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

Promoting Partnerships: STP Partnerships Small Grant Program

2014 Winners

Melissa Birkett (Northern Arizona University) and K. Laurie Dickson (Northern Arizona University): Facilitating International Networking for Community College Faculty at the 6th International Conference on Psychology Education

The American Psychological Association recognizes the importance of embedding international perspectives in the teaching of psychology and enhancing student learning of ethical and social responsibility in a diverse world. Community college faculty play a critical role in meeting these outcomes for the psychology major. Although published resources to promote a diverse and globally inclusive learning experience exist, we believe the opportunity to work closely with international colleagues over an extended period is essential to effectively implementing diverse perspectives in the psychology curriculum. We’ve developed a networking program for community college faculty to partner with international scholars to design and implement learning opportunities in community college courses that facilitate student achievement of these important learning goals. As part of the 6th International Conference on Psychology Education - ICOPE6 ( to be held at Northern Arizona University in August 2014, approximately 20 community college instructors and 10-20 international scholars will participate in collaborative partnerships throughout the 2014-2015 academic year.

Jane Noll (University of South Florida), Jennifer Peluso (Florida Atlantic University), Kristin Nichols-Lopez (Florida International University), Barbara Licht (Florida State University), and Jane Halonen (University of West Florida): Florida Council for Undergraduate Psychology Curriculum and Assessment

Florida has recently become a national bell-weather for challenges to undergraduate psychology; criticisms of the goals and achievements of undergraduate psychology majors have been rampant and Florida legislators have questioned whether the major itself should receive state funding (see Halonen, 2011). Additionally, the state has mandated all state system universities to adhere to a prescribed assessment protocol that fosters evaluation of content, critical thinking, and communication. The mandate does not dictate how such achievements should be accomplished, which has encouraged a variety of approaches for both large and small institutions. Along with state mandates, Florida psychology faculty must undergo routine SACS assessment oversight. Finally, the new Undergraduate Learning Goals and Outcomes just approved by the American Psychological Association provide a fresh impetus to do a comprehensive program review. We hope to collaborate in an invitational conference for representatives from each of the Florida State University System institutions in order to describe, create and share strategies that strengthen undergraduate assessment practices across the state and contribute to the development of a state-wide “voice” on undergraduate matters. Tentative plans for the conference include a keynote address, discussion groups, and political strategy sessions to address the ongoing legislative challenges in the state.

Catherine Overson (University of New Hampshire) and Bill Stine (University of New Hampshire): Applying the Science of Learning in the High School Psychology Course

In association with the New Hampshire Psychological Association Annual Student Convention, the University of New Hampshire Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning will offer Applying the Science of Learning in the High School Psychology Course, a two-hour workshop for teachers of psychology at the high school level. High-school psychology teachers from across New Hampshire will be invited to participate in the two-hour workshop and then to spend the rest of the convention connecting with faculty from the universities and colleges in NH as well as the undergraduates who attend the convention. During the two-hour workshop, presenters will demonstrate how teachers can apply cognitively-based principles in their instruction. Some of the principles to be presented are the optimal spacing/interleaving of study, self-explanation, test-enhanced learning, principles of multimedia learning, deep processing, and metacognition. These and other principles, when applied appropriately, have been shown to have positive impacts on student learning. Participants will also receive access to an e-book on applying the science of learning in education (Benassi, Overson, and Hakala, Eds.), as well as an instructional module on assessing and improving students’ study skills (again based on science of learning principles).

Susan Simonian (College of Charleston) and Mark Hurd (College of Charleston): Enhancing Psychological and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Education

The aim of this grant is two-fold. First, we will further development of partnerships among the College of Charleston (CofC), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the Academic Magnet High School (AMHS) of North Charleston, SC. Second, we will enhance interdisciplinary science education and inter-institutional cooperation by facilitating excellence in teaching and research among these institutions. With assistance from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), we developed a Teacher Training Fellow (TTF) Program to enhance neuroscience teaching opportunities for graduate students from MUSC. Our recent APA, Board of Educational Affairs, Interdisciplinary Education and Training in Psychology Award has allowed for multisensory, multimodal education experiences for students in K-4 through high school. We will expand our educational outreach efforts with AMHS offering a one-day workshop to create a dialog with the faculty from CofC and MUSC, MUSC post-doctoral and graduate students and AMHS faculty as well as administrators. We will expand our mentorship of AMHS faculty to further develop their teaching ability of research methods, data collection, management, and analysis. Finally, a research seminar will be presented to sophomore AMHS students to facilitate initiation of research and their “match” with an external research mentor during their junior year.

2013 Winners

Melissa Beers (The Ohio State University), Jessica C. Hill (Utah Valley University), and Clarissa A. Thompson (University of Oklahoma): Essential pedagogical skills for first time graduate instructors

Preparation for teaching at the college level has been inconsistent despite early teaching experiences being recognized as formative (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2010). In some cases, graduates are simply handed a roster, a textbook, and told the class location (Bain, 2005). In other instances, advanced preparation is provided (see Beers, Hill, & Thompson, 2012, for a summary of graduate training programs in the U.S.). When graduate programs provide teacher preparation, effort is typically focused on developing practical skills that will enable first-time instructors to function in the classroomundefinedbut what are the most essential skills for new teachers? Although research has identified characteristics of master teachers, little empirical work has identified fundamental skills and common mistakes made by new teachers (Buskist, 2000; Keely et al., 2006). Utilizing methods employed to investigate master teaching (e.g., Keely et al., 2006), we will identify critical skills that should be included in the training of graduate instructors with the goal of developing a valid tool to provide first-time instructors with constructive feedback. This new tool will complement the Teacher Behavior Checklist (Keely et al., 2006) that addresses more advanced teaching skills. Results of this study will assist graduate institutions to further develop their pedagogy training programs in an evidence-based way.

Jessie Borelli (Pomona College), Debra Mashek (Harvey Mudd College), and Dave Sbarra (University of Arizona): Teaching relationship science through cross-institutional collaborations

Liberal Arts Colleges and Research I Universities serve different missions. Interaction between these two spheres is limited, creating barriers for both students and faculty. The primary objective of this proposal is to foster a cross-institutional teaching collaboration that capitalizes on the unique strengths of both environments, to educate undergraduates about the science of relationships, and to facilitate greater exposure between students and faculty in different academic contexts. To do so, Dr. David Sbarra (University of Arizona), a leading figure in relationship science, will visit the Claremont Colleges to (1) provide a public lecture on his research program, (2) develop collaborations with faculty and students at the Claremont Colleges, and (3) advise undergraduate and graduate students on their career paths and research projects. Similarly, Drs. Borelli and Mashek will provide professional guidance and teaching mentorship to graduate students at the University of Arizona. As a result of this collaboration, we anticipate the following benefits:  undergraduates at the Claremont Colleges will gain exposure to content at the leading edge of relationship science; graduate students will receive mentorship in professional development and teaching issues; and the three faculty members involved will have the opportunity to foster new collaborative teaching and research projects.

Lisa Dinella (Monmouth University) and Natalie Ciarocco (Monmouth University): The second biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology (ACToP) Conference 

The second biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology (ACToP) Conference, hosted by Monmouth University’s Department of Psychology, will be held September 20-21, 2013. With a view of the scenic Navesink River, and the Jersey Shore as a backdrop, psychology instructors from both secondary (2-year and 4-year) and high school communities will gather at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, New Jersey to discuss teaching and learning in the psychology classroom. The conference slogan is “Creating Collaborative Communities of Psychology Teachers,” and the conference goal is to unite psychology teaching professionals in an atmosphere that creates and strengthens the connections between those passionate about teaching psychology. The conference will consist of a variety of concurrent sessions and poster sessions, and will open with keynote speaker Dr. R. Eric Landrum speaking about workforce readiness and the preparation of undergraduate psychology majors. Additionally, invited speaker Dr. Susan Nolan will speak on how to integrate statistical and graphing concepts throughout the curriculum. Also, maximizing institutional assessment strategies will be highlighted at the conference. Conference attendees will submit proposals for the concurrent sessions or poster presentations. For full conference details, please visit

Jessica L. Hartnett (Gannon University) and John E. Edlund (Rochester Institute of Technology): Encouraging critical thinking using electronic discussion boards in statistics and research methods classes

The goal of our project is to test whether discussion boards can be used to improve critical thinking in research methods courses in psychology. These discussion boards consist of a series of recent popular press articles featuring science in the news, applications of scientific knowledge to your life, and other real world applications. In this study, we will compare whether critical thinking (as assessed by multiple published critical thinking measures) improves during a semester using these discussion boards (compared to a control quarter where the discussion boards are not used). Specifically, we will measure critical thinking abilities as the start of the semester along with measuring critical thinking abilities at the end of semester. We expect that our discussion boards will lead to an increase in critical thinking (when compared to the normal change that occurs during a control semester).

Rebekah Layton (University at Albany, SUNY) and Maureen Harrison (Emma Willard School): Neural fusion: Student learning facilitated by collaborative student interactions

During a collaborative afternoon, Emma Willard School (EWS) high school students will travel to the University at Albany (UAlbany) to learn about and experience collegiate psychology opportunities firsthand.  A university section of an intermediate level personality course will be co-taught and attended by collegiate and high-school psychology instructors/students to enhance the overall learning experience. The class meeting will focus on the study of the neurobiological underpinnings of personality and the implications that these have for behavior.  Undergraduate students will further their course learning objectives by combining their own experiences with those of students earlier in their developmental lifespan during class activities and discussions.  EWS students from Advanced Placement Psychology and Neuroscience courses will participate in an interactive class session, hear from a panel of graduate students and undergraduate research assistants about opportunities available in the field of psychology, join psychology research lab personnel for a discussion over an informal lunch, and tour psychology lab research areas to learn about current research projects. While UAlbany students will gain insight into age-relevant principles of personality, EWS students will gain an understanding of potential education, training, and career possibilities in the field of psychology.

Micah Sadigh (Cedar Crest College), Kerrie Baker (Cedar Crest College), and Robin Musselman (Lehigh Carbon Community College): Building a bridge between psychology programs of 4-year and 2-year colleges through pedagogy

A growing number of students are opting to begin their college education at 2-year colleges, after which many of them make the transition to 4-year colleges. The purpose of this project is to build a stronger bridge between the psychology programs of a 2-year and a 4-year college, by organizing a conference for students that focuses on the breadth of psychology through pedagogy. Additionally, the effectiveness of the teaching methods employed at the conference will be assessed via the use of brief questionnaires and rating scales. This information will lead to further collaborative projects between the two colleges, particularly in terms of pedagogical enhancements. Finally, we believe that this project will act as a model that may inspire other 2-year and 4-year colleges to plan activities that could achieve two important goals: (1) improved pedagogy, and (2) ongoing, long-term, collaborations between the faculty of such colleges. Ultimately, the achievement of the aforementioned goals should, above all, benefit students throughout their college career, and beyond; and will hopefully make their transition from a 2-year to a 4-year college much more seamless and rewarding.

2012 Winners

The Small Grants--Promoting Partnerships Committee is pleased to announce the 2012 Award Winners:

Thomas M. Brinthaupt (Middle Tennessee State University), Linda Jones (Belmont University), and Kiesa Getz Kelley (Tennessee State University).  Building research Bridges between High School and College Psychology Programs:  Psychology Educators of Tennessee 3rd Annual Teaching of Psychology Workshop

Julie Guay McIntyre (The Sage Colleges) and Karen Brakke (Spelman College).  Expanding Views of Emerging Adulthood:  Diverse Perspectives from across the U. S.

Kimberly Patterson (Cypress Bay High School), Jonathan Banks (Nova Southeastern University), and Jaime Tartar (Nova Southeastern University).  Research Initiative in Psychology for High School Students:  A First Year Pilot Program.

Jennifer J. Stiegler-Balfour (University of New England) and Victor A. Benassi (University of New Hampshire).  Applying the Science of Learning in Face-to-Face and Online Psychology Courses

2011 Winners

Wendy Close (Wisconsin Lutheran College) and the 16 other members of the Intercollegiate Capstone Project Research Team.  Capstone Courses and Program Portfolios in Undergraduate Psychology.

Lisa Dinella, Natalie Ciarocco and Gary Lewandowski (Monmouth University).
Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology Conference.

Robyn Kondrad (University of Virginia) and David Daniel (James Madison University).  Graduate Teacher Training Collaborative for the Teaching of Psychology.

Christine Smith, Kathleen Burns, and Melissa Schnurr (University of Wisconsin-Green Bay); Lee McCann (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh), and Jeff Norby (De Pere High School).  UWGB Enhancing Teaching of Psychology Conference.

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