September 26, 2022
Higher education institutions can struggle to reach all students equally and provide inclusive teaching strategies. To challenge the status quo and work towards equitable and efficient learning, LRDC Faculty members from the University of Pittsburgh's Psychology Department and University Center for Teaching & Learning (UCTL) launched a new website "Teaching in Psych."
LRDC faculty members Jamie Hanson, Timothy Nokes-Malach, Christian Schunn and Tessa Warren collaborated on this site, which features helpful resources for improving and addressing barriers to teaching in Psychology.
The website is divided into four main sections:
- Inclusive teaching strategies
- Addressing barriers to inclusive teaching
- Research-based teaching strategies
- Formative and summative evaluation tools
Each section gives strategies, advice, resources, and initiatives to instructors. This advice is compiled by experts in psychology and education and supported by research. Rather than viewing student success as an inevitable outcome of their fixed characteristics, the team states that their methods of teaching are fundamental determinants of their students' success. Some of these methods include leveraging their students' unique assets, assessing the students' performance in meaningful and equitable ways, and attending to challenges they face within their current experiences in living in an unjust and unequal context.
According to Christian Schunn, LRDC Senior Scientist and Psychology Professor, this website is different from other teaching resources in a few ways.
"It brings together two different major initiatives in teaching excellence: 1) Research-based teaching practices that have been shown to increase overall student performance, and 2) Inclusive teaching practices that have been created to improve learning in students who are often marginalized."
According to Schunn, the website shows common concerns based on feedback from faculty and suggests practical, detailed ways of addressing those concerns without coming across as judgmental. The new teaching evaluation methods were gradually developed over the last four years, and the website itself was developed over the last six months.
The website also offers a feedback tool in which users can submit questions or comments to the developers about the teaching resources. For Schunn, the website will provide flexible and helpful resources for Psychology instructors into the future.
"It serves as an easy-to-access place to find practice advice aligned to expectations for instructors," Schunn said. "It is also an easy-to-edit website so that we can continue to provide instructors with the latest resources to address their emerging concerns."