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

ECP Corner

This blog contains submissions from STP's Early Career Psychology (ECP) Committee to the ECP Corner column in STP News from January 2020 to the present.  The ECP Corner first appeared in the November 2016 issue of the newsletter, which was then called ToPNEWS-Online.  You can read ECP Corner columns from November 2016 through December 2019 in past issues of ToPNEWS-Online here.

Submit questions to ‘Ask an ECP’

For their monthly column, the ECP Committee wants to research and answer questions that mean the most to you. If you have a question, fill out this simple form and your question may be featured in an upcoming column.

  • 10 Jun 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    As it becomes more clear that we may be back to in-person classes in the Fall (at least in much of the US and Canada), I’ve been seeing lots of webinars and blog posts about “what to keep from pandemic teaching.” I’d love to know your answers to this question! What changes or improvements from the last year do you hope to keep, and what can you not wait to drop?


    Planning for the Future

    Dear Planning,

    Thanks for this question! As much as everyone seems to be excited about getting “back to normal,” we’ve also been thinking about whether “normal” is what we want to return to. Isn’t there *anything* we’ve learned over the past 15 months to help us grow, change, and be better than “normal?” Below are the thoughts of your ECP committee.

    Molly: There are SO MANY changes I’ve made that I’m so happy with! First, motivated by the limitations of online students spread across the world, three of the five courses I taught this year included shifts from paid to OER resources (texts, articles, and data analysis software). Second, now that I know how to record lectures and use autocaptions, I will always do this in the interest of accessibility (and frankly, I’m a little embarrassed I didn’t figure it out sooner!). Third, it’s amazing how much better communication was amongst my TA team for my large stats courses once I started using Slack. And finally, on a lighter note, my websites and course communications are way more fun now with the use of Canva and Bitmoji. I think these changes have all made me a more thoughtful and more engaging professor, and I look forward to being able to combine these benefits with the thing I miss most about in-person teaching: the informal, spontaneous interactions we get with students before/after class and in office hours.

    Albee: Interestingly, my institution was fully in-person throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Still, the post-pandemic in-person teaching experience was different in a number of ways. Despite being in-person, classes were often hybrid as students received temporary stay-at-home accommodations. Thus, I learned to hold classes on Zoom or Teams while teaching students in the classroom. Considering students' other demands, I recorded my lectures and posted slides so students could access them at their convenience. Different from what I did pre-pandemic, I gave open-notes, open-book quizzes and exams on our learning management system instead of hosting in-person, in-class, paper-pencil assignments. Additionally, I provided more non-academic opportunities for extra credit (e.g., working, volunteering), extended deadlines without penalties, and offered more times for student hours (virtually, by phone, or in-person).

    Courtney: One small thing I’d like to keep is the opportunity to schedule online office hour appointments (I discovered Calendly over the pandemic which was awesome!) and allow students the opportunity to select how they would like to meet with me. While I am feeling very “over” Zoom meetings currently, I do think giving students the opportunity to meet via Zoom, Google Meet, or phone (in addition to in-person) could be helpful-particularly for commuting students or non-traditional students who might have a harder time showing up for in-person on-campus office hours at particular times of the day. During this time of pandemic teaching, most of my classes adopted some sort of hybrid model. Given that, I found I was more intentional about creating a sense of classroom community online by using tools like Perusall to support authentic discussions about class readings outside of lecture. I think doing more to help students feel connected to each other while tackling readings and assignments outside of class might help enhance the in-person classroom environment once we are all back to our “normal” classroom spaces.

    Daniel: In addition to many of the wonderful suggestions that my colleagues here have mentioned (e.g., using open educational resources, focusing on accessibility, being more effective with your LMS, communicating with students regularly), there’s one big thing I saw a lot of this year that I would love to see even more of moving forward: compassion. During the pandemic, there was what felt like a movement driven by educators to be more compassionate toward their students—to understand their struggles, to give them the benefit of the doubt, and to be flexible in how we approach the requirements of our classrooms. It can be easy in our positions to question students’ true motives, to wonder whether they’re actually sick or whether their grandmother actually died, and so on. But students really do get sick, and grandmothers really do die (including my own this quarter). Deadlines exist for a reason, yes, as do late policies. But I hope that we all keep this spirit of compassion and empathy with our students as we enter into the next, post-pandemic phase of “normal.”

    Karenna: One thing that I want to do in my fall in-person courses is to more thoughtfully check-in with students. I used to check in at the start and end of the semester and after each exam. During pandemic teaching (asynchronous, online courses), I checked in with students twice a week, every single week. Even in my face to face courses, I wouldn’t get to know ALL of my students quite as well as I did during my online experience, because my time was heavily favored by more extraverted students even in my “small” 30-person courses. I think I will be able to foster an even more robust learning community by doing these weekly check-ins.

    Thanks again for this thoughtful question and opportunity to introspect. We also want to note that it might be useful to ask other colleagues at different career stages - would our 30 yr veteran instructors have similar insights? Or what about our colleagues who just started teaching this year, who don’t have a prototype for “normal?” Keep asking, and discussing, and thinking, and improving, and sharing with us what works for you!


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 10 May 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    I’m interested in getting more involved as a journal reviewer, but missed the recent webinar on “How to Become an Effective Journal Reviewer” led by Dr. Aaron Richmond. Can you help fill me in?

    Please advise,

    Aimless Reviewer

    Dear Aimless Reviewer,

    Have no fear! Thanks to the wonderful world of Zoom recordings, you can actually view Dr. Aaron Richmond’s webinar anytime by navigating to (STP log-in required). In addition, we are going to share some quick tips from the webinar below that you can start to use right away as you consider further developing as a journal reviewer.

    Getting Started

    • Don’t feel like you have to wait to be invited to be a reviewer! If you’d like to serve as a journal reviewer, consider journals that match your areas of interest and expertise and go to their webpage to sign up to be a reviewer! Often, this involves providing basic information and associated keywords that describe your areas of interest and expertise. It’s important to include as many keywords as you can as the keywords are often used to identify appropriate reviewers when new submissions come in.
    • Consider finding a mentor who can help you through your first few reviews or work collaboratively with a more experienced colleague on a review (just be sure to ask permission from the editor first).

    Finding the Right Fit

    • “Know thyself” and keep that in mind as you make decisions about whether to accept or decline a review opportunity. If something extends far outside your area of expertise, it may be best to decline. However, don’t feel like you have to be an expert on everything that is included in the paper to accept the opportunity to review. Editors will often pick reviewers who bring in different areas of expertise to review so you are not expected to be an expert on everything in the paper.
    • Make sure to familiarize yourself with the peer review process. Knowing the role of editors and reviewers and understanding how the peer review process works at the particular journal for which you are wanting to review can help ensure you have a clear understanding of your responsibilities and role as a reviewer. In addition, make sure you are familiar with the many different types of submissions a journal accepts as the criteria for reviewing an article can vary considerably based on the submission type.

    Providing Feedback

    • Once you have a paper to review, try reading through it without making notes first to get a good first impression of the paper.
    • Realize that writing styles can vary and consider whether the writing represents a fundamental flaw vs. just an issue of style or clarity.
    • Be specific and thorough! It helps to provide examples or give evidence related to your critiques. If you feel like an area of related literature was left out, consider providing a citation or two to give the author a good starting point. Also, provide page and line numbers and organize your review by sections to make it easy for both the editor and author to interpret the feedback.
    • Write the review as if you were receiving it. Try to provide constructive criticism and avoid being overly harsh. There is usually an opportunity to provide private comments to the editor where you can speak more candidly about an article, if needed. It is also important to think about the audience who is receiving the feedback (i.e., undergraduate authors, graduate student authors, faculty members, international authors, etc.).
    • Don’t string an author along. If the paper has fatal flaws, it is better to reject than to send them down the road of making revisions that may never be enough.
    • Don’t miss the deadline! If you consistently submit reviews late, you may no longer receive invitations to review.

    Making the Most of It

    • As an ECP, consider your purpose in doing reviews (why do you want to do them in the first place? Scholarship requirement? Passion for a subject?). As you gain more experience and complete more reviews, you could eventually be invited to be a member of the editorial board or become a journal editor yourself.
    • Consider creating an ORCID iD and Publons account so that you can get credit for doing reviews! This can be really helpful when you go to document this service as part of your tenure portfolio or yearly progress reports.
    • Being part of the peer review process as an ECP is so important! Not only are you contributing to the field and helping to enable the peer review process, but you can learn a lot about how to write compelling journal articles as well as get exposure to some of the latest research in your field.

    Happy reviewing to you all!


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 10 Apr 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    As an ECP, I've always valued the concepts of diversity, inclusion, and equity and tried to incorporate them into my courses. However, the last year of the pandemic, public health inequities, and racist and xenophobic backlash has really highlighted just how much more proactive I need to be. What are some strategies or resources you have found helpful in incorporating DEI content and policies into your courses and other interactions with students?

    Please advise,

    What Can I Do?

    Dear What Can I Do?,

    This month marks the anniversary when the world followed stay-at-home orders due to the spread of COVID-19, which originated in an Asian country. Sadly, here in the U.S., hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment have increased by 1,900% in certain states (Lang, 2021). Recent events have shed light on how everyday life can be impacted by racism, xenophobia, and discrimination, which can have adverse impact on psychological health (Reja, 2021). As early career teachers of psychology, we can change the narrative from one of exclusion and bias to one of understanding and acceptance by incorporating diversity/inclusion/equity (DEI) in the content of our classes, our connection with the campus and local community, and our mentoring of student organizations.

    Courtney: Discussion of discrimination and racism come up naturally as part of the content of many of the courses I teach (e.g., Social Psychology, Introduction to Psychology). I also weave these important topics into less obviously connected courses (e.g., Research Methods) through some of the example studies I bring in. Some of the most interesting and meaningful discussions I’ve had with my students regarding these topics has been when we are able to take current events and/or personal experiences and to understand how that event came to be and how future negative events could be prevented (or positive events promoted) using what they have learned about psychology. Last summer, many of my discussions focused on police brutality and Black Lives Matters protests. More recently, we spent a lot of time discussing the pandemic and its impact on a variety of minority groups. My hope is that by focusing on events going on now, students can see the importance of these topics and can begin to think of practical things they can do (even small things!) to help promote a more inclusive world with less hate and more understanding. Finally, many of my classes utilize Perusall where students can comment on the text as they read. I’ve noticed many students have brought up their own personal experiences with racism and discrimination in this context and they often receive support and encouragement from their peers after sharing. This exchange can help the student who shared, but also helps the whole class to understand more deeply the direct impacts of racism on those around them.

    Molly: Like Courtney, I do my best to incorporate diversity content in my courses, whether talking about race, culture, gender, and sexual orientation in upper-level courses on emotion and relationships, or mindfully using examples with diverse actors in statistics and research methods (and editing every example that uses gender as a binary variable). In all my courses, if there is a dearth of representation, we also talk about the biases and barriers to sampling from diverse populations and talk about ways to handle those biases and barriers. There are also amazing resources for incorporating more diverse voices in course readings, and others for increasing visual representation. More and more, I’ve been moving away from solely focusing on content and thinking more about (a) how my course design can be more accessible and equitable, and (b) how I can use my position to advocate for students and to remind them as often as I can about their value and humanity outside the narrow confines of academic achievement. Here are two of my favorite instructor toolkits with tons of perspectives and resources on inclusive teaching, considering content as well as process and systems.

    Daniel: As others here have already mentioned, there are many tools, resources, and techniques for infusing diversity-related concepts and discussions into your courses. This is important and feasible, as many of these tweaks (e.g., incorporating diverse voices in course readings, editing the examples you use in research methods courses, making your courses accessible) are changes that don’t require you to overhaul your entire course. I would like to add that, if possible, I believe every institution should have a dedicated course that explicitly explores topics related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. At the University of Denver, for example, I designed and now regularly teach a Psychology of Diversity course, and this has been a wonderful success that has allowed me to devote an entire quarter to tackling important societal questions related to diversity from a psychological perspective. Again, it’s critical to weave this into all your courses as much as possible, but having a dedicated course allows you to delve deeper and highlights that you—and your institution—really value these areas.

    Albee: My colleagues infuse DEI topics in the classroom, which can enhance discussion and critical thinking. Engaging students in the larger community and having them see, hear, and interact with others who are different from them can also deepen their learning experience. I am an Asian American woman and one of the few faculty of color (FOC) in my department and institution. In my short time in higher education as an ECP, I found it important to address my ethnic minority status and educational background as a way to be transparent to my students and model open discussions in the classroom. One strategy is to build in two cross-cutting themes across the content in all my courses: disability awareness and cultural diversity. For example, I incorporate a variety of names and examples in my test questions and prompts (e.g., Samir vs. Sam, Avi and David as a couple vs. April and David). In courses focused on development themes (e.g., Lifespan Psychology), class discussions include differences in societal views on pregnancy and pregnant women from different cultures (e.g., hospital vs. home deliveries). Guest speakers from underrepresented groups in the college community (e.g., faculty and staff members from other departments) share their stories and how familial, religious, and cultural influences affected their birth experiences. In courses focused on academic achievement (e.g., Educational Psychology), factors including race, socioeconomic status, and immigrant status are explored. Notably, the impact of being diagnosed with and treated for neurodevelopmental disorders and mental illnesses in the school and home settings are discussed. Guest speakers from the local community include students with disabilities and individuals in their support systems (e.g., principal and teacher from a special education school).

    Janet: Since the other ECP members have given some great examples of including diversity, equity, and inclusion in their teaching, I will discuss how I address these issues in my student mentoring. As the advisor of the Psychology Club, I bring in campus and community panel members from a variety of backgrounds, support equity-minded programs put on by students, and educate students on resources/opportunities available to them (e.g., scholarships for black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) students, department grants for undergraduate research focused on equity, etc.). In my faculty role, I try to make research assistantships accessible to all students; I no longer have “entry” requirements for research assistants in an effort to reduce barriers for these opportunities. I am lucky enough to be at a smaller institution, so I am also able to provide mentoring to any student that wants it, be it mentoring for graduate school, career readiness, or academic support. At each level of mentorship, formal and informal, my goal is to actively reduce systemic barriers that might otherwise prevent wonderful students from accessing resources and opportunities.

    Karenna: Like Janet, I would like to focus on mentoring student organizations. I’ve had the pleasure of working at two different institutions during my (still early) career. At the first institution, which was a small liberal arts college, I noticed that there was no student organization for people of color. As a Hispanic woman, this did not sit well with me. Because I was no stranger to using inclusive language and discussing “tough topics” such as race and discrimination in my courses, students felt comfortable talking to me about the lack of representation they felt. In the campus community, we started a multicultural student association, which was primarily a social and service organization. In the local community, we also fundraised and organized events on campus for Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, etc. At my current institution, I like to highlight BIPOC psychologists during their respective cultural heritage months on my office door. I leave a note up on the door to signal my pronouns and first-generation American and college student status, and that I enjoy chatting about diversity and inclusion-related issues. Lastly, I make a point to use primary source readings outside of Western, education, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD) societies. These gestures and activities are in addition to the content changes that other ECPs have spoken about in this column.

    If you are looking for more ideas, we recommend exploring the Diversity pages in the STP website, where you can find a Statement on Addressing Systemic Racism and Inequity as well as a plethora of resources within the Diversity Matters Blog.

    Lastly. two of STP’s newest e-books: Incorporating Diversity in Classroom Settings (Volume 1) centers on ability, age, culture, ethnicity/race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status and Incorporating Diversity in Classroom Settings (Volume 2) focuses on intersectionality. Here are a sample of ideas in these volumes:

    • Communication style differences between Eastern and Western cultures
    • Start! (Even if you’re uncomfortable): Infusing readings on racial discrimination into research methods
    • The frailty of human nature: Daring on local conflicts to teach against prejudice, discrimination, and stereotyping
    • Even the pedagogy was White: Moving away from a single lens approach in the teaching and practice of psychology

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

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

    Dear ECPs,

    Do you incorporate career readiness into your courses? If so, how?


    Workforce Curiosity

    Dear Workforce Curiosity,

    Thanks for the thoughtful question! My answer is that yes, I (Janet) always incorporate career readiness into my courses. This decision is a reflection of my personal values, the demographics of the students I work with, and the broader literature. In a national survey, 84% of incoming college students reported that a very important reason they were attending college was “to get a better job” (Stolzenberg et al., 2019). Given that there are a wide range of opportunities for psychology bachelor’s degree holders in the workforce, it is surprising to learn that only 27% of graduates report that their jobs are closely related to psychology. Sadly, the majority of psychology majors (62%) report that their jobs are only somewhat related.

    Clearly, there is a disconnect between what students are learning in the classroom and the ways in which they think it applies to their jobs. Further, most psychology majors do not attend graduate school, but move directly into the workforce (56% of them do not pursue any graduate degree, 30% earn a master's degree, and 4% obtain PhDs. The remaining 10% pursue graduate work outside of psychology).

    One way to reduce the “knowledge-skills” gap and to prepare students, no matter their career path, is to be intentional in our teaching.

    If you want to include some ways to incorporate career readiness into your course, I outline some of the ways I include it into my teaching (statistics, research methods, intro, and organizational psychology).*

    *Disclaimer: Every instructor has their own set of resources, opportunities, and hurdles. The following ideas are not meant to be prescriptive, but rather provide the opportunity to reflect on what is possible and contribute ideas and resources for those curious about supporting career readiness.

    Foundational Level: Explicitly Connecting Learning to Life

    The first step is not changing what you teach or how you teach it, but rather to make explicit the connections between course concepts and the underlying skills. One of my favorite resources I have found is APA’s resource guide for the “Skillful Psychology Student” that outlines workforce relevant skills that are learned through psychology (Naufel et al., 2018). Seriously, if you don’t have this handout already, YOU NEED IT. I use it all the time to clearly connect what we are doing/learning and how it will serve students in their future professions.

    If you need a little help or want to see an example of how I do this, you can check out my PPT. In it, you can see the slides I use to help connect course content to job-related skills/competencies at the beginning, middle, and end of semester. If you want to update the skills slide, you can look up current trends in employment skills, such as the Forbes list of skills you need to succeed in 2020.

    Finally, you can also incorporate self-reflections into your course wherein students make their own connections between course content and their lives/career aspirations. Such reflections can make salient and reinforce the connections between class concepts and their professional development.

    Moderate Level: Opportunities for Professional Skill Development

    Another way to incorporate career skills is by reframing the work in your classes. This takes a bit more effort than just clarifying skills students are already learning, but it also creates new opportunities for connection and professional growth. Let’s brainstorm some ideas!

    ·         Perhaps in a community health psychology class, students write a public policy position paper that addresses a local concern (instead of a generic research paper).

    Skills from APA: Cognitive (analytical thinking, critical thinking, creativity, information management, judgment/decision making), Communication (written), Personal (integrity, self-regulation), Social (collaboration, service orientation), and Technological (depending on medium)

    ·         Instead of a generic final presentation, students present to an external audience - maybe local experts, middle/high-schoolers, or non-psychology majors (audience depends on your learning outcomes).

    Skills from APA: Cognitive (analytical thinking, critical thinking, creativity, information management, judgment/decision making), Communication (oral), Personal (integrity, ethical, self-regulation), and Social (inclusivity, collaboration, service orientation)

    ·         Instead of a final paper, students create a podcast or infographic

    Skills from APA: Cognitive (analytical thinking, critical thinking, creativity, information management), Communication (oral/written), Personal (adaptability), Social (collaboration, service orientation), and Technological (flexibility/adaptability to new systems, familiarity with hardware/software)

    Note: You can still require the work to be based on quality, peer-reviewed research. It’s just that the method of communication and mode of delivery might look different than a research report.

    Advanced Level: Fully Integrated Projects

    For those desiring the highest level of skill-based career readiness, you might consider a service-learning or problem-based learning project. The applied nature of these types of projects can make professional skill development more salient for students, while also reinforcing their ability to transfer their knowledge to complex, real-world situations. For example, in my statistics course, we pair up with a local non-profit organization to analyze their data. Each week in lab, the students conduct an analysis and write-up the results. At the end of the semester, students present the results back to the community partner.

    Typically, these are large-scale projects that require a strong community partnership and are integrated throughout the duration of the course. Thus, they require significantly more planning and time to develop. If you are looking for ideas for some of these larger scale projects and high impact practices, I recommend one of STP’s newest e-books, High Impact Educational Practices: A Review of Best Practices with Illustrative Examples. Here is just a sample of the creative ideas in the book:

    ·         Chapter 13: Research Team: Impactful Team Building and Professional Skills

    ·         Chapter 17: Collaborative Assignments and Projects to Address Real-world Issues: Using a PSA Group Project to Combat Stigma

    ·         Chapter 38: Service Learning: A Review of Best Practices

    ·         Chapter 48: The Value of ePortfolios in the Psychology Curriculum

    We hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration for how to incorporate career readiness skills into your courses! The process and outcomes might look different across faculty, classes, and institutions, but the endeavor is meaningful for all!


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

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

    Dear ECPs,

    STP has lots of great resources for professional development and course prep (like Project Syllabus, ToPIX, e-Books, and the STP Facebook and Twitter), but I’m looking to branch out. What are some of your favorite teaching/learning/professional development resources? Books, blogs, Twitter accounts - I’d love ‘em all!

    Information Sponge

    Dear Information Sponge,

    I’m so glad you asked! Especially in graduate school, when I (Molly) was trying to figure out my professional identity, I found community and camaraderie in the blogs I followed. As I have grown in my role as a teacher of psychology, I have found several other writers, thinkers, and resources that challenge me, enrich me, and help me with some good class activities in a pinch. Here are some of my faves*:

    Selected thinkers and writers on higher ed

    This post was my gateway into higher education blogs - - Terry McGlynn is a biologist and writes a lot about equity and access in higher ed. In addition, he publishes a list of recommended reads every week, and I read like 75% of them because it's all stuff I care about. You can also find him on Twitter at @SmallPondSci.

    Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is an astrophysicist who writes about physics, diversity, race, and higher ed (separately and together) for the general public. This blog post about diversity and inclusion in higher ed is what drew me to her. Her writing has been published in numerous outlets, but she maintains a blog and can be found on Twitter at @IBJIYONGI.

    Devon Price is a social psychologist who writes extensively about higher ed culture, equity, disability, and more. This Medium article took off, and is now a book that was just released. It changed the way I think about my own productivity as well as that of my students. You can also find them on Twitter at @DrDevonPrice.

    Kevin Gannon is a historian and writer who has shaped my teaching philosophy. I found him from this blog on radical hope which was turned into this book, which is patiently waiting on my shelf for me -- and you can find him on Twitter at @TheTattooedProf.

    You might already be familiar with Karen Kelsky of The Professor Is In from FB or Twitter (@ProfessorIsIn), well-known for her no-nonsense advice on academia (including leaving academia). She has paid services and a book, but her blog is also super helpful (and free!).

    More higher education blogs

    The Inside Higher Education blog ranges from big picture questions to specific strategies.

    Faculty Focus usually has specific tips and strategies for class activities and assessments. They also advertise for paid resources and webinars, but you can just skip those - lots of great free advice!

    The Chronicle of Higher Education also does some good reporting though some of it is hidden behind a paywall. Subscribers can also take advantage of a weekly Teaching Newsletter.

    Psychology-specific blogs/resources

    Jon Mueller of North Central College maintains an awesome repository of Social Psych teaching resources (plus a monthly newsletter).

    Jess Hartnett of Gannon University blogs about making teaching statistics “not awful.” I am pretty sure her resources are responsible for like 50% of the variance in my teaching evaluations. You can also find her on Twitter at @NotAwful.

    A team of cognitive psychologists write for the public, for teachers, for students, and for parents on the science of learning. Useful for teachers, but they also have amazing downloadable resources for students, a podcast, videos, and all kinds of things. Also on Twitter at @AceThatTest

    That should be enough to get you started!

    * These resources write on a huge range of topics from a variety of perspectives. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement of all viewpoints held therein. This list is also not exhaustive - share your favorite resources on the ECP and STP Facebook pages!


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 10 Jan 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2021: A brand new year! Like you, we are hoping for a smooth transition to the next semester/quarter in the midst of this pandemic and our quarantine lives. To help you accomplish this, we wanted to share small but helpful course tips that can be incorporated into spring courses.

    Karenna: I am a big fan of setting the right tone for my classes from the beginning, especially in online courses. For the past few years, I have created a visual syllabus for each of my classes. I include my photo, relevant tables and charts to break down important course information, and more! The visual syllabus is inviting and more conversational than the typical course syllabus. Along with a good welcome email, I have found that students have responded positively to it. All this takes is a good newsletter template in Pages or Word. Another good option is Canva for Educators! (Don’t forget to include a more typical syllabus within your course LMS homepage to maintain ADA compliance.)

    Molly: Bitmoji! All my classes were asynchronous, and since I teach intro stats courses, many of the students don’t know me at all. This term, I started including Bitmoji in my announcements/reminders (like a little cartoon “You can do it!” right before the final was released) and I got a surprising amount of positive feedback from students. It helps me communicate a little of my personality, warm up text-based reminders, and most importantly, it amuses me. Bonus tip: sign potentially stressful announcements or reminders from you and your dog/cat/fish/baby for a little boost of cute energy.

    Janet: My favorite ideas, bullet points style :)

    • Flexible assignments. Students get to drop lowest scores so that a missed assignment or two won’t hurt them. This alleviates anxiety and makes it easier for me (I don’t have to judge whether there was a “worthy reason” to make-up points - everyone gets grace).
    • Renaming office hours to weekly review. Last year I renamed my office hours to “weekly review” and mentioned that we could go over homework, example problems, etc. Attendance at office hours skyrocketed. I changed nothing else, just the branding. I’ve never had such full office hours. Another strategy I use is to hold office hours right after class (the questions are fresh and the transition is seamless, especially in Zoom when they just stay logged in!).
    • In-Class Activities. It can be hard to keep focused any time, but especially in Zoom lectures (and meetings!). To help students stay engaged, I give them small prompts throughout the lecture that they respond to via Google Forms. Sometimes the prompts are application questions, muddiest points, or even just checking in with them. There might be 2-5 throughout the class period. Later, I might peruse the answers as a whole (feedback!), but I don’t grade them. Even though they are ungraded, the students really like them and engage well.

    Daniel: My recommendation would be to collect data from your students! What sort of data am I referring to? Well, take the tried-and-true Informal Early Feedback (IEF) as an example. IEF might be common knowledge—and hopefully common practice!—to some of our readers. If not, we highly recommend it! IEF refers to creating your own teaching evaluation survey (using, e.g., Google Forms, Qualtrics) early on in the term. This simple practice allows you to collect data on how the course is going, what students like and don’t like, etc., early in the term. In addition to being a gesture to illustrate to your students that you care about the quality of your teaching and about their experience, it also allows you to figure out what can be done to improve the course before it’s too late (i.e., before the course is over). You can also collect data on specific assignments and projects. For example, you can create a couple of short surveys to ask about students’ knowledge and interest in a topic before and after they complete a project related to that topic. Doing so will allow you to determine whether or not your projects are interesting and meet your pedagogical goals, and this can be valuable data to include in institutional review processes for promotion or tenure.

    Albee: To help ease students into the general semester’s tasks and our particular class’ requirements, I ask students to complete graded, low-stakes “course orientation” assignments to familiarize them with technological components (of which they may be unfamiliar) and to foster engagement.

    • One task is to send me an email using their college/university email address with their favorite joke or pick-up line, which I share anonymously with the group as a whole throughout the semester. This assignment helps establish the importance of checking and utilizing their emails as well as infuse humor and engagement in class meetings. As the semester progresses, these jokes/pick-up lines are used to connect with several concepts: episodic memory, expressive language, intelligence, personality, etc.
    • Another task is to log into the learning management system and do a scavenger hunt for a slide on a PowerPoint with an assignment (e.g., send a GIF related to a concept in psychology, send an image of their favorite inspirational quote, etc.). This helps students locate files in the LMS, which are available to them throughout the semester. Then, these motivational quotes and applicable GIFs are shared anonymously to support motivation and engagement, especially around midterm exam and final exam times.
    • A task that I incorporated last semester (and is doable since I am at a small liberal arts college) is to meet with students one-on-one during office hours. Using a short list of questions (e.g., What are your reasons for taking this course? What topic has interested you so far? What is a fun/interesting skill you have?, etc.), I utilized these moments to connect with students on a personal and professional level. Some of them were not comfortable asking questions or were very quiet during class discussions; however, during these individual sessions, they were able to share their sadness about not being on campus, their fears about the pandemic, and their anxiety about the future.

    Courtney: I love using the Perusall program in my classes! It automatically grades student commentary based on quality (which can be a nice time saver!) but perhaps even more importantly, I’ve found it to be a great tool to get students reading and talking about the course content outside of class. Given my Fall classes were broken into smaller sections, it was also a nice way for students to get to know the whole class via discussion (even when they only saw the same 5-6 students in their in-person section).

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 02 Dec 2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    As we wrap up the calendar year—oh, and what a year it was—we’d like to take this month’s ECP Corner entry as an opportunity to tell you about some exciting changes happening to the ECP Committee. These changes include welcoming a new member and an incoming Chair and Associate Chair (with our current Co-Chairs stepping back into committee membership roles) for 2021. We’ll also each take a moment to briefly describe what we hope to accomplish in our roles on the ECP Committee in the coming year, so look out for some exciting things happening in the coming months! 

    Before we each describe what we hope to accomplish on the committee next year, we’d like to take a moment to highlight the ECP Committee’s newest member: Courtney Gosnell. We were overwhelmed by both the number and the quality of applicants, but Courtney’s application blew us away even more than the rest. Although we were only able to accept one new member this year, we want to note that the ECP Committee will be recruiting two members in November 2021 and another member the year after! If you are interested in joining this wonderful team and helping your fellow ECPs, please consider applying next year! 

    Courtney is in her fifth year as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pace University. Courtney first became involved with the Society for the Teaching of Psychology in 2017 when she attended the annual conference in San Antonio and was selected to participate in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning writing workshop. Under the mentorship of Dr. Regan Gurung, she developed two SOTL project proposals. She presented this SOTL research at 2019’s Annual Conference on Teaching in Denver, CO. She has published SOTL manuscripts, including in journals such as Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology. We are excited about the SOTL experience that Courtney will bring to the ECP Committee. 

    In her application, Courtney also expressed a passion for supporting others’ professional development, a passion we believe will translate well to her role in the ECP Committee. For example, she was a mentor in this year’s Speed Mentoring event at Virtual ACT. During her two years as a professor at the United States Military Academy, she helped lead faculty summer training events to help prepare new instructors to teach Introduction to Psychology (many of the new instructors were military faculty with no prior teaching experience). She is excited to have the opportunity to help provide resources, guidance, and social and networking opportunities to fellow ECPs. 

    And this only scratches the surface as to why Courtney is such a wonderful fit for the ECP Committee! We are so excited to have her join us! 

    Each of your current ECP Committee members would now like to tell you a little bit about what we hope to accomplish in each of our roles next year, starting with Molly, our 2021 ECP Chair, and Janet, our 2021 Associate Chair: 

    Molly: As the incoming chair, I think my most important role will be wrangling and supporting all of the fabulous ideas the other members have for ECP Committee initiatives! I’d love to explore ways to take the success of the ACT ECP programming and spread it out over the year, especially now that we have all had crash courses in virtual events; to consider how to document/archive/publish the work we do so that it is available for years to come; and most importantly, to carry on the legacy of the ECP Committee being a warm, collegial, and welcoming space for all members of STP.

    Janet: I would like for the ECP Committee to host a summer book club and course development accountability group. One of the most important parts of STP and ACT is the networking we are able to do. Since we didn’t have an in-person conference this year, it may be nice for a group of ECPs to virtually ‘gather’ to share knowledge, pedagogy tips, and best practices as we prepare for a new semester.

    Daniel: In the coming year, I hope to overhaul the ECP page on STP’s website. Did you even know that the ECP Committee had a website? We do! At, we link you to resources relevant to ECPs, such as ECP-focused awards, journal articles relevant to ECPs, a compendium of scales for use in the scholarship of teaching and learning (made by the ECP Committee in previous years), and more! My major focus for the coming year, as mentioned, will be to expand on this page, which is already such a nice resource for fellow ECPs. I want to build on the resources already available, as well as simply tidy up, update, and reformat the resources that are already there. (We also have another page,, where we post these columns every month, but that’s already beautiful and doesn’t require any updates.)  

    Karenna: I hope to build off the success we had at ACT 2019 in Denver where I organized our ECP Reception. Of course, this would be dependent on an in-person ACT occurring in Pittsburgh next year (if safe enough for STP to host!). We had such a great time celebrating all that we learned at ACT with other ECPs the evening the conference ended. All were welcome (including non-ECPs!) so please be on the lookout for our social events at ACT and other conferences (virtual or otherwise).  I also would like for us to celebrate ECPs who read our newsletters and engage with us on social media by hosting giveaways.

    Albee: Specifically, in terms of professional development, I would like to search and promote more opportunities for ECP members of STP to be included in psychology-related forums such as with Psi Chi or SPSP. In terms of social media, an idea to promote ECP presence is to post an ECPs in Action article once every quarter, highlighting the work of an ECP member of STP (i.e., how students benefit from the ECP's teaching, scholarship, and service). Lastly, I would like to assist in building a network of ECPs (which is increasingly important as the pandemic continues). The STP ECP Committee may be able to host virtual social hours for the wider ECP/STP community during the winter and summer months. 

    Have more questions?

    For our monthly column, we want to research and answer questions that mean the most to you as an early career psychologist. If you have a question, chances are you are not the only one! Fill out the quick and simple form at and your question may be featured in an upcoming column!


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 10 Nov 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    I planned to attend this year’s ACT, but life got in the way! Can you share some resources related to the ECP events that I missed? I’m so happy some sessions were recorded—do you have any “favorite” sessions you think I should check out?

    Hoping to Catch Up

    Dear Hoping to Catch Up,

    You’re definitely not alone! The events of this year’s Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) took place virtually, and we know that many STP members had competing responsibilities (e.g., in their teaching, at home) that conflicted with these events. Thankfully, as you point out, many of the sessions were recorded and are now available asynchronously on STP’s website!

    Below, we’ll do three things. First, we’ll direct you to resources related to the sessions that we hosted as your ECP Committee (including resources from a workshop we hosted last year). Second, we’ll point out a few sessions that are available asynchronously that we believe will be very relevant and helpful to you as an ECP. Finally, we’ll put out one last call for applications to join the ECP Committee. Let’s get started!

    For starters, we’d like to share with you the materials from two of our workshops. The first, presented at this year’s ACT, is titled Crafting Your Career: Developing An Academic Plan For Success As An Early Career Psychologist. The second, presented at last year’s ACT, is titled Documenting Your Teaching For Awards, Hiring, Promotion, And Tenure. Below, you can find links to (1) the slides we used to present each workshop; (2) a variety of self-reflective handouts that you can use to set priorities, set goals, plan your career, evaluate your CV, or design a teaching portfolio; (3) extra resources, including readings on work-life balance, sample CVs and teaching portfolios from ECP Committee members, and more. We hope that these resources will be useful to you!

    ECP workshop #1 (from this year’s ACT):

    Crafting Your Career: Developing An Academic Plan For Success As An Early Career Psychologist

    ·        Workshop slides: Crafting your career.pptx

    ·        ECP Needs Assessment handout.docx

    ·        ECP Goal Setting handout.docx

    ·        ECP Saying Yes & No Handout.docx

    ·        ECP work-life balance resources

    ECP workshop #2 (from last year’s ACT):

    Documenting Your Teaching For Awards, Hiring, Promotion, And Tenure

    ·        Workshop slides: Documenting your career.pptx

    ·        Sample CVs and Teaching Portfolios

    ·        CV handout.docx

    ·        Teaching portfolio handout.pdf

    ·        Supplemental materials worksheet.docx

    There were also many excellent asynchronous sessions that were presented by other STP members who are not part of the ECP Committee. These sessions are still relevant to ECPs who want to enhance how they teach psychology. We’ll highlight a few below, but we encourage you to check out the full list on STP’s website! All recordings are available at (recordings available with login; STP membership required).

    Asynchronous sessions relevant to ECPs:

    ·        Developing Collaborative Thinkers: Rethinking How We Define, Teach, and Assess Student Participation In Class

    ·        Critical Thinking, Reflective Practice, and Metacognition: A SOTL Approach

    ·        The Holy Grail of Learning: A Guide for Promoting Student Engagement

    ·        Safety Cues: Signaling Inclusion To Increase Belonging And Engagement

    ·        Salaries and Job Satisfaction for Psychology Majors

    ·        Using Popular Technology to Engage Students in Proven Cognitive Techniques

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

  • 01 Oct 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    I will be attending the STP ACT  for the first time this year. I know it’s virtual, so do you have any advice on what to expect and how an ECP might spend their time? 

    - Conference Rookie

    Dear Conference Rookie,

    As you know, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology 19th Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) is here! As an STP member, you already have access — you just need to register on the website (link). If you’re not already a member of STP, make sure to join or renew your membership (it’s SO worth the $25 annual fee; link). 

    But what’s the big difference from previous ACTs? ACT 2020 is 100% virtual! This means a whole new approach to some of the conference favorites. The conference committee has done an excellent job transitioning to online delivery and we are excited to see what this year’s conference has in store. In particular, synchronous sessions for ACT will occur Sunday, October 4 through Saturday, October 10. "On-demand" asynchronous presentations will also be available through the STP website (link). 

    If you are new to the conference or curious about the line-up of events, make sure you explore the full schedule.  However, here are a few activities that we would recommend for a first-time ECP attendee (or any ECP attendee, really!). They will provide you with many opportunities for professional development and networking. 

    Important to note as you pencil these into your agenda: ALL TIMES BELOW ARE CENTRAL TIME.

    Take part in the ECP Speed Mentoring Event
    • We are excited to announce that our 2nd annual Speed Mentoring session kicks off the start of ACT! This is completely FREE to those who have registered for the event. 

    • It will take place on Sunday, October 4 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Based on the success of the event last year, we extended the time for conversations - we heard your feedback and made the event 2 hours instead of one!

    • Speed Mentoring is a one-time event (the mentors are not signing on for a longer-term mentoring relationship) with minimal prep necessary, and more details will be sent to registrants when the time gets closer. Mentees will be able to meet with more than one mentor.

    • Pre-Registration required: 

    Enjoy Virtual Game Night hosted by your ECP Committee
    • We will be playing “Jackbox” games and enjoying some much needed social time. We believe that this is a great opportunity to network with colleagues and other conference attendees. All are welcome, including non-ECPs! 

    • Virtual Game Night will take place on Monday, October 5 from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

    Attend the Keynote and other synchronous events throughout the week
    • Make sure you explore the full schedule (log into STP/ACT website to access)

    Participate in the Professional Development Workshop presented by your ECP Committee
    • We welcome all ECPs to our synchronous session, Crafting Your Career: Developing An Academic Plan For Success As An Early Career Psychologist.

    • It will take place on Saturday, October 10 from 12:15 pm to 1:15 pm. 

    We look forward to seeing you at these activities and around other scheduled events. Please feel free to reach out to any of us at any time during the conference. We’d love to meet you! 

    In fact, STP is now accepting nominations (including self-nominations) for one new member of the STP Early Career Psychologists (ECP) Committee. If you are interested, please feel free to ask us questions at ACT! Nominees must be members of STP and qualify as “early career.” Early career is defined as anyone within ten years of beginning teaching psychology while not a student. This includes both secondary educators and those teaching at the college/university level.

    The ECP Committee is composed of five members who are engaged in establishing their professional careers. The Vice President of RRR will serve as an ex-officio member. The Committee is charged with spearheading activities and opportunities to aid ECPs through education, training, and networking, and representing ECP interests in division matters.

    Nominations should include a CV, the name of one reference who agrees to be contacted, and a two-page maximum statement of interest in the position. Please address any past or current involvement in STP, attendance/presentations at STP conferences, and your ability/willingness to travel to ACT each year for ECP committee business. 

    Minimum qualifications for ECP Committee members:

    • An active member of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology

    • Within ten years of beginning teaching psychology while not a student (at either the secondary or college/university level)

    • Able to commit to a three-year term starting in January 2021

    • Able to attend monthly or bi-monthly virtual meetings of the committee

    • Willingness to respond quickly and consistently to email communication

    • Able to attend the Annual Conference on Teaching

    Desired Qualifications for new ECP Committee members:

    Interest and/or experience in any of the following:

    • Increasing engagement with members via social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter)

    • Developing and presenting professional development sessions at conferences

    • Creating professional development resources for ECPs

    • Organizing and hosting social hours at various conferences

    Please submit your application as well as any questions about the committee or application process to stp-ecp@teachpsych.orgby November 15, 2020. 

    Have more questions?

    For our monthly column, we want to research and answer questions that mean the most to you as an early career psychologist. If you have a question, chances are you are not the only one! Fill out the quick and simple form at and your question may be featured in an upcoming column! 

    See you at ACT!

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D. 

    For regular updates on ECP activities:

    Follow us on Twitter (@STP_ECP) and Facebook (

    Email us at:

    Visit our STP website:

  • 10 Sep 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    It’s only September and I’m already getting requests for letters of recommendation! Do you have any tips for how to do this effectively and efficiently while balancing my other professional responsibilities?


    Mastering LORs

    Dear Mastering LORs,

    Despite the fact that letters of recommendation for graduate school, grants, and awards are a major part of the jobs of many teachers, this is one of the many skills that we often don’t receive formal training in. We’re so glad you asked, because we have a few tips to offer to make this process both simpler and more effective, for you and your students.

    Tip 1: Find some exemplars

    Often, by the time we are asked to write our first letters of recommendation, we have not actually seen one. This makes sense, of course, considering that most letters that were written for us were confidential. Just like any style of writing, letters of recommendation have norms and conventions. Seek out some examples. Specifically, ask a colleague if you can see some letters they have written, especially if they were for similar purposes (i.e., what does a letter for a PhD program in psychology look like? An MA? Med school?). Drew Appleby and Karen Appleby, psychologists who have researched and written on the graduate school application process for years, offers specific examples for various skills in these two articles: Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School, Six Paragons and Letters of Recommendation for Graduate School, The Final Six Paragons. And of course you can search the Internet, though in our experience, letters from similar others for similar purposes are more helpful.

    Tip 2: Provide information to your students about the process, ahead of time if possible

    The more you can organize and filter the requests from students up front, the better. A lot of students don’t know norms and rules around requesting letters or what information to provide, so help them out! Consider including this information on your personal webpage or making a resource that can be shared with course sites. If you’re not sure what to advise, you’re in luck! We have some thoughtful and generous colleagues who have shared experience and research-based advice framed for students online.

    “A Quick Guide for Requesting Letters of Recommendation” from Dana Dunn

    “How to Request a Strong Letter of Recommendation”  from Drew Appleby and Karen Appleby (Molly’s personal favorite)

    “Kisses of Death in the Graduate School Application Process” from Drew Appleby and Karen Appleby

    In addition, if you have specific guidelines for what qualifies students for a letter from you (e.g., 1 year of being a research or teaching assistant; at least 3 courses; working together in at least 2 contexts, like RA and student), provide this information up front.

    Tip 3: Collect additional information from the student to help you write a strong letter

    In addition to information about the schools/programs/deadlines, consider what else would help you write the strongest letter you can. I always have students fill out the Strong Letter of Rec Form from Appleby and this has transformed my letter writing. You might also request a transcript, a writing sample, a draft of the personal statement, a resume or CV, a statement of goals, etc. Bonus tip: Collect all of this information in an online form like Google Forms or Microsoft Forms to make it easier to find later!

    Tip 4: Be thoughtful and selective with the language that you use

    It may not surprise you to learn that subtle biases may shape the way you discuss your students’ qualifications based on race or gender, and this may unintentionally impact the way these students are viewed. Luckily, there are resources out there to help you select your words carefully!

    “Avoid gender bias in reference writing” from the University of Arizona Commission on the Status of Women

    “Avoid racial bias in letter of reference writing” from Asmeret Asefaw Berhe and Sora Kim, UC Merced

    Tip 5: It’s okay to say “No”

    Finally, you are totally allowed to be selective or strategic with the number or types of letters you write. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the sheer number of requests you receive, and need to kindly turn down requests - protect your time! You may also receive requests for letters you do not feel comfortable writing, either because you cannot write a strong letter based on student qualifications or you do not know the student well enough to write a letter. Either way, be honest, kind, and firm with explaining your reasons to students. In my experience, students don’t realize that a letter from someone who does not know them well may actually hurt rather than help their applications. They simply ask the person they are most comfortable with. After I explain this, they thank me for providing this insight and usually have other mentors to ask instead. You, of course, need to be mindful of department norms to make sure you are contributing to the overall load (i.e., how many letters do most people write? what decision rules do others use for saying yes/no?), but please don’t feel like you have to say yes to every single request, especially if your letter will not prove helpful anyway.

    We hope these tips help you feel more confident going into recommendation letter season, and if you have any more questions, please come see us on Twitter or Facebook and we’d be glad to help.

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

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