably, when discussing social support through community service, I tell my students about volunteering for a nonprofit, Pursuit for Peace, which is an organization with volunteers who dress up as princesses and visit medically vulnerable populations. In terms of assignments, I remember a talk from ACT 2022 about bending not breaking the rules/standards. I implement more grace periods for late work as well as drops for assignments and quizzes. I also make sure to emphasize the importance of in-person interactions and oral presentations.

  • 16 Jan 2024 10:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: Casper College

    Type of school: Community College

    School locale (including state and country): Casper, WY, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? 11 years

    Classes you teach: General Psychology, Human Sexuality, Research Methods, Sports Psychology, Research Methods, Marriage and Family, Biological Psychology.

    Specialization: Teaching, Minority Stress, Humane Education

    Average class size: 20

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? It wasn’t said directly to me by the person, but is a quote we refer to often in Chabad. “Imagine you could open your eyes to see only the good in every person, the positive in every circumstance, and the opportunity in every challenge” by Rebbe M. Schneerson. I keep this above my desk because following this advice makes me the best teacher for my students and myself.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? Our Babies, Our Selves by Meredith Small. It changed how I felt about children and raising children, which led me to become a teacher and a psychology instructor. While it is about raising children in different cultures, it helped shape my views about relating to students of all ages.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. Marriage and Family is my favorite class to teach because it includes many of my favorite topics. I love seeing my students learn that the purpose of marriage has drastically changed over time, despite their belief that marriage was always about finding “the one.”

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. I love having students read short stories to connect ideas. My favorite assignment is reading Flowers for Algernon to discuss intelligence. My students also love this assignment. Using the stories turns the topic of measuring and thinking about intelligence from dry to full of emotion.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? Ungrading has been successful for me. My students feel more free to try new things and to participate more because they are not worried about their grades.

    Mixing small activities into lectures makes the class more fun. When we use a short activity for discussion, and then I fill in additional notes, the students are more engaged in the class and the topic.

    What’s your workspace like? My office is full of work completed by my students and gifts given to me by students and classes. There is always a stack of books on my desk that I want to read. I keep candy on my desk. There is also a Nespresso machine for keeping me caffeinated and when students need a longer discussion with me.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style. Flexible, fun, hands-on.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Create life-long learners, not memorizers.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. I can’t think of a specific instance, but I have definitely had assignments that didn’t go the way I planned. I don’t get embarrassed. I admit to students that things are not going as planned, and we need to scrap it and do something different. I think they appreciate the honesty and not having to keep doing something that clearly isn’t working.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? The students. I always enjoy getting to know them, hearing their views, and laughing with them in class. I look forward to going to work every day because it is like seeing my friends. 

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I share so many personal stories as part of my teaching. I don’t know if they would be surprised by anything.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? Madame Restell by Jennifer Wright

    What tech tool could you not live without? This is old school, but a video projector. I don’t use a lot of tech in my classes, so I could get rid of what I do use pretty easily, but I rely a lot on videos and movies.

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how? (positive and/or negative changes) Most of our chatter is just stories about our day or our lives. Sometimes, we discuss issues we are having and ask for an opinion. In my building, we mostly have a lot of fun and laughter in the hallway. I don’t think my teaching has changed due to Covid, but I think students have changed, and not for the better. Students seem more needy (I don’t love that word, but can’t think of a better one). But the neediness seems to come from a lack of effort on their part. I have found being back in the classroom post Covid quite frustrating at times.

  • 20 Dec 2023 10:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

     School name: Highline College (emerita) and New Mexico State University (NMSU; affiliate faculty)

    Type of school: Highline College is a community college. NMSU is an R2 Hispanic Serving institution.

    School locale (including state and country): Highline is in Des Moines, Washington, US. NMSU is in Las Cruces, New Mexico, US.

    How many years have you taught psychology? The first class I taught entirely on my own was 33 years ago when I was in grad school.

    My first full-time teaching job was at New Mexico State University-Alamogordo, a two-year branch. I left there in 2001 to go to work for Highline College, located just south of Seattle. In 2021, we moved back to Las Cruces, NM, home to NMSU’s main campus. I teach Intro Psych for NMSU when it fits my schedule. My retirement from Highline will be official in September 2023.

    Classes you teach: Intro to Psychology, Social Psychology, and Research Methods. I have taught many others, but these have been my courses for the last several years.

    Average class size: At Highline, my online classes averaged 30 students. At NMSU, my face-to-face classes cap at 80.

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? “If I don’t have at least one negative student course evaluation, then I haven’t been doing my job.” This was uttered by a Political Science professor. He explained that he wanted to challenge students. If at least one student didn’t complain about the course content or the work in the course, then he didn’t feel like he was challenging his students enough. I don’t know that I have fully embraced his thinking, but it has kept me from obsessing over those occasional negative evaluations in a sea of positive ones.

    “Students have a right to fail.” This was an academic counselor speaking at a faculty meeting. She said that while she knew that many of us bent over backwards to help students succeed, she reminded us that students have to take responsibility for their own learning. Students have to meet us at least halfway. When students would come to her office and start talking about their struggles in a particular course, her first question to them was, “Are you reading the textbook?” If the answer was no, she would say, “We’re done. Read the textbook. If you’re still struggling after that, then come back and see me.” After hearing this, I stopped taking sole responsibility for my students who did poorly in the course.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? What had the greatest impact on me as a teacher didn’t come from a book. It came from a rock musician. When I started my teaching career my greatest weakness was in public speaking. I had been to a number of Melissa Etheridge concerts and I was struck by how she could hold an audience’s attention, so I started paying attention to what she did. Even though she was speaking to an audience of a few thousand, her style was conversational. Other performers maintain the actor’s fourth wall, the wall between the performance and the audience; I’ve seen instructors do the same thing. In her concerts, that wall is non-existent. I figured if she can be conversational in her style, so can I, and I even have an advantage! With my class sizes, my students can converse back. Although there is one technique Etheridge employs that does allow the audience to converse with her: Call and response. I sprinkle this in wherever I can. I say something, and the students respond as a class. For example, after covering the neuron, this is how I conclude my lecture.

    Me: What are the chemical messengers called?
    Class: Neurotransmitters!
    Me: They float across the empty space called the…?
    Class: Synapse!

    Etc.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. Introduction to Psychology is my favorite course to teach, because I love the challenge of covering such a large number of topics. Most of us receive graduate training in one area, and then have to bring ourselves up to speed on the rest of the course content, and I am no exception. I like to think of the Intro Psych course as an owner’s manual for the human mind. We explore how everything works and then end the course talking about troubleshooting. What happens when things don’t quite work as they should? And what can we do about that?

    There is no other course in the psychology curriculum that has the impact Intro has. The vast majority of students who take Intro are not destined to be psychology majors. They will major in other fields, and then go on to work in industry, business, medicine, law, etc. Intro Psych is our one opportunity to help future leaders and decision makers grasp how important the field of psychology is.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? I am a big fan of interteaching because it puts the responsibility for learning back into the hands of the students. I’ve written blog posts about it, such as this one from 2019. Garth Neufeld and I did a webinar on interteaching in 2023; watch the free recording here.

    What’s your workspace like? The photograph above my desk is White Sands National Park located 50 miles from where I live. Here in the Mesilla Valley of southern New Mexico, chile peppers are a big part of our agricultural economy. The plants by the window are chile peppers, and outside a ristra, a decorative hanging made of dried red peppers.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Students are responsible for their own learning.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. In class, a student asked a question. As I was answering it, I was reminded of a video I had seen that would help illustrate my point. I did a quick search of YouTube and started playing the video. It was the wrong video. The video I was showing was an offensive parody of the one that I had wanted. I quickly stopped it, said something like, “That was clearly the wrong one,” did a more careful search, and finally played the right one.

    The lesson? Just as trial lawyers are told to never ask a question of a witness in court that they don’t already know the answer to, the same holds for instructors playing videos in class. Don’t play a video unless you know what is in the video.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? The best part about teaching is helping students learn. There is nothing better than watching the light bulb come on.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I started using my own Intro Psych textbook for the first time this past January. Some of my students were surprised to learn that I was one of the authors.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? I just finished SPQR by Mary Beard. It’s a terrific history of the Roman Empire.

    I’m now working my way through Stephen Spotswood’s Pentecost and Parker mysteries. I just started the second one in the series, Murder Under Her Skin.

    What tech tool could you not live without? There are several, but with the amount of writing I’ve been doing, I could not live without Zotero. It’s a top notch pdf and reference manager.

    What is your hallway chatter like? I work entirely from home, so most of my chatter is telling my dogs to stop barking.

    BONUS LINKS: listen to Sue on the PsychSessions podcast!

    GST001: Garth and Sue Talk...Season 1 Promotion/Premiere
    E004: Sue Frantz: Knows a Thing or Two about Teaching Diverse Students
    E158: Sue Frantz, Part 2: Innovator, Author, Technologist, Pedagogical Specialist


     

     

     

  • 03 Nov 2023 11:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: University of Mary Washington (UMW)

    Type of school: One of the rare public liberal arts colleges

    School locale (including state and country): Fredericksburg, VA, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? This is my 19th year of full-time teaching. I did some teaching prior to that as a grad student, but it wasn’t a key focus in my program.

    Classes you teach: General Psychology, Research Methods, Social Psychology, Psychology of Women & Gender, Cultural Psychology, Health Psychology, Social Influence, Research Seminar in Social Psychology, Undergraduate Intern Supervision, First-year Seminar: Feminism in the 21st Century

    Specialization: My degree is in social psychology, and I have training in health psychology and the psychology of women and gender. As you can likely tell from the list of classes I teach, I consider myself a generalist, however.

    Average class size: 20-25 students

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? I think the best general piece of advice was given to me when teaching my first class as instructor of record while in graduate school. I was finding it challenging to balance class prep, work on my dissertation, my TA responsibilities, and what little personal life I had. My supervisor urged me to try to limit my prep to 2 (and definitely no more than 3) hours per hour in the classroom. I didn’t always meet the goal that first semester, but I’ve become much better at it as the years have gone by. I’ll always wish I’d had more time, so sometimes good enough really will do.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? It is all but impossible to narrow this down to one, but I can point to me reading Intersectional Pedagogy: Complicating Identity and Social Justice, edited by Dr. Kim A. Case, as representing a turning point in how I approached my classes and my work with my students.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. While I have a soft spot for teaching research methods since it was a class I hated as an undergrad but later discovered a deep love of research, my favorite class has traditionally been psychology of women and gender. I typically only teach one section of this course every second year, so the wait may make me all the more excited for it when it happens. I love the seminar-style format and that students always make the class distinct from all those taught in prior semester. In a self-serving way, I also now like it because I get to use the textbook I co-authored for the class – inspired in large part by a desire to better serve students who take this course with me. This semester, I’m teaching cultural psychology – a new addition to our major – for the first time, and I think this course may given psych of women a run for its money as a favorite. Finally, my gender studies soul loves that every few years I get to teach a first-year seminar on feminism and step into interdisciplinary territory with a fairly non-psych-focused course.

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. I have lots of class activities I enjoy, but one of my favorites is when I teach about social influence in my social psych classes. At the end of the week, students work in small groups to evaluate a crowdfunding campaign (that is completed and clearly not endorsed by me) to identify the influence principles being employed. This helps them both see how common they are as well as how many different ways they can show up.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? I tend to be eclectic in my approach to teaching. I really thrive with structure, so that comes through in both my course planning and execution. That said, I think many of my most successful classes are ones where I cede a lot of the content coverage and execution decisions to students who lead discussions, so the meetings become inherently unpredictable. I’ve found flipping my classes works wonderfully for some (e.g., my honors general psych course) but worked less well for others (i.e., my research methods course). I’ve developed a focus on oral communication in many of my classes, and I favor frequent, low-stakes assignments to reduce the speaking anxiety that is so common for many (including me).

    What’s your workspace like? For me, this means my office on campus. All our offices are on the third floor of the building, and we generally have our office doors open so we’re aware of each other, can ask each other questions, can provide support to each other, etc. 

    In my office, I have a large L-shaped desk against the window that looks out into a wooded area (when leaves are on the trees) or to the hills across the river (when there aren’t leaves). One part of my desk has my double monitors and laptop on a standing desk overlay (that I use far too little since it means I have to move the ring light that lets people actually see me during zoom meetings), and I always have a pad of paper – and usually some post-its – on top of my laptop. The other part of my desk generally has stacks of folders with notes to take to class or meetings, books for classes that semester, and books I’m trying to read “on my own time.”

    I have pictures of family and former students around my office along with some fun toys on my bookshelves. I have a small folding table with my electric kettle and tea supplies, and a comfy chair in one corner I like to use when I’m reading.

    I’ve set up my office so the desk isn’t between me and students when we’re meeting, and my office is open enough that groups of 3 (or 4 if I borrow a chair from down the hall) can easily meet with me at one time. And I have a large whiteboard on one wall which I use for brainstorming with students regularly.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style. Challenging, Skill-based, and Structured

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Helping students build skills for life-long success.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. I’ve been teaching for long enough that I have myriad options to draw from here, but I always find myself going back to the first class I ever had independent responsibility for – a small section of Introductory Statistics while I was in graduate school.

    While I had taught individual topics before in a number of classes, I had never had full responsibility for planning and executing a class, and I spent many hours preparing before each class meeting. I no longer remember what topic we were covering, but it was clear two-thirds of the way through one class meeting that my students were lost. I was a novice enough teacher that I just kept powering through, but I knew that learning hadn’t really happened (at least for my students) that day. 

    When we next met, I told the students to rip out the pages in their notebooks from our last meeting, and we started over with me covering things in a different way, at a different pace. It was a great reminder that the same approach won’t always work and that I needed to be flexible – something that doesn’t necessarily come easily to me

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? It’s the “aha” moments students get. When something starts to get stale or repetitive for me, this reminds me that it’s new to my students. One time it was the student who came to me crying at the end of a class focused on intersectionality because she was so moved by considering her own experiences of privilege. Another time, it was the Spanish major who took my health psych class to complete her speaking intensive courses gen ed requirement, discovered the field of public health, and went on to get a masters and work in that field. Sometimes it’s just the small moments of a student realizing that what we talked about that day reflects something they experienced that week. My students are why I do this, and while I can be frustrated by them at times, the moments like these remind me why this difficult job is worth it in the end.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? Other than inappropriate oversharing, I’m pretty open with my students, so I’m not really sure. I know some have been surprised to learn that I’m both a first-generation college student as well as a graduate of a college-prep boarding school. Some might be surprised to learn I own more than 300 board and card games (although given that I sometimes play games with colleagues in one of our open collaboration rooms over lunch, others wouldn’t be surprised at all). Most recently, many students in one of my classes were shocked to learn that, as a gender studies professor, I had yet to see the Barbie movie.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? Most of my pleasure reading happens during school breaks. I am, however, currently reading Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story by Jacob Tobia. Every semester, our Safe Zone program hosts a book club for faculty/staff, and Sissy is our focus this semester. I’ve found campus book clubs are a great way for me to read one or two books each semester while also being able to connect with people on campus with whom I might not otherwise interact much.

    What tech tool could you not live without? I’m taking my computer, phone, dropbox, and zoom out of the equation for this one. Looking beyond those, this semester it’s ziplet. I’m teaching two sections of a completely new-to-me course and one section of a completely redesigned course, so frequent feedback is something I knew I wanted. This lets me set a digital “ticket out” to use at the end of each class meeting, and students can get to it with a QR code unique to each class (or a stable short URL if they struggle with the QR code). I’m enjoying what it allows me in terms of taking the temperature of the room, giving students a “safe” way to ask questions, or just asking silly questions from time to time. I now plan to keep using it in future semesters.

    What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most? As is true for many, it sometimes involves venting frustrations about students and administrators. Most of the time, however, we’re chatting about our families, plans for the weekend, a book we’re reading, etc. We’re all open to sharing ideas, activities, and assignments, so sometimes we’re brainstorming how to approach things when one of us is struggling.

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how?  One thing that immediately comes to mind is that I was reminded that I can do things outside of my comfort zone. I never wanted to teach online, but because of my own health and family-care responsibilities, I taught online for 1.5 years. Not everything I tried worked well, but I found a lot more success than I expected.

    Another change is my comfort with making class-specific videos. This has led to me flipping two of my classes and making many narrated videos for things like using PsycINFO, SPSS, and Qualtrics that students can watch on their own time and refer back to as often as needed.

    In terms of a negative change, I totally burned out. Between the extra effort of teaching online when I never had before, the added flexibility I tried to build in to meet student needs, and my own needing to deal with living in a global pandemic, I was stretched to the breaking point. That means the 22-23 academic year was the worst I had since starting to teach full-time. I largely took the summer off to give myself time to recharge, and I’m looking forward to my spring sabbatical, so this year is going far better!

  • 16 Oct 2023 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: Rutgers University

    Type of school: Research-driven (R1) urban university

    School locale (including state and country): New Jersey, U.S.

    How many years have you taught psychology? 5

    Classes you teach: Social Psychology, Health Psychology

    Specialization: social/health

    Average class size: 15-25

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? Oddly, the best advice about teaching (and learning) I received was from my high school chemistry teacher. He described struggling with chemistry in college although he loved the subject. When professors used to post non-anonymized grades, he realized he could not only see who the top performing students were but also learn from them. He waited for A-earning students to see their grades and asked them if he could study with them. He learned their habits and learned from them. At the time, he was spinning a tale about growth mindset, showing his students that they could grow over time with better strategies learned from others (something I also emphasize in my courses). Now, I’ve come to see this as an essential part of teaching as well. He was such a powerful teacher, one who could describe complex content in multiple engaging ways to maximize student understanding. It made me realize that struggling with material sometimes is normal, makes us stronger learners, and makes us better teachers because we’re better able to understand students struggling with the material and problem-solve with them.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher?  Given the story above, it may be unsurprising that the research behind growth mindset has been probably the most pivotal in shaping my teaching philosophy, including Dr. Carol Dweck’s “Mindset”. I also get excited about evidence-based practice, so Dr. Paul Kirschner and colleagues’ work on myths in education and learning as well as how learning happens has also greatly informed my instruction. For years, I was an educational coach, and I preached learning styles not knowing that there is little to no evidence for them—ah!

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach.  As a researcher in self-regulation (and a former educational coach and health coach), I really enjoy teaching about strategies students can use to meet their goals and improve their everyday lives. I love thinking that they can add healthier, research-based tools to their toolboxes to use during the class and after it’s over.

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity.  I love media, so most of my favorite in-class activities center around watching videos and dissecting them with students. I randomly watched PBS’s “Stress: Portrait of a Killer” with my parents in high school, which got me interested in health and social psychology, and I never looked back. I created a watch guide for the film with an accompanying assignment on students’ experience with stress for health psychology, and I really appreciate students’ responses to that assignment.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? I love a good discussion. I felt like I learned the most from discussions when I was in school, so I try my best to generate discussion questions (or use some of those provided by generous others) that can be fruitful for students. As an instructor, I love that discussions become a window into students’ experiences, which helps me to shape future questions, examples, or even different subjects.

    What’s your workspace like? A work in progress! In the wake of the pandemic, I upgraded our office, adding a sit-to-stand desk, a second screen (joining the 21st century), and some tall bookcases. I also added a small art wall above my desk of my embroidery work and small artwork I bought or was gifted over the years. Hoping all of these efforts increase my productivity as well as boost my mood.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style. Positive, inclusive, active

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Evidence-based, student-centered, learning-focused

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. My first teaching experience was leading a statistics lab as an undergraduate junior. One week, instead of emailing the worksheet to students, I sent them the worksheet with the answers. I thought something felt off as students exchanged glances... I thought maybe these problems were too challenging or maybe too easy, and they were trying to say that without saying it. So, after 5 minutes (was it 10? It felt like FOREVER), I reminded them I was here to help as they worked through the practice problems. One brave student let me know I had sent them the answers. I was mortified, especially because I’d have to tell my supervising professor about my error.

    I am pretty proud of my quick response, though. My immediate reaction was to swear them all to secrecy and ask them to tip toe out of the classroom like nothing happened. Then, I realized I did them a big disservice in providing the answers before they could work through the problems. So, I thanked the student, joked about the looks I had noticed, gave them all full credit, and explained how they could use that resource to their advantage by using it to check their answers rather than not doing the work at all. I asked everyone to stay for at least half the lab time so they could actually give themselves a chance to test their stats prowess—most actually stayed until the end and were grateful for seeing the answers step by step!

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? I love seeing the light go on in students’ eyes when they connect with something. I know grading can be a drain, but some of my favorite teaching moments are reading reflections and noticing how each student relates to the content just a little differently.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I’m not sure! I’m pretty transparent. I tell them my journey to teaching/academia is not linear, but I don’t go into a lot of detail about all the detours I took, like my brief stint as a belly dancer.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? I just finished the last book of the Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin as well as Atomic Habits this past week. I try to switch between a book related to my work and something fun, like sci-fi or fantasy. I think next is “Willpower doesn’t work” and “The end of Men”.

  • 07 Sep 2023 10:39 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: Delaware Valley University

    Type of school: Delval is known for being a school of agriculture

    School locale (including state and country): Doylestown, PA

    How many years have you taught psychology? I am beginning my 5th year.

    Classes you teach: Multicultural Issues in Counseling, Intro to Psych, Developmental Disabilities, Childhood Psychopathology, and Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

    Specialization (if applicable): Health Psychology, Clinical and African American Psychology

    Average class size: 34

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. I have two favorite lecture topics: The Criminal Mind and Psychological Disorders 

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity.  My favorite in class activity is the Dr. Bandura “Bobo the Clown “activity where I bring an inflatable clown into the class to demonstrate the experiment.  Most students are surprised to see me hitting an inflatable clown with a bat during class.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? The teaching technique that works best for me is running an interactive class. I add a lot of questions through my presentation in order to make sure my students are engaged.

    What’s your workspace like?  As an adjunct I carry everything I need with me during my class but I bring things such as a diffuser that turns different colors to make the classroom environment more welcoming.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style.  Engaging, Controversial (in a good way), and Energetic

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Learning goes beyond the classroom.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. During my first year of teaching I remember a lesson that I worked so hard on but it just wasn’t long enough and I had too much time left over. I was scrambling to think of things to do so I just free-styled. It was very awkward but I learned from that day on to always have a backup plan.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable?  I enjoy seeing that moment is a student’s reaction where you see the lightbulb go off and they really connect with the material.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? My students would be surprised to learn that although I seem to be extrovert during class, I am really an introvert and very shy.

  • 04 Aug 2023 11:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School Name:      Norfolk State University

    Type of School:     4-year Public Historically Black College/University (HBCU); NSU offers undergraduate, masters and doctoral degree programs.

    School locale (including state and country):  Norfolk, Virginia, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology?  I began teaching psychology as a graduate teaching assistant and have been teaching full-time since 2001.

    Classes you teach:  Psychology Statistics, Experimental Psychology, Psychology Seminar (Senior Capstone); Quantitative Research Methods; Social Psychology

    Specialization (if applicable): Social Psychology

    Average class size:  30-35 students each semester

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?  I don’t think my mother would agree that this was necessarily sage advice, but she was speaking from the perspective of a burnt-out public school teacher. She advised me not to become a public school teacher and focus my attention on earning my doctorate with the goal of becoming a university professor. I took her advice.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher?

    The novel Plum Bun: A novel without a moral, by Jessie Redmon Fauset shaped my work as a psychology instructor because it helped me to develop my psychology courses using a project-based methodology; something that I had always wanted to do. I developed assignments using the text of the novel, to teach social psychological concepts.  Although Plum Bum was written in 1929, Fauset discussed many issues that remain relevant today.  I was able to create lecture discussions and class activities around the novel’s premise specifically, issues related to gender, racial inequality, self-identify, and many other social psychological topics.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach.

    My favorite course to teach is psychology statistics. I enjoy teaching this course because it was the course that I most dreaded as an undergraduate student.  Working through the anxiety of completing my first statistics course was an important step for me as an undergraduate, and I enjoy sharing my experiences and knowledge with my students.

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity.

    I can’t pick just one.  I most enjoy project and problem-based activities that require students to apply the content knowledge that they have learned. Participating in these types of activities fosters the comprehension of the material at a higher cognitive level.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you?

    I enjoy teaching using collaborative activities, demonstrations, and storytelling as a way to engage students with the course material.

    What’s your work space like?  In addition to being a Professor, I am also the Department Chair; therefore, I have the largest office in the department. My office has a floor-to-ceiling wall of windows and a large desk that has built-in shelves, a bookcase, and file drawers.  It is very nice!

    Three words that best describe your teaching style.  Three words that describe my teaching style are student-centered, collaborative, and problem-based.  However, I am a firm believer that no one teaching strategy will reach all students all of the time.  I regularly augment my teaching approach to reach the students that I am teaching at the time.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer?  

    Maintaining high standards in a supportive learning environment.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation.

    Early in my career, I primarily used publisher developed test bank questions to create my exams.  I did just that for my statistics class’s first exam.  I passed out the papers and approximately 5 minutes into the exam, a student came to my desk to inform me that the correct answers for each item were highlighted! The highlighting was faint but noticeable. I was mortified.  I thanked the student for her honesty and quickly notified the class that the exam was over.  I now write my own exams.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable?

    I enjoy seeing students achieve their “light bulb moment” when they finally grasp a concept that they have struggled with for weeks. 

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you?

    My students would be surprised to know that I continued to teach both online and in-person courses while undergoing daily dialysis for 3.5 years.  I also worked the morning of my kidney transplant surgery.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure?  I must say that I have not done much pleasure reading as of late. Most of my reading has been work-related.  However, the last book that I read was Wild Rain, an African American historical romance novel written by Beverly Jenkins.  I especially enjoyed reading this book because the subtext of the novel includes (as do many of her novels) aspects of African American history that we are not taught in school.

    What tech tool could you not live without?  Zoom.  Although we are post-COVID, I still conduct most of my meetings using this platform.

    What is your hallway chatter like?  What do you talk to colleagues about most (Whether or not it is related to teaching/school)?

    Office chatter has been pretty much non-existent since COVID. However, if I have to pick one thing that I commiserate with colleagues about it would have to be how to best engage students in learning how to write using proper APA style.   

    Has your teaching changed because of the COVID 19 pandemic? If so, how? (positive and/ or negative changes).

    Since COVID, I have had to be more lenient with deadlines.  I have also had to allow more grace and flexibility as it relates to assignment submissions. Often allowing students to resubmit after receiving feedback.

     

     

     

     

  • 07 Jul 2023 12:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: Occidental College

    Type of school: Liberal Arts College

    School locale: Los Angeles, California, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? 8 years (since 2015)

    Classes you teach: Intro Psych, Research Methods, Developmental Psychology, Adolescence, Lifespan Development, Perception, Psycholinguistics, Critical Thinking

    Specialization (if applicable): e.g. clinical, cognitive, teaching, etc. Developmental Psychologist/Psycholinguist

    Average class size: 15 – 20

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received? If you are excited about what you are teaching, you will pass that enthusiasm onto your students. And have two textbooks, one that the students are reading, and a different one that you can use for examples the students have not seen.

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? There are too many to choose from and the list keeps changing. The STP Facebook group has been an amazing resource over the last couple of years, having an opportunity to compare notes and trade activities with other dedicated educators. I am currently reading Inclusive Teaching by Hogan and Sathy. I was lucky enough to attend a workshop they taught several years ago which gave me great ideas for increasing participation in the classroom, especially for shy students, so I am looking forward to further insights to improve my classes. I’ve also been flipping through Culture across the Curriculum edited by Kenneth D. Keith to introduce some non-WEIRD examples into my classes.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. Whenever students ask me this question, it always stops me. I love teaching Intro Psych because I love helping students discover the wide and fascinating world of psychology. One of my favorite things is hearing students say that they have decided to become a psychology major partly from taking my class. I also love teaching seminar-based classes, most recently Adolescence and Psycholinguistics. Having the opportunity to draw students into discussions about methodologies used in the field or how these topics relate to their own lives reinforces how much I love being in the classroom and being around students. Sometimes I think my favorite “course” is getting to know my students. 

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. It may be cheating, but I have one favorite assignment and one favorite in-class activity right now. The assignment is a final project called Stuck at Home Science where students have to design an activity to teach elementary school students about an aspect of psychology. I have done this in my Developmental Psychology and Perception classes. Sample activities include creating a spy code to teach children about the sounds that make up a language, teaching kids mindfulness techniques to help them deal with their emotions, and the gingerbread person as a way of thinking about the multiple aspects that make up their (social) identity. In recent years, I have begun sharing these activities with a local community of schools and through a campus organization called Boundless Brilliance that aims to encourage children, especially girls, to get excited about STEM education.

    My favorite in-class activity is giving a lecture on a particular topic (e.g., Gestalt principles) and then having students flip through picture books to find examples of the concepts we just discussed. I usually bring in a mix of nostalgic classics like Good Night Moon and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and contemporary picture books like Island Born and How We Say I Love You.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? I am a big fan of active learning and non-traditional projects. Classes are so much more engaging when there is a conversation between me and students rather than just lecturing. I look for every opportunity to encourage students to participate in class. For example, in my Developmental Psychology class, I send students an email a day or two before a class when we’re discussing motor milestones or first words with the subject line “ask your parents.” When we discuss these topics in class, I ask for multiple volunteers to share their answers for motor milestones like crawling or walking, or we post it on a word web so we can see what types of words are most common but also the variety of words. I also like providing opportunities for students to practice applying material. Like I mentioned above, I like bringing picture books into the classroom and asking students to try to find concepts we discussed in class. Students frequently report that they appreciate having opportunities to see how material applies outside the classroom, whether it’s to their own lives, to their favorite TV shows or for their future careers.

    What’s your workspace like? I like having things to look at, both as a break from reading student papers or journal articles, but also for students who may be nervous about talking to the professor. I have postcards on the wall behind my desk which are great conversation starters. I have pictures and knickknacks on my bookcase. It may not be the ideal office but it’s comfortable, which is important considering how much time I spend in my office.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style. Enthusiastic, accessible, application-focused

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Make the material relatable; engage with my students.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. Teachers are people too. In one of my classes, we had regular short quizzes at the beginning of class. I kept two copies of the quiz on my computer, one for the students and one marked with the answers. One time, I printed the wrong copy of the quiz, and didn’t realize until I handed it out and students started chuckling to themselves. Finally, someone pointed out that I had given them the quiz with the answers on it. I sighed, shook my head, and proceeded to teach the lesson. Right before the end of the class, I pulled up a quiz on the same topic from a previous semester, put it on the screen and asked students to mark their answers on the back of the original test paper. You can bet I carefully checked what copy of the quiz I printed from then on.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? My favorite part of teaching hands down is the students. I love getting to know them and seeing them connect with the material. When students email me during the semester or after the semester has ended to share how they found a psychology example in their favorite TV show or book they were reading, it makes me really happy.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I am actually a very shy person outside of the classroom. My students never believe me because I am pretty confident in the classroom, but in unfamiliar settings, I can be just as nervous as them.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews (a cozy mystery, cozier than the title would suggest)

    What tech tool could you not live without? As my students could tell you, I have something of a love/hate relationship with technology. When it works, it’s great. When it doesn’t…grr. If I had to choose a tech tool, I would probably say I couldn’t live without email and my Google calendar. Sometimes they are the only way to communicate with students and keep track of my schedule.

    What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? Colleagues and I will often chat about upcoming events in the department, compare notes over our never shrinking to-do lists or commiserate over the critiques of Reviewer 2.

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how? (positive and/or negative changes) One change I made since the pandemic is providing a Zoom option for my classes when students are not feeling well. I would prefer that students stay home to rest and feel better, but I also do not want them to miss out on the material. This has come in handy for students who are sick but also occasionally for athletes traveling to a game or match. They appreciate they can still stay connected with the class even while engaged in their extracurricular activity (and occasionally makes for a nice way to fill the time on a long bus ride).

     

  • 12 May 2023 9:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: SUNY, Buffalo State University

    Type of school: Urban-engaged, diverse public school; we offer undergraduate and graduate degrees with a few (soon to be more) doctoral programs.

    School locale (including state and country): Buffalo, NY, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? None- LOL. I am a special education teacher and teach in the department of Exceptional Education housed within the School of Education. We prepare candidates to become special educators at the undergraduate and graduate level. I started as an adjunct in 2003 and became full-time faculty in 2012

    Classes you teach: I teach all of our early childhood special education classes at the graduate level (Assessment, Intervention/Instruction, Managing Behavior, Emergent Literacy and Cognition) as well as some ABA courses, and an Overview of ASD class. I also co-teach a course with faculty from our SLP program called “Sign Language For Students With Autism And Developmental Disabilities”All of my courses are designated as service learning, so we are out in the community, working with children and families.

    Specialization (if applicable): e.g., clinical, cognitive, teaching, etc. Teaching and service, specifically autism spectrum disorder, early childhood special education

    Average class size: 20-25

    What is the best advice about teaching you have ever received? Take what you do well and run with it! (Note: a glimpse into my room would most likely show a flipped classroom with small group discussions)

    What book or article has shaped your work as a psychology teacher? This is a tough question. Probably the “white book,” Applied Behavior Analysis by Cooper, Heron, and Heward.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach. I am fairly behavioral, so I like teaching anything that relates to evidence-based ABA practices. I also love teaching early childhood language/literacy/cognition as we bring in a lot of content from storybooks and television/movies. Kids’ television shows get a bad rap but there is gold there if you look for it

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity. I have two assignments that are pretty closely related. We discuss quality indicators for young children’s literature and then closely examine our favorite children’s book from our past to see how it measures up. We discuss why we loved it as a child and then align it to quality indicators. We do the same thing with our favorite children’s show. It is eye opening. My students are often shocked to see how much garbage is thrown at us by marketers and learn to appreciate the merits of well-done children’s media. I also have a pregnancy simulation long-term activity that we do to study development, using a real app called Ovia, but tweaked for our purposes. Students get a kick out of being pregnant, especially the rare male candidates I have from time to time.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? Reviewing new content as a class with many pauses for whole or small group responding (I like response cards or whiteboards) and then breaking into smaller groups to complete discussion and application activities. I love playing around with innovative ways to group students, especially in my early childhood courses, so that we are modeling good practices for their own classrooms. We use different techniques each day and discuss the “how” and “why” of each. By the end of the semester, I love that my students know everyone in the class well, and not just those that sit next to them. They also end up with a toolkit of ideas to use in their own classrooms.

    What is your workspace like? A little more cluttered than I would like but time is always short, and the to-do list is always long. My workspace is often my dining room table as those COVID carry-over habits are hard to break. As corny as it sounds, I do try to make my workspace warm and inviting, especially if I am grading papers as I want to be in the best mood possible. I always light scented candles (warm vanilla), bring in as much natural sunlight as possible, and make sure to have a dog or two at my side.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style. Interactive, genuine, confident.

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Assess early and often.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you have had and how you dealt with the situation. I do not multitask well. Many years ago, as an adjunct, I was trying to talk while finding a video of Dwight from The Office to demonstrate a token economy system with Schrutte Bucks. Somehow I managed to pull up a video of two people engaged in a colorful act. We had snacks in class that day, so my students joked that I am the best professor ever – I feed them and show them porn

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? Students, students, students! I love the interaction with them. Teaching is so rewarding in and of itself, but when you get to see students experience that “aha” moment, it is like winning the lottery, every day.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? I started my career in journalism as I wanted to be a sportswriter. I love all sports, but especially my Buffalo Bills (the Bills Mafia is real and awesome), the Sabres, and most other professional sports with the exception of WWE. Is that even considered a professional sport? I honestly have no clue.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? I have been trying to start Simon Baron-Cohen’s The Pattern Seekers: How autism drives human invention for months but cannot seem to work it in. If I stopped aimlessly scrolling through my phone at night, I would find the time.

    What tech tool could you not live without? There are several. I love Zoom (another COVID carryover) and am completely reliant upon my Outlook calendar, especially the reminders. I also really like the Bookings app on Microsoft Office, which is a gamechanger all the time, but especially during student advisement weeks. Flip is a great resource. I also really like Yuja for video quizzes.

    What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? Buffalo Bills, kids, dogs, food, restaurants, cooking shows, stress, and how we need 36 hours in a day.

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how? (positive and/or negative changes)  My teaching dramatically changed because of COVID, mostly for the better. I streamlined my course content, and really concentrated on essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions. I rely heavily on the flipped classroom model and utilize technology as much as possible. I require my students to meet in small groups outside of class time and let them know they can invite me to pop into their meetings if they have questions or are stuck on a concept. I am also very deliberate about looking out for the well-being of my students (the teaching profession took a big hit during COVID) and have stolen an assignment from my friend, Pam Schuetze, that requires students to attend to their own self-care and reflect upon it. I assign points to it, which helps to ensure students will take it seriously and actually do something tangible for themselves to decompress.

  • 28 Apr 2023 4:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    School name: SUNY Buffalo State University

    Type of school: Comprehensive college that is part of a large state university system

    School locale (including state and country): Buffalo, NY, USA

    How many years have you taught psychology? 28 years

    Classes you teach: Child and Infant Development classes, Research Methods, Senior Seminar, Child Advocacy courses

    Specialization (if applicable): Developmental Psychology

    Average class size: Ranges from 12 (senior level capstone courses) to 40 (for introductory level developmental courses)

    What’s the best advice about teaching you’ve ever received?  Students learn best when you care and when they can see your passion for the content.

    Briefly tell us about your favorite lecture topic or course to teach.  I love teaching Research Methods because doing research is one of my favorite aspects of my job. I also love seeing students who are terrified of the course and convinced that they will never do or like research start to appreciate the research process.

    Briefly describe a favorite assignment or in-class activity.  I have begun introducing service learning into several of my courses.  One project that I particularly like involves a collaboration between my infant development course, a special education graduate course and a speech/language pathology course on our campus.  We place our students into interdisciplinary teams, designed to mimic the type of teams that would provide special services in schools.  Students are then trained to conduct developmental screenings using the Ages and Stage Questionnaire (ASQ-3) and the ASQ Social-Emotional questionnaire.  They then provide developmental screenings to children from birth to age 5 in the community (day care centers, children’s museum).  Those scores are then provided to HelpMeGrow, an organization that connects families to needed resources in the community.  Student are then asked to present case studies orally and to write a developmental report based on one of the children they have screened.  Students love this project which provides them with important applied experiences related to working with children, assessment and understanding developmental milestones.

    What teaching and learning techniques work best for you? For years, I have flipped many of my classes.  I love the classroom time this provides for more active learning and discussion in class.  Presenting content outside of class in the form of videos with embedded quiz questions as low-stakes assignments also promotes mastery of the content because students are permitted to retake the quizzes as many times as they like.

    I also find service learning to be a powerful technique.  Students love the applied work and the sense of mastery that comes with learning content and immediately applying it in an authentic situation.

    What’s your workspace like?  I work best when my space is organized and free of clutter.  I have a color-coordinated system for the various ongoing projects I have.  I surround myself with plants and have a small reclining chair and ottoman in the corner that I use when reading journal articles and other materials.

    Three words that best describe your teaching style.  Here are the words that I personally use to describe my teaching style: Project-based learning, student-centered, inquiry-based learning. 

    I also asked a group of students that know me quite well to describe my teaching style.  These are students that have taken several classes with me and have been involved in a short-term travel abroad experience that I co-led with another instructor.  They described my teaching style as: organized, creative and accessible (which they defined as meaning that I provide content in a variety of ways so that all students understand the content).

    What is your teaching philosophy in 8 words or fewer? Teaching must be accompanied by ongoing learning.

    Tell us about a teaching disaster (or embarrassment) you’ve had and how you dealt with the situation. Most recently, I had a service-learning project interrupted by a blizzard.  Many students were scheduled to complete a service-learning project that was canceled due to the weather and we were unable to reschedule their project.  Since many other students had already completed their portion of the project, I had to quickly pivot and find another opportunity for students that was somewhat comparable in terms of time and provided them with similar experiences that related to class content.  After many phone class and emails, I find an alternate project for students to complete. Although stressful for me, students were pleased with the project and I developed some new community contacts.

    What about teaching do you find most enjoyable? Watching students ignite a passion for a particular area of psychology or determine a career plan.

    What is something your students would be surprised to learn about you? Students are often surprised to learn that I was a military brat growing up, that I spend two summers serving as a river guide and that I was a music major in college (with a psychology minor) rather than a psychology major.

    What are you currently reading for pleasure? The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien.

    What tech tool could you not live without? Our Learning Management System (currently switching from Blackboard to D2L Brightspace).  I use it to organize all of my class materials for each unit and week.  Students have access to much of the content but there is quite a bit that I keep hidden so that I can use it in class or immediately make available based on student interest.

    What is your hallway chatter like? What do you talk to colleagues about most (whether or not it is related to teaching/school)? Most recently, we have spent a lot of time talking about changes in higher-education.  This includes the financial difficulties facing many institutions, the changing student demographics and concerns about the preparation students have when beginning college.  This also includes discussions about the changes we see in students as a result of the pandemic (classroom behaviors, study skills and mental health concerns).  Nonacademic conversations most recently have been heavily centered around the Buffalo Bills because they have been having such a great year and they provide a much-needed distraction from other local and global concerns.  Go Bills!

    Has your teaching changed because of the Covid19 pandemic? If so, how? (positive and/or negative changes) I have developed numerous strategies for using technology to scaffold learning.  Many were techniques I had to use when forced to switch to online learning and have continued to learn as supportive methods when we returned to face-to-face learning.  I am currently developing new writing assignments in response to the development of the artificial intelligence bot, ChatGPT, which will ensure that students continue to practice writing in a world where technology can write “some” content for them.

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