PRESIDENT LETTER BLOG

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

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

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

    By Linda M. Woolf, STP President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    APA Passes Historic Apology To People of Color

    by Linda M. Woolf, STP President-Elect

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

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

    APA Resolutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Teaching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Task Force for Resources for “Pivot Teaching”

    Chair: Jenel Cavazos

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

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

    Chair: Arlen Garcia

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

    Task Force on Statistical Literacy, Reasoning, and Thinking

    Chair: Jessica Hartnett

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

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

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

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


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

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

    Presidential Theme

    Teaching to Make a Difference: A Social Justice Approach

    Task Force for “Teaching to Make a Difference”

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

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

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

    Task Force on “Decolonizing Psychology” in Introductory Psychology

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

    Task Force on Teaching Psychology and Climate Change

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

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

    I hope many of you will get involved!

    Best,

    Linda Woolf

    STP President-Elect

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

    Stealing Back Joy: A Renewed Focus on Student Mental Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What do you most value about STP?

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

  • 19 Oct 2021 4:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Linda M. Woolf, STP President-Elect

    I’m excited to announce the 2022 Presidential Initiatives and Task Forces! Please email me at president-elect@teachpsych.org if you are interested in serving on any of these task forces or if you have any questions.

    Presidential Theme

    Teaching to Make a Difference: A Social Justice Approach

    Task Forces

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

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

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

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

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

    I hope many of you will get involved!

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

    Is anyone else feeling burned out as we enter the 20th month since most of our world went into lockdown? University instructors have always been at high risk for getting burned out, as documented, for example, in a review of the literature between 2005 and 2020 (Fernández-Suárez et al. 2021). Other studies show similar trends among secondary school instructors (Molero et al., 2019). And burnout among instructors has been exacerbated during the pandemic. The World Health Organization defines burnout as a combination of three factors – exhaustion, job-related cynicism, and decreased effectiveness at work. Teaching during the pandemic? Check, check, and check.

    I know I’m not alone. Beth McMurtrie (2020) wrote the aptly titled article, “The pandemic is dragging on. Professors are burning out” for the Chronicle of Higher Education. As she describes it, “the problem [for some] has been a crushing workload combined with child-care challenges. For others, it’s a feeling that their institution expects them to be counselors and ed-tech experts on top of their regular responsibilities, even if it means working seven days a week.” She also highlights the additional challenges faced by Black and Latino professors who are often expected to support students of color, join committees on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and take on other similar roles. And she notes the added stress faced by contingent faculty members whose already precarious positions might be even more threatened by pandemic cost-cutting measures.

    And there are distinct stressors for those teaching online, particularly if we had not done so before the pandemic. We have had to learn new technology at record speed, continually adapt to changes in technology, and then teach our students what we just learned (e.g., Mheidly et al., 2020). One professor colorfully described these challenges: “I needed a motor scooter, and they gave me a 747 without an instruction manual” (McMurtry, 2020). In line with the WHO definition of burnout, these challenges can be exhausting, cynicism-inducing, and productivity-sapping.  

    Research on preventing burnout, which is easier than recovering once you have slammed against the proverbial burnout wall, suggests that awareness of the risk of burnout is a first step (Mheidly et al., 2020). A number of suggestions relate to actions that an institution can take to increase awareness and implement interventions. But there also are steps we can take on our own. Notice when exhaustion and cynicism are setting in, and work to break the cycle. Take breaks, especially if you’re working online. Engage in exercise, meditation, and other healthful practices. McMurtrie (2020) and Mheidly and colleagues (2020) both strongly recommend actively seeking social support. Create virtual networks of supportive colleagues, even if it means one more Zoom meeting; elicit support on social media by sharing your struggles; and check in on each other even if it’s just a quick email to see if a colleague is doing OK. (May I also suggest writing a blog post on burnout? It’s been surprisingly therapeutic!)

    Or maybe fight your burnout by joining me and our supportive network of STP colleagues at the virtual Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT), coming up on October 14 and 15! It will be the largest ACT yet, with several hundred attendees, live programming on both days, and dozens of asynchronous offerings available starting on October 14. And just $25 USD for members. (The $50 cost for nonmembers includes membership.) See you there?

    The latest introduction in my ongoing series of “meet the EC” features Gabrielle Smith, our Interim Vice President for Diversity and International Relations. When our previous VP, Kelley Haynes-Mendez, took a full-time position at APA this past spring, Gabrielle applied to take on the role, and we have been lucky to have someone with her talents and experience shepherding STP’s work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and internationalization. Gabrielle had been serving on (and continues to serve on) the 2021 presidential task force on diversity, equity, inclusion, and internationalization, so was already involved in this important work for STP. We look forward to her continued contributions in the years to come! As always, check out STP’s Get Involved page to see where you might fit within our organization!

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

    I serve as The Interim Vice President for Diversity and International Relations. The Vice President for Diversity and International Relations is responsible for collaborating and consulting with the other four VPs, the Chairs of the Diversity Committee and the International Relations Committee, the Task Force on the Integration of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and International Initiatives across STP, and other Executive Committee members to ensure that diversity, equity, inclusion, and international relations are considered in all Society’s activities. The Vice President oversees and works closely with the chairs of the Diversity Committee, International Relations Committee, the Task Force on the Integration of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion and International Initiatives across STP, and International Twitter Poster Conference Committee to advance diversity and international issues within STP. Additionally, I consult with Presidential task forces and our journal editor to address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues. As an interim VP, I am also charged with maintaining the position, continuing the work of the previous VP, and ensuring that the incoming VP has a solid base to start her term. Presently, I am continuing the work of Kelley Haynes-Mendez in coordinating an organizational self-assessment for diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am also consulting with the current Presidential task force on diversity, equity, and inclusion alongside chairs and members of the Diversity and International Relations committees. I hope to spend the remainder of my time in the VP role engaging communities that have traditionally not been as visible at STP, set the foundation for the next VP to conduct a DEI related needs assessment, and enhance access to DEI related resources.

    What do you most value about STP?

    As someone who is still reasonably new to STP, I value the community feel of STP. I appreciate how quickly I was welcomed into the fold and put to work! The sense of community that exists in STP is present because when you enter the space you are not a spectator for long! STP is a community, and your mere presence will ensure that you will get integrated into the fabric of the community at some level. My process of becoming involved with the organization has been an interesting whirlwind, and I can attest to the meaningfulness of the extra layer of engagement with STP. I fell into STP during the virtual ACT conference of 2020. Many of my graduate school colleagues from the University of Alabama (ROLL TIDE!) always raved about STP and told me to join. I finally decided to listen, and in 2020 I decided to submit a presentation on faculty identity and teaching. I titled the presentation Teaching While Black, and it was well-received, and I thought, “Great. That was fun!”, not expecting anything beyond that talk. Afterward, so many people contacted me about the presentation. Many presentation attendees directed me to seek a position with the Task Force on the Integration of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and International Initiatives across STP to address the issues explored in my talk. I was also contacted to write an essay related to my STP talk for the STP E-xcellence in Teaching blog (it should be live sometime in October). I was enjoying my taskforce position and working diligently with the committee on several meaningful initiatives when Kelley Hayes-Mendez announced that she was transitioning to a role at APA. I was then contacted as a possible candidate to serve as interim VP of Diversity and International Relations, and the rest, as they say, is history. STP has many opportunities for leadership and meaningful engagement, and it is easy to connect and get involved with the organization in a meaningful way. Once my interim term ends, I am sure that I will stay involved with the STP community for years to come. 

    References

    Fernández-Suárez, I., García-González, M. A., Torrano, F., & García-González, G. (2021). Study of the prevalence of burnout in university professors in the period 2005–2020. Education Research International, 2021, Article ID 7810659. https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/7810659

    Mheidly, N., Fares, M. Y., & Fares, J. (2020). Coping with stress and burnout associated with telecommunication and online learning. Frontiers in Public Health, 8, 672. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.574969

    Molero Jurado, M. D. M., Pérez-Fuentes, M. D. C., Atria, L., Oropesa Ruiz, N. F., & Gázquez Linares, J. J. (2019). Burnout, perceived efficacy, and job satisfaction: Perception of the educational context in high school teachers. BioMed Research International, 2019, Article ID 1021408. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/1021408

  • 07 Sep 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s teaching conference season! The European Society for Psychology Learning and Teaching (ESPLAT ) conference took place virtually on September 2-3. Under conference director Birgit Spinath, who is also the recipient of one of two 2021 STP presidential citations, the conference was shifted online from its original Heidelberg University venue in Germany. The ESPLAT conference included a live, synchronous discussion among leaders of several regional professional psychology learning and teaching organizations.

    ·     Dawn Albertson of Bath Spa University in the United Kingdom and I represented STP;

    ·     Susanne Narciss of Technische Universität in Germany represented ESPLAT;

    ·     Tony Machin of the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, represented Australian Psychology Learning and Teaching (AusPLAT); and

    ·     Lenka Sokolová of the Univerzita Komenského v Bratislave in Slovakia represented the European Federation of Psychology Teachers’ Associations.

    The members of our panel discussed changes in psychological science and psychology learning and teaching; trends in international cooperation; and ways to expand the conversation beyond our own regions – especially to regions with fewer resources. We recorded our one-hour Zoom conversation and it will be available both at the upcoming virtual AusPLAT conference on September 16-17, as well as asynchronously at our own Annual Conference on Teaching on October 16-17. Whether or not you get a chance to watch our discussion, please reach out to me with at susan.nolan@shu.edu with any feedback on ways that STP can be more inclusive from an international perspective (or in other ways)!

    In related conference news, and as you likely will have heard by now, we have made the difficult decision to shift ACT from in person to virtual. (You can read more about the shift on the STP website and in the September edition of STP News.) It was an incredibly sad decision, as so many of us were eager to gather in person with our friends and colleagues who value teaching as much as we do. I want to give a shout out to Executive Director Tom Pusateri, Past President Amy Fineburg, and ACT Director Lindsay Masland, all of whom were part of discussions about the shift. In particular, Lindsay has done an enormous amount of work to gather and communicate data, thoughtfully lay out our various options, and facilitate the move to a virtual conference at this late date. I am certain that in Lindsay’s hands, the virtual version of ACT will be both fun and professionally rewarding – enabling us to learn from, share ideas with, and connect with each other. I’ll “see” you there!

    = = = = =

    The latest introductions in my ongoing series of “meet the EC” include two of the hardest working and most important people in the organization, the secretary and treasurer of our Executive Committee (EC). Our secretary, Stephanie Afful, keeps us on track during and outside of meetings, including managing and recording our endless email threads, mostly about business but occasionally about zoom-bombing pets or bizarre dreams! Her patience, professionalism, and sense of humor make the engine that is STP run. Our treasurer, Jeff Holmes, juggles our complicated budget, myriad reimbursements, dealings with various APA personnel and protocols, and more – the apparent ease with which he does his job belying the complexity of his position. And both the secretary and treasurer are full voting members of the EC. As always, check out STP’s Get Involved page to see where you might fit within our organization!

    Stephanie Afful, STP Secretary

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

    Can I get a witness? (Raising my hand) I think I might have the best role in the EC! As secretary, my job is to witness all the hard work that happens within our organization. From organizing and recording our committee meetings and on-line discussions, calling all votes, and communicating that hard work with the EC and STP members. The secretary also keeps us organized and on task – which is actually not that hard to do when we all value each other's service and perspective. This is the hardest working and most generous group of faculty I have ever served with. In addition to the current tasks of the Executive Committee, the secretary also updates our Bylaws and Policies & Procedures which requires some organizational memory. I absolutely could not perform this role as secretary without our fearless Executive Director, Tom Pusateri.

    What do you most value about STP?

    As many of my colleagues have mentioned, I found my professional home in STP. I started attending STP programming in graduate school, knowing pretty early on that I was more comfortable as a teacher than a researcher. STP helped me solidify my professional identity, that I could be both! I started my service in STP as the chair of our newly formed Early Career Psychologists Committee, made some amazing friends/colleagues along the way, and am now starting my second term as secretary to the Executive Committee. I think if you read our newsletter, participated in the Facebook page, or attended ACT, you know how generous and welcoming this group of faculty are – and I am a better teacher and human because of it!

    Jeff Holmes, STP Treasurer

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

    When I took over as STP Treasurer in 2018, I knew very little about what to expect. I am not an accountant, so my primary concerns were that funds would pass through my hands or that I might be responsible for spending or investment decisions. I was relieved to learn that these concerns were unfounded. What few people may realize is that the treasurer of STP does not make spending decisions or directly manage accounts. Instead, the treasurer is a critical conduit between the executive committee (which makes decisions based on votes by committee members) and the APA (where the organization’s accounts are held). Although there are many aspects to the position, the treasurer does not decide where money goes—the treasurer carries out the directives of the executive committee.

    What do you most value about STP?

    I became involved with STP at the beginning of my career due to the sheer luck of landing a job where, as it turned out, the famous Barney Beins also worked. Based on his mentorship, I began presenting at STP conferences and participating in associated events. My connections with members of STP have been exceptionally impactful and enjoyable. A shared love of teaching and dedication to teaching well—often coupled with a shared sense of good humor—has rewarded me with many professional associations that have evolved into true friendships. I prefer not to imagine what my professional and personal life would be like without STP.

  • 02 Aug 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    STP’s Executive Committee continues to explore ways to make our organization more inclusive and access to our resources more equitable. Some changes to our processes are opening up new ways to expand our reach. Thanks to Executive Director, Tom Pusateri, psychology educators can now join or renew their memberships in STP directly on our website. Members may continue to join or renew through the American Psychological Association or the Association for Psychological Science, but now you will have a third way to join us!

    As we use the STP website as a membership portal, we gain more control over the process. For example, we will be able to gather more data about our members. And, as an added benefit to the organization and for the planet, those who join directly via STP’s website will be able to opt in to receive a hardcopy of our journal, Teaching of Psychology, by mail, but the default will now be electronic only. Of course, if you prefer the print journal, please do make that choice. But we fully admit to taking advantage of a behavioral nudge (Carlsson et al., 2021) to make the environmentally friendlier decision the easier one!

    Perhaps most importantly is a new policy aimed at expanding access to STP and its resources. Beginning soon, STP will use the World Bank classification of countries by income to determine dues. For those living or working in high-income countries, including the U.S., Canada, many European countries, and Australia, annual dues will remain at $25; however, annual dues will now be $5 for those living or working in all other countries. For those who are eligible and who choose the lower dues, access to our journal will be electronic only. While acknowledging that $5 is still prohibitive for some and that lower dues doesn’t solve inequities related to lack of access to the internet, we hope that this new initiative will expand access to STP and to our resources, including grants and awards.

    These new developments in access to resources lead to the latest in my ongoing series of introductions of the Vice Presidents of STP. Meet Bill Altman, our VP for Resources! As you’ll see from his description of his position, Bill oversees a wide-ranging portfolio of STP resources. Bill and his team make it look easy, but there’s a ton of behind-the-scenes work in the development of the STP resources on which many of you rely. Here, Bill discusses his role within STP, the opportunities within his area, and why he so values her involvement in STP. As always, check out STP’s Get Involved page to see where you might fit within our organization!

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

    This is going to sound a bit circular, but I guess that’s the nature of the beast. As STP’s Vice President for Resources, I’m responsible for overseeing the development, maintenance, and functioning of our resources and some of our support services. But it’s important to note that I have the honor and pleasure of working with dedicated and wonderful colleagues who are in charge of each of these areas. Without them, very little would actually get done. So, my real function is to serve them in whatever ways they require. Sometimes that means advocating for resources; occasionally it’s helping to solve technical problems; and in other circumstances it may mean brainstorming about new programs, resources, or ways to serve our members.

    Perhaps the most obvious area in my portfolio, though totally in the background, is STP’s online presence. That includes pretty much everything with which our membership can interact (except each other, of course–so I hope I’ll see you all at ACT in October). One very large area is publications, which includes the journal Teaching of Psychology, STP E-Books, STP Book Notes, and the E-xcellence in Teaching essays. Another big area deals with teaching resources, including our Best Practices in Teaching and Learning resources, Project Syllabus, and three very different wikis: Today in the History of Psychology, Psychology in Communities, and the Teaching of Psychology Idea eXchange (ToPIX). I also oversee the Professional Development Mentoring Program and SoTL Workshop, which are both very popular with our members (incidentally, I’ve served as a mentor for several years, and encourage you all to join either as mentors or mentees). And not to be forgotten is our extremely valuable Department Consulting Service, which can provide help for any psychology department looking at overall evaluation, curriculum planning, faculty development, or any of a host of other things.

    And of course, if you have ideas for new resources, or for helping to make our resources better, I’d love to hear from you!

    What do you most value about STP?

    The people and our sense of community. I am, and have long been a member of several other professional organizations, all of which provide great resources and terrific colleagues. But when I first joined STP, it was like finding my way home. It’s one of the few places where I can find a group of people who share my passion for teaching, as well as for doing and appreciating research on teaching and learning. More than that, it’s a group of colleagues that are as welcoming and kind to new members as to those who’ve been involved for years.

    Reference

    Carlsson, F., Gravert, C., Johansson-Stenman, O., & Kurz, V. (2021). The use of green nudges as an environmental policy instrument. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.1086/715524

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