Psychology s Role in Student Success Pathways for Diverse Populations

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1 Psychology s Role in Student Success Pathways for Diverse Populations Dr. Martha Ellis Dr. Robin Hailstorks AACC Annual Convention April 2009

2 Psychology s Role in Student Success More than 1 million students enroll in introductory psychology courses annually at high schools, community colleges, and universities Introductory psychology is the second largest general education course taught on college campuses Psychology is one of the most popular undergraduate majors on college campuses More than 88,000 students earn a bachelor s degree in psychology annually Psychology courses are often required in other curricula

3 Scholarly Exposition Popularity of psychology courses require responsibility of psychology faculty to assist with student success Faculty who are committed to undergraduate and psychology education seek scholarly expositions about student success Psychology faculty and education leaders from all high school, community college, and universities came together to explore undergraduate education and student success in 1991 and 2008.

4 Introductory Psychology Learning outcomes Students learn about the nature of science Students learn lifelong skills Students learn critical thinking skills Students become psychologically literate Students learn about psychology s contribution to other disciplines

5 Psychology s Contributions to other Disciplines Architecture and Related Services Consumer Sciences Education Health Sciences Liberal Arts and Sciences Security and Protective Services

6 Purposeful pathways for student success Association of American Colleges and Universities Students need to understand the purpose of a college education Students need a core set of skills that will make them competitive in a global economy Students need integrated learning experiences Employers want students who can work in teams and who can work with diverse people.

7 Liberal Education and America s Promise (LEAP)

8 LEAP s Principles of Excellence Aim High---and Make Excellence Inclusive Give Students a Compass Teach the Arts of Inquiry and Innovation Engage the Big Questions Connect Knowledge with Choices and Actions Foster Civic, Intercultural, and Ethical Learning Assess Students Ability to Apply Learning to Complex Problems Source: College learning for a new global century. (2007) AAC&U

9 What Matters in College? Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World Integrative Learning Intellectual and Practical Skills Personal and Social Responsibility Source: College learning for a new global century. (2007) AAC&U.

10 Purposeful pathways for student success Psychology can be an anchoring course for college success skills Focus on strategies and integrative learning The bridge between student needs and needs of our society Utilizing research for strategies and initiatives such as Achieving the Dream and Undergraduate Education in Psychology Emphasis on student learning outcomes Utilizing research from psychology e.g. cognition, learning theory, motivation

11 Achieving the Dream Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count is a multiyear national initiative to help more community college students succeed. The initiative is particularly concerned about student groups that traditionally have faced significant barriers to success, including students of color and lowincome students. Achieving the Dream works on multiple fronts, including efforts at community colleges and in research, public engagement and public policy. It emphasizes the use of data to drive change. o Source: (2009)

12 Achieving the Dream Data framed questions Cohort based data Who is learning and who is not Benchmarking current student success Data Informed Decision Making about strategies to assist students Assessing progress and revising strategies throughout the process Utilizing the scientist-educator model defined by psychology faculty

13 Sample Strategies In Psychology Utilized by AtD Institutions Use of data to identify gateway courses and psychology is generally one of these courses Linked courses and learning communities between psychology and highest level of developmental reading Supplemental instruction for general education courses including psychology First year, freshmen seminar, student success courses taught by psychology faculty

14 Effective Educational Practices First-Year Seminars and Experiences Common Intellectual Experiences Learning Communities Writing-Intensive Courses Collaborative Assignments and Projects Science as Science is Done / Undergraduate Research Diversity/Global Learning Service Learning, Community Based Learning Internships Capstone Courses and Projects Source: College learning for the new global century.(2007). AAC&U

15 APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major Categories of Knowledge I. Knowledge, skills, and values consistent with the science and application of psychology II. Knowledge, skills, and values consistent with a liberal arts education that are further developed in psychology

16 APA Guidelines for the Undergraduate Psychology Major Goal 1: Knowledge Base of Psychology Goal 2: Research Methods in Psychology Goal 3: Critical Thinking Skills in Psychology Goal 4: Application of Psychology Goal 5: Values in Psychology Goal 6: Information and Technological Literacy Goal 7: Communication Skills Goal 8: Social and International Awareness Goal 9: Personal Development Goal 10: Career Planning and Development

17

18 Guiding Questions Why do we need to rethink undergraduate education? Who is Teaching Psychology? Quality of Instruction, Staffing Patterns, Rewards, and Training What is Being Taught and Learned in Psychology Courses? Who Are the Students in Undergraduate Psychology? When and Where Are Students Taking Psychology Courses? What Are the Modes of Instruction? How Can We Promote Learning With New Technologies? How Are We Using New Knowledge About Teaching and Learning? What Are the Desired Outcomes of Undergraduate Education?

19 Group 1: Issues Why do we need to rethink how we educate students in psychology? There are now well-established liberal learning and disciplinary outcomes for psychology majors (APA, 2007) Quality benchmarks for undergraduate psychology programs (e.g., Dunn, 2007) are now available Psychological Literacy is a synthesis of trans-disciplinary liberal learning outcomes and global disciplinary outcomes and quality benchmarks

20 Group 1: Recommendation Why do we need to rethink how we educate students in psychology? Educating Psychologically Literate Citizens should become the aspirational outcome for all undergraduates because it is: Consistent with global trends in defining outcomes in undergraduate psychology. Consistent with trans-disciplinary trends for defining liberal learning outcomes. Responsive to the critical need for educating socially responsible individuals.

21 Group 2: Issues Who is teaching psychology and what is the quality of instruction? The professional preparation of psychology educators in high school through graduate settings differs significantly. The evaluation of effective teaching has increasingly focused on evidence of student learning, not secondary level variables.

22 Group 2: Recommendations Who is teaching psychology and what is the quality of instruction? Training in psychology should adopt the scientist-educator model that involves: theory-based teaching continuous reflection on teaching practices application of evidence-based instructional strategies There needs to be incentives and rewards for quality teaching. P-16 interaction between educators is necessary to foster student success and professional understanding about contributions of educators at different levels.

23 Group 3: Issues What is being taught and learned in psychology courses? Challenges within the discipline Specialization and fragmentation Popularity of applied psychology may de-emphasize the scientific nature of the field. Challenges outside the discipline Rise of consumerist culture means that students may be less willing to take and support foundational courses. Technological revolution poses challenges as well as opportunities.

24 Group 3: Recommendations What is being taught and learned in psychology courses? Complete introductory psychology first. Complete courses in Research Methods and Statistics. Complete at least one course in each content domain: Biological bases (e.g., Physiological psychology) Developmental (e.g., Life-span development) Learning and cognition (e.g., Cognitive) Sociocultural (e.g., Social psychology) Diversity and Ethics should be well-integrated. A capstone course and opportunities to apply knowledge should be included.

25 Group 4: Issues Who are the students in undergraduate psychology? What sorts of characteristics do students bring into the classroom? What kinds of developmental issues do these students face during the college years? What do they need from their experiences to thrive in higher education? Formal and informal curriculum Classroom and campus climate

26 Group 4: Recommendations Who are the students in undergraduate psychology? Employ instructional and advising strategies designed to engage the full range of students. Students take psychology courses in high school, community college and university Students range in age from 16 to 80 Students come from all different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds Provide faculty development opportunities on multicultural issues.

27 Group 5: Issues When and where are students taking psychology courses? Quality control of the discipline s content is imperative. People learn about psychology through both formal and informal modalities. Teachers of psychology have an ethical responsibility to teach empirically based psychological science and to dispel misinformation.

28 Group 5: Recommendations When and where are students taking psychology courses? Psychology should be referred to as Psychological Science Identify and expand psychological science in school curricula Expand and improve psychological science Web sites.

29 Group 6: Issues What are the various modes of teaching for different content, contexts, and students? Over 100 effective pedagogical techniques exist. At least as many studies show that these same techniques are not effective in different contexts. Teaching is contextual and there is no single best method!

30 The TACOMA Model of Teaching In-the-Moment Reflection Manipulate Characteristics of the Teacher Pre-event Reflection Topic, Content, and Monitor, Learning Goals Manage, Manipulate Monitor Manipulate Teaching Strategies Learning Strategies Characteristics of the Learner Form of Assessment Student-Teacher Rapport and Classroom Atmosphere Level of Student Understanding Post-event Reflection

31 Group 6: Recommendations What are the various modes of teaching for different content, contexts, and students? Teaching is a contextual interaction. The best method for any situation depends on: the outcomes that are desired the characteristics of the students the characteristics of the instructor the curriculum and content The scientist-educator will be knowledgeable about the range of teaching methods available and will be able to select appropriately among them to achieve desired goals within a specific context

32 Group 7: Issues How can we promote learning with new technologies? What are ways in which technology can facilitate teaching and learning? Impact of technology depends on the interaction of the characteristics of the technology, the student, and pedagogy Using technology today and tomorrow Inclusive excellence and ethics

33 Group 7: Recommendations How can we promote learning with new technologies? Faculty support and development Empirical assessment of new technologies APA-sponsored web resources to assist psychology instructors.

34 Group 8: Issues How are we using knowledge gained over the last decade about effective teaching and learning?

35 Group 8: Recommendations How are we using knowledge gained over the last decade about effective teaching and learning? Recommendations For Teachers and Learners Collect baseline and control or comparison data to enhance reflection and scholarly teaching. Encourage students to invest in developing metacognitive strategies that generalize across contexts. Recommendations For Educational Institutions Provide formal training in teaching and ongoing professional development for all teachers on content and process knowledge. Create reward structures that support translational research as much as non-teaching related research.

36 Group 9: Issues What are the desired outcomes of an undergraduate education in psychology? The degree of impact of an undergraduate education in psychology is relatively unknown, especially for non-majors Assessment measures need to capture skills and abilities in addition to knowledge There are no formal mechanisms in place to assure quality in an undergraduate program in psychology.

37 Group 9: Recommendations What are the desired outcomes of an undergraduate education in psychology? Follow up on the career paths of those who do not further their education in psychology. Psychology educators begin a national conversation about the benefits and drawbacks of accrediting undergraduate psychology departments.

38 Contact Information Martha M. Ellis, PhD Associate Vice Chancellor Community College Partnerships Office of Academic Affairs University of Texas System Robin Hailstorks, PhD Associate Executive Director and Director Precollege and Undergraduate Education American Psychological Association

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