Lessons From the Second Biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology Conference

This project was supported by the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science, which invites applications for nonrenewable grants of up to $5,000 to launch new, educational projects in psychological science. Proposals are due March 1 and October 1.

In September 2013, the second biennial Atlantic Coast Teaching of Psychology Conference (ACToP) was held in Red Bank, New Jersey. Coordinated by Natalie J. Ciarocco and Lisa M. Dinella, both of Monmouth University, the conference focused on continuing to advance the teaching of psychology at the (2-year and 4-year) college and high school levels by uniting psychology teaching professionals and creating and strengthening the connections among those passionate about teaching psychology. Over the 2-day conference, psychology professionals shared current scholarship on the topics of teaching and learning and innovative approaches to teaching and assessment in psychology classrooms. Fifty-five attendees from 11 states represented nine high schools, 20 4-year institutions, and four 2-year institutions.

One outcome of the conference was a growing partnership between a local high school Advanced Placement (AP) psychology class and a 4-year institution. This partnership gave AP students the opportunity to attend an undergraduate research conference hosted by the 4-year institution. The coordinators hope to foster more of these cross-institutional relationships during future conferences.

Grant support from the APS Fund for Teaching and Public Understanding of Psychological Science provided for the travel expenses of two prominent researchers in the field of teaching and learning, R. Eric Landrum, Boise State University, and APS Fellow Susan A. Nolan, Seton Hall University. Landrum’s talk, “A Perfect Storm: Skills Assessment and the Future of Psychology Education,” addressed how best to assess the skills and abilities of undergraduate psychology majors. Nolan’s talk, “Trojan Horses: Building Statistical Literacy by Sneaking It into Every Psychology Course,” featured a number of strategies to help students gain a better understanding of statistics in any psychology course.

Summaries of all of the presentations are publicly available on the conference website.

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