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.

  • 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. 

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  • 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.

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

    Your ECP committee is sharing a snapshot of what it has been like to be an ECP during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    All ECP committee members are early career professionals. We have navigated changes in teaching delivery this spring and are spending our summers planning for an uncertain future while also trying to plan our promotion portfolios, etc. This is our 2020 teaching time capsule.

    Karenna: Like many ECPs across the nation, I had to quickly switch delivery for 4 classes during an extended spring break. As you all know, this is not an adequate amount of time to prepare online course delivery for 3 different preps, and, to be honest, it was a bit overwhelming! However, since these were classes I had already taught before, I felt that I could (at the very least) support my students through this sudden shift to online. I focused on organizing my modules with engaging presentations, YouTube videos, demonstrations, and mental health resources. While I don’t think my Spring 2020 courses were “model” online courses, I felt that students were well-connected to each other and myself, and they learned what I wanted them to learn. For the summer, I taught two online courses: one synchronous and one asynchronous. I felt much better prepared when I had about 4 weeks to prep for online course delivery. Just as in face-to-face teaching, I felt that I learned so much by prepping a new course (even though these were classes I had previously taught in the summer session before, just in a different modality). I learned to foster community better by using the Groups feature in Canvas for discussions and responses, and also found that a mid-week deadline (in addition to an end-of-week deadline) worked well for checking in and making sure students didn’t fall behind. I will be using both strategies moving forward, as I will be teaching online exclusively this fall. This October, my promotion portfolio is due, and I will be reviewed by my colleagues and dean for promotion to Senior Lecturer. I am spending part of my summer making sure that my portfolio highlights all the hard work I’ve done in the last few years!

    Daniel: I feel very blessed in that, while most of my teaching tends to happen face-to-face, I was fortunate enough to have had several opportunities to teach online prior to the onset of COVID-19. Additionally, the University of Denver is on the quarter system, which means we were able to finish up the Winter quarter face-to-face before transitioning to online for the Spring quarter. Thankfully, this made for a relatively smooth transition from face-to-face to online teaching. I taught three classes in the Spring: Introduction to Statistics, Psychology of Diversity, and Social Psychology—the latter being with graduate students. I already had an asynchronous implementation of Introduction to Statistics ready, so that was fairly easy to copy and paste (with minor adjustments) for the Spring. The other two courses were very discussion-focused, and it felt most appropriate to make them synchronous. I was happy with these choices, and I believe I was able to accomplish my course objectives despite the pivot. This was also a great time to support my colleagues who haven’t yet taught online, and I enjoyed helping them learn how to record videos, use Zoom’s functions, and so on. In the Fall quarter, the University of Denver plans to offer a mix of face-to-face, hybrid/hyflex, and online/distance classes. I will be teaching two classes online (Introduction to Statistics, again) and one class face-to-face (Data Analysis Using R, for the first time). Times are certainly uncertain, but overall, I’m enjoying the extra challenge and opportunities for innovation in our teaching. I hope you feel the same!

    Albee: I remember telling my students on a Friday in March 2020 that classes would be migrating to an online format and that class was the last one in which we would be together in-person. They had multiple questions during that class along with strong requests to make the class asynchronous, and I remember being honest with them and saying, “I don’t know” many times. The Monday after, my institution offered workshops to learn Microsoft Teams. I had to understand that platform well enough to use it for my own teaching as well as to help my students navigate it. After modifying several assignments and making new deadlines for the 4 classes I was teaching, I communicated all changes to students using email and the learning management system. I was worried about students being able to access content (some of them did not have working laptops or computers at home) so I provided instructions to download apps (e.g., Microsoft Power Point, Microsoft Teams, YouTube, Turnitin Feedback Studio) on their smartphones. To enhance my content, since I honored my students’ requests for asynchronous delivery, I directed them to more online resources (e.g., TED Talks). Since I planned on having guest speakers in the classroom, I demonstrated how to record on Teams to my guest speakers (e.g., professionals who majored in psychology) and they were kind enough to do a lecture virtually so that students were able to hear their stories. In terms of academic honesty, I utilized more heavily, having most assignments submitted in that platform. In addition, I changed my exams, so students have a choice on what questions to answer. This helped students get a sense of ownership in their choice of questions and it was relatively easy to detect cheating if two or more students answered the exact same questions in the exact same order. Overall, there were more extensions of deadlines and more incomplete grading. In terms of advising, I did more work on the front-end as I prepared their degree audits prior to each meeting then we met virtually on Teams. In terms of scholarship, I actually attended more conferences this year since I could attend them virtually and costs are relatively lower. In terms of service, committees have met through various means including Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. There were actually more meetings since we did not have to travel and since we stuck at home. This fall, my institution is planning to conduct classes face-to-face. Thus, I am going to be more mindful about what to do in an in-person setting. I will plan on more games, videos, discussions, and activities so that class time is spent wisely. The changes due to the pandemic informed my teaching practices (i.e., backward design) and the decisions I made during the spring may actually help me in the fall as I work on my tenure portfolio. Like Karenna, my portfolio is due in October. Wish me luck!

    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 Jul 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECP Committee,

    I am considering my tenure/promotion portfolio and am concerned about how to present my work and having enough evidence for all areas due to many changes and cancellations from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please help!


    Perturbed About Portfolio

    Dear Perturbed About Portfolio,

    First, peruse your institution’s Faculty Handbook and check what areas are considered when reviewing promotion/tenure. For most institutions, there are three main areas in which faculty members must provide evidence to be considered for advancement. Typically, in addition to a self-written narrative, additional sources such as letters from colleagues, peer teaching observations, or student course evaluations may be required.

    Teaching: Narrative

    In the area of teaching, faculty members may reflect on several questions as they write their narratives:

    ·        How soon did you have to make changes to your classes due to the pandemic?

    ·        What changes did you make?

    ·        What resources did you utilize (e.g., STP ECP columns )?

    ·        What trainings did you attend (e.g., in-person, virtual, individual, intra-institution)?

    ·        How did you deliver your materials?

    ·        What changes did you make to your communication practices?

    ·        What changes did you make to assignments or grading methods?

    Teaching: Additional Sources

    ·        If you completed narrated PowerPoint presentations or recorded lectures for your courses, could you ask a colleague to evaluate your teaching using that format? There are often digital forms available within each institution to standardize this process and inform the evaluation.

    ·        If you utilized online platforms such as Kahoot or Poll Everywhere for review sessions or formative non-graded assessments, could you include that and accompanying data (e.g., how many students participated, what were pre vs. post review differences) as part of your portfolio to demonstrate engagement?

    ·        Being involved as a mentee in the STP Mentorship Program may provide great benefit and can help in the area of teaching.

    ·        While there is much controversy on the topic of student evaluations, what (if any) constructive comments have come up about your teaching from the students via the open section on the evaluation or via email informally (e.g., responding more quickly via email, having more virtual office hours, etc.)? These may be worth sharing in the portfolio.

    Scholarship: Narrative

    In the area of scholarship, faculty may have had several challenges such as not having students readily available in-person to be subjects in research, not having research assistants to help conduct data entry or data analysis, not receiving funding for research projects, or not having access to labs at all.

    ·        What are ways to conduct research using affordable online formats? Several schools have funding to access Survey Monkey or Qualtrics to obtain survey data. Other schools may have in-network systems such as Microsoft Forms to complete survey research.

    ·        What are ways that research assistants can be granted access to data? Perhaps some schools have the capability of distributing secure laptops or grant permission to download applications into home computers or borrowed laptops (e.g., SPSS).

    ·        If completing individual, original research is not possible due to not having research subjects, perhaps it may be time to consider being part of the solution to the replicability crisis. There are available databases on which to replicate research on websites such as the Center for Open Science, Collaborative Replications and Education Project (CREP), and Psychological Science Accelerator.

    ·        If you would like to be part of an existing effort, several organizations have the opportunity to contribute to ongoing projects. For example, Psi Chi’s Network for International Collaborative Exchange (NICE) supplies the proposal, a sample IRB, and ongoing support as a way for faculty and students to be involved in projects (e.g., getting participants from their schools).

    Scholarship: Additional Sources

    ·        There are a number of conferences that are opting for a virtual format (e.g., EPA, APA, APS). If you were accepted previously for these conventions, you have the opportunity to present your projects digitally. Some conferences require synchronous attendance and participation while others mandate a prerecorded talk uploaded by a certain date. Including your work in these conferences can certainly be part of your portfolio. Notably, if travel previously discouraged you from attending conferences, having them in a virtual format and participating remotely can demonstrate continuing educational interests, increasing professional development, and being able to network with outside colleagues.

    ·        Another way to be involved in scholarship is to contribute to peer-reviewed journals as a reviewer and, if you believe you are qualified and have the time/energy, an editor. For example, APA, Sage, Wiley, Psi Chi, and Springer not only offer opportunities to review or edit journals but have tutorials and trainings on how to complete the process.

    ·        An unsolicited or solicited email or letter from a research mentee or a student from a research methods, experimental psychology, undergraduate thesis, or capstone seminar class may be useful, especially if they describe your availability, your research know-how, and your commitment to publication and/or presentation of their work.

    Service: Narrative

    Though we were all challenged in concentrating on our teaching during the move to online format, there may be a number of ways to demonstrate service, locally and nationally.

    ·        What campus-wide or nation-wide efforts did you join (e.g., sending in a farewell message for virtual commencement, wearing different colored socks for World Down Syndrome Day, completing a virtual 5K for autism awareness month)?

    ·        What committees are you active in at your institution? What have they accomplished this year? For example, there are institutions who need early career faculty to be involved in committees such as IRB, Common Read, or Academic Appeals.

    ·        What committees are you active in outside of your institution? What have they accomplished this year? There are ways to complete service within the discipline. There are calls for involvement on sites such as STP, APA, and many more.

    Service: Additional Sources

    ·        Asking a tenured or senior colleague to write a strong letter on your behalf may be helpful. There are often digital forms available within each institution to evaluate areas of strength and improvement.

    ·        Volunteering to be the faculty advisor for student organizations such as Best Buddies or NAMI. There are ways to conduct activities online (e.g., hosting a virtual walk, hosting a fundraiser, etc.) and impact communities even with social distancing.

    Lastly, please know that you are not alone in this state of worry! The most important part of presenting your portfolio is making sure that the areas are covered as best as they can be, that your narrative is concise and reflective, that the required paperwork is completed (e.g., inclusion of chair evaluation, inclusion of a Table of Contents), and that the document is handed in by the deadline. We hope that this information can provide ideas and strategies as well as opportunities for involvement and leadership.

    Stay healthy, stay safe, and stay well,

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

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

    Dear ECPs,

    I’d like to spend part of the summer preparing for my fall classes, which I expect to be at least partially online (though our institution has not yet made a final decision). I am overwhelmed by everything I am seeing. Can you help me think about course planning?


    Overwhelmed Summer Faculty

    Dear Overwhelmed Summer Faculty,

    Yep, we hear you. Not only are the disruptions difficult in and of themselves, but the copious amount of information about converting courses to online is overwhelming (even when the info is helpful). We’re going to help you by clarifying some of the main points to consider. Our goal is not to be comprehensive, but rather to present big picture ideas to consider and organize your planning. We have tried to add in resources for those of you that want to dig deeper, as well as some of our own lessons learned.

    Consideration 1: Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) & Course Design

    At the end of the course, what do you want your students to know? I mean, really know. Anytime you make changes to your course (COVID related or not), this is the first question you should ask yourself. Creating a hybrid/blended/virtual/term-du-jour course follows the same pattern as any other course change: identify your SLOs and build from there. Once you know what students need to know, you can start planning the components of your course: projects, assessments, class discussions, etc. You will need to decide which components should be online vs. face-to-face (if teaching hybrid) and which elements should be synchronous vs. asynchronous.

    If this starting stage feels overwhelming, here are a few resources you can use to give some structure to your planning efforts.

    ·        Virtual Instruction Readiness Quiz (San Diego State University)

    ·        Blended Course Planning Forms and Steps to Create a Hybrid Course (Oregon State University)

    ·        Hybrid-Flexible Course Design (EdTech Books)

    ·        Consider Immediacy & Bandwidth

    ·        Low-Tech High-Returns Online Teaching Tips

    Consideration 2: Accessibility

    As faculty, we need to ensure our courses are accessible for all. This includes considerations for accessibility (captions for lectures, documents that are screen reader friendly, etc.) and access (recognizing that there will be large variability in how and when students will be able to access the course content). As you plan your course for the fall, these considerations should be a central focus in your decisions. Though institutions differ, most have some sort of regulations or support that you should be checking into. Reading the STP Diversity Committee’s advice on inclusive pedagogy might be a good place to start thinking about these issues. This conversation (+ transcript) from EdSurge Live also considers accessibility and universal design in this age of remote online teaching.

    Consideration 3: Social Engagement & Presence

    As fellow ECP Crissa Levin noted in STP’s Facebook group, we need to play to the online medium. That is, we should be doing teaching techniques that do well online, not the teaching techniques that we like or are used to (from Crissa Levin).

    Considerations for creating social presence and engagement:

    ·        Create a welcome video at the beginning of the semester that welcomes students and excites them for the course content

    ·        Interactive techniques you might be able to adapt depending on your course

    ·        Some thoughts on what online engagement looks like and how to assess it (though this is for a K-12 audience, many considerations apply to post-secondary educators as well)

    Consideration 4: Assessment

    Faculty have questions about how to create assessments that are valid, minimize the likelihood for academic dishonesty, and are scalable for classes of different sizes. Some of the most important considerations coming out of the literature is to create transparent assignments so that students know exactly what to expect, make sure your assessments support your SLOs, provide well-designed rubrics, offer examples of performance at various levels, and provide ongoing feedback. If you are concerned about academic integrity, consider using an honor code as one approach (Purdue Honor Code Resources as an example).

    Consider some alternatives to standard exams, like these end-of-term essay questions.

    Putting it all together

    Thinking again about your course holistically, consider these strategies of award-winning online teachers, which speak to each of the above considerations.

    You might also consider checking out our favorite podcast, Psych Sessions: Convos About Teaching ‘n’ Stuff, whose recent episodes have been about various aspects of this shift to online teaching, with lessons learned and tips from seasoned online instructors.

    Once you’re done designing your course, you might consider using one of the many available rubrics to self-assess the course you have created.

    Finally, if you feel like you have the emotional and mental bandwidth this summer, here is an open course in best practices for online teaching from NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development).

    We hope this helps - and don’t forget to continue practicing compassion for your students and yourselves. Although the most urgent crisis period seems to be behind us, these are still not normal times and considering carefully how to take care of ourselves and each other is just as important as ever. Happy Teaching!

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

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