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.

  • 10 May 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hello STP ECP Committee!

    As an ECP, I am often asked to teach summer classes. I agree to teach these classes due to the motivation of boosting my teaching skills as well as enhancing my portfolio. With less traffic on campus and with the onset of warmer temperatures, what are some ideas to make summer classes more interesting and engaging?

    Looking for Sum-mer (some more, get it?!) Activities

    Thank you so much for your question! Being an ECP, I (Albee) taught summer classes for some of the reasons that you outlined as well as my own ambition of doing something different in my teaching practices (since the classes are longer in duration, are on an accelerated schedule, and there are often less students enrolled). Taking advantage of the weather that summer brings, I incorporated nature-based activities in my in-person as well as online classes.

    Benefits of nature

    Research consistently demonstrates that there are cognitive, physiological, and emotional benefits to being in green spaces and blue spaces (Clay, 2001). For those of us who wear masks indoors during class time, going outside may be a way to see our students’ faces as well as breathe in fresh air. Nature therapy or ecotherapy is a growing field within clinical and mental health counseling, emphasizing the need for physical movement and exposure to multisensory experiences (Fisher, 2021). The effects on mood, attention, and self-reflection apply even with just images of nature (Weir, 2020). Thus, as teachers of psychology (TOPs), we can incorporate nature-based activities in our in-person classes as well as our online classes.

    Impact on instructors

    For TOPs, on our end, it may take a little more time and planning since we will not be able to have our slides or a chalkboard accessible (unless you are fortunate enough to utilize an outdoor classroom!). However, these outdoor activities, if done early enough in the semester, sets up the course for active learning in which students (vs. instructors) find and then evaluate information (Butler et al., 2001). Active learning can include a range of activities, such as small group learning simulations, and skills on learning how to learn. For example, in my Introduction to Psychology course, students completed readings and videos on the lobes of the brain in preparation for a certain class. We meet outside in the nearby parking lot, which is surrounded by grass, trees, and shrubs, and I ask them to get with their Psych Pals groups to discuss the concepts they read about. Then, I ask each group to draw their own cerebral cortex (large enough to stand in) with the four lobes on the ground with chalk. We then review concepts based on their preparation (e.g., “Stand on the lobe of the brain that directs speech production). We complete this activity with chalk in classes centering on a variety of concepts (e.g., the parts of the neuron, the process of synaptic transmission, the inner structures of the brain, operant conditioning principles, etc.).

    Impact on personal and professional experiences (from actual students)

    ·        I incorporated more nature-focused activities to my daily life by doing my homework or studying outside more and going to the park for walks more often.

    ·        I started a daily journal and while I write, I sit next to a plant and breathe in the natural scent.

    ·        I started planting herbs and helping my parents with their garden. One major thing that we are doing as a family is planting trees at our local park.

    ·        I am walking more, meaning walk to all my classes now instead of driving.

    ·        For Spring Break, I did more outdoor activities: going for hikes, going in the backyard, and laying a blanket, taking walks around the neighborhood, and riding bikes near wooded/forest areas.

    Ideas for nature-based activities

    ·        Reserving your institution’s outdoor classroom to hold a full or a part of a class session

    ·        Having class outdoors (the frequency can vary depending on class needs) and if virtual, instruct students to be outside and show their screens and/or utilize outdoor backgrounds (e.g., beach, forest)

    ·        Taking a class picture of everyone being outdoors

    ·        Walking around campus or their local neighborhood (if online) and finding sit spots in green or blue spaces to talk with classmates, do schoolwork, or read articles

    ·        Completing a class field trip to get out of the classroom and engage with nature (e.g., visiting an organization specializing in equine therapy)

    ·        Doing a scavenger hunt or Bingo based on class concepts around campus or their neighborhood (e.g., take a picture of an item used by an individual in the early childhood developmental period)

    ·        Conduct a brief research study by having students take a pre-test on stress or concentration or memory, hold class outdoors in nature, and then take a post-test and discuss the results

    ·        Incorporate walk-talk sessions at the beginning or end of class. For example, in a 15-minute walk as a class, partners could be assigned, and discussion questions prepared so the students are engaged when walking

    ·        Having a game day and asking students to demonstrate actions (e.g., fine motor skills vs. gross motor skills) and relate them to concepts learned in class

    ·        Drawing hopscotch squares with A, B, C, or D choices and having students step on the square that corresponds to their answer

    ·        Drawing a line and writing True on one side and False on the other side and having students step quickly to the side that corresponds to their answer

    The above list of nature-based activities may need more thought and consideration depending on how hot or cold temperatures can get in the summer months where you teach, how many students are enrolled in your classes, whether you and/or your students need physical accommodations, etc. What do you think about these ideas? How might you incorporate these activities in your future classes? We would love to hear any nature-based teaching activities that have worked well for you and your students!


    Butler, A., Phillmann, K. B., & Smart, L. (2001). Active learning within a lecture: Assessing the impact of short, in-class writing exercises. Teaching of Psychology, 28, 257–259.

    Clay, R. (April 2001). Green in good for you. American Psychological Association, Retrieved from

    Fisher, C. (Winter 2021). Nature therapy: Movement and mental health for kids. Eye on Psi Chi, Retrieved from

    Weir, K. (April 2020). Nurtured by nature. American Psychological Association, Retrieved from

  • 10 Apr 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Planning for the Summer Months

    Dear ECPs,

    Although our university just had Spring Break last month, many of us (educators) are already starting to talk about our plans for the summer. With a 9-month position, how do you plan your summer to balance prep work and personal time?


    Summer Planner

    Dear Summer Planner,

    What a fantastic question! We don’t blame you for already thinking ahead to your summer plans. Given that much of our academic work is compressed into a 9-month timeline, we agree that thinking a “semester ahead” can help us plan for productive and restorative summers. The following ideas might help you organize your plans for the summer.

    Relax and Restore (Self-Care)

    You’ve been teaching during an on-going pandemic where student mental health issues are substantial, you might be juggling increased family/personal demands, and you’ve been asked to take on more responsibilities as an ECP. We wanted to start this column with an essential recommendation for the summer – Take Care of Yourself.

    • ·        Some research suggests that early career faculty might be at a higher risk for burnout when compared with middle and late career faculty (Blix et al., 1994; Gonzalez & Bernard, 2006). Consequently, it seems imperative that we (ECPs) check-in on our own well-being and the well-being of our ECP colleagues. There are a number of articles and books containing self-care tips. However, here are some of our favorite (and often forgotten) suggestions:

    ·        Schedule and guard your self-care time during the summer. This is your opportunity to decompress and reconnect with your interests or hobbies. If you are asked to serve on a student thesis or service committee over the summer, ask yourself: Does this opportunity align with my professional goals? Does this opportunity impede on my self-care time?

    ·        Reconnect with your family and friends. Does anyone else feel like they’ve lost touch with family or friends during the pandemic? Reschedule those monthly “lunch dates'' with a friend or send a quick social media message to a family member.

    ·        Take care of your physical needs. You should catch-up on sleep, engage in nutritious meal planning, and/or start a new exercise routine in the warm weather. Summer schedules often allow for more flexibility in starting or stopping our healthy/unhealthy habits.

    Teaching Prep

    Like many of us, you likely have an overflowing desktop folder with innovative teaching activities and course ideas that you have not yet been able to implement. If you don’t already have one of these folders, consider checking out some of the recent resources from STP:

    ·        Teaching Tips: A Compendium of Conference Presentations on Teaching (2020-2021)

    ·        Teaching Psychology Online

    ·        Psychological Myths, Mistruths, and Misconceptions

    ·        E-xcellence in Teaching essays

    ·        APA’s Introductory Psychology Initiative

    The summer gives us ample time to revise and revamp our regular courses. For example, I (Christina) am really excited to be overhauling my Introductory Psychology course based on some of the new Introductory Psychology Initiative recommendations. If you have one of these folders, schedule some of your summertime to re-introduce yourself to the fun course ideas that you’ve gathered.

    Catch up on Research

    Do you also have a folder of research that you’ve been intending to read through? You might allocate some of your summertime for a review of recent research publications. If you have a stack of unread Teaching of Psychology or Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology publications, take a few days to indulge in contemporary research that can inform your teaching.

    Are you hoping to contribute to the research in our field? Or perhaps you have a new teaching idea that hasn’t yet been represented in the current research? Some of your summer schedule might include preparation of a new SoTL study for implementation in the Fall. I (Christina) often find that the summer gives me enough time to dig into some of the prior literature on a topic, brainstorm a new SoTL study, and then prepare my IRB materials for a Fall submission. This allows me to conduct my research in the early Fall or prepare for a Spring semester data collection period.

    Plan for Academic Year Service

    Some of the best advice that I (Christina) ever received about service was: Choose service commitments that you are excited about. To effectively use this advice, I often need to take inventory of my current commitments to assess whether these activities still align with my professional goals. I also make a list of potential service positions for the upcoming academic year, ensuring that I don’t “miss out” on an upcoming call for a rare editorial position, APA committee, or STP committee position. Your summer schedule may give you time to start thinking ahead for these service roles.

    Many of us look forward to our summer off-season as a time to self-reflect, catch-up, and take a much needed breath after a busy semester. We strongly encourage you to take care of yourself (first) before you consider tackling some of your neglected academic to-do lists. Once you’re feeling refreshed, you can start preparing for the next academic year.

    Ask an ECP! Submit a question for a future column.

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Ciara Kidder, Ph.D.

    Christina Shane-Simpson, M.S.W., Ph.D.

  • 10 Mar 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    I have been hearing more and more about the use of OER textbooks and resources –but what does that really mean and why might I want to look into these?


    OER Investigator

    Dear OER Investigator, 

    OER stands for “Open Educational Resource” and refers to freely available educational materials that typically do not carry traditional copyright constraints so they can be shared, modified, and used freely. OER resources are growing in popularity as a way to ensure education is open and available to all. 

    Benefits of Using OER Resources: 

    There are several benefits of using OER resources. For one, they are free to students! Beyond saving your students some money, they can also ensure every student in your class has access to course materials. Students often avoid buying textbooks as a way to save money or just because they simply can’t afford them. By utilizing OER resources, that potential barrier is removed. Because OER resources are free and easy to adapt, they can also provide instructors with a lot of flexibility to mix and match different readings or materials. Our students would likely revolt if we asked them to pay for 3 or 4 textbooks just so they could get the “best” coverage from each of them. But, if materials are free, it’s easy to pick and choose the best source for coverage of a particular topic. In addition, instructors can write in their own material or edit materials to fit their course goals, providing customization that we often don’t see with traditional textbooks.

    Resources for Getting Started: 

    If you are interested in looking into OER, where do you start? Note that there are a wide variety of resources out there and some have been more heavily reviewed and used than others. These resources can help you get started:

    *OER Commons: This website lets you search for OER content in a variety of areas and includes both lower-level and upper-level psychology course content. You can also read reviews of the various OER materials (or leave a review of your own!) and get basic information about the material (including any copyright restraints). In addition, their tool “Open Author” provides a mechanism by which you could begin creating your own OER materials.

    *NOBA: NOBA offers Psychology-specific OER textbooks (including ones focused on Introductory Psychology and Social Psychology). In addition, they have a variety of modules that could be mixed together to customize your course or support other course topics in Psychology. They also offer some instructor resources (powerpoint slides, test banks, etc.)  to help support your teaching.

    *OpenStax: Openstax was developed by Rice University and they offer textbooks in a variety of fields (including Psychology). Their current Psychology offering is Psychology 2e which is primarily designed as an Introduction to Psychology textbook. OpenStax also offers instructor resources and gives students the option to purchase a low-cost print textbook if they prefer holding a book over the online format.

    *Rajiv Jhangiani’s Psychology OER Resource Links: Although OER is increasing in popularity, it has been around longer than you might think! In fact, Rajiv Jhangiani presented on OER at the 2014 STP Annual Conference on Teaching and provided a list of links to help Psychology instructors get started with OER. This list of resources includes not only links to popular OER textbook resources but also a variety of OER resources and tools (including videos, demonstrations, interactive online material, etc.). In addition, he has shared a video overview of OER resources in Psychology that he posted in 2018 which provides specific suggestions for content based on the areas of Psychology that you teach.

    To Go OER or Not?: 

    Picking course materials can always be a challenge when designing a new course (or when re-vamping an existing course). OER resources offer an accessible option that can be investigated and compared alongside traditional textbooks as you make the decision about what is best for your course and for your students. Keep in mind your course goals and examine if you can find high-quality OER materials that speak to those course goals and cover the content that you need. With OER, even if there isn’t a “perfect” resource, you might be able to mix and match a few resources to provide your students with the coverage they need. Also, keep in mind that if you don’t see an OER option that fits your class now, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t design your own OER resource in the future and share it with your fellow STP members!

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Ciara Kidder, Ph.D.

    Christina Shane-Simpson, M.S.W., Ph.D.

  • 10 Feb 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    We spend so much time and care crafting our can I make sure students actually read it?


    Syllabus Reader

    Dear Syllabus Reader,

    Getting students to read the syllabus is a difficulty many instructors face. And, while we as instructors know about all the important things a syllabus can hold, it can be daunting for students to face reading a 5-page (or even longer) document full of formal language and policies…especially if they aren’t even sure what a syllabus is for. Here are some ideas on helping get students informed, interested, and engaged in reading the course syllabus:

    Make it interesting:

    Provide students with a visually appealing syllabus! Just adding visual interest to an otherwise rather boring document means that students are more likely to check it out. You can start out simple by using a variety of document templates (like newsletters in Word or Publisher). Or take it to the next level by creating an infographic version using Canva or Piktochart. I (Ciara) love creating a “visual” version of my syllabus that allows me to be creative in displaying information to students using graphs and clip art to get the major points across. I then include links to more detailed policies and/or a plain-text syllabus, introductory videos, useful resources, etc.

    Make it engaging:

    If design isn’t your strong suit, you can also get students to read the syllabus by incorporating engagement with the syllabus in your class. You can lead activities in class to get students to learn what’s in the syllabus. For example, syllabus speed-dating is an activity that gets students talking with one another and diving into the syllabus to answer questions about the class. A syllabus scavenger hunt activity similarly asks students to find specific information within the syllabus in order to complete it.

    If you don’t have class time to devote to getting students engaged in reading the syllabus, I have found that creating assignments related to the syllabus is useful. A syllabus quiz is an effective way to make sure students are at least aware of the most important information contained within it. In many Learning Management Systems (e.g., Moodle, Canvas) a teacher can restrict access to other course materials until a student earns a specific score on a syllabus quiz, demonstrating their understanding of important policies and what information is within the syllabus. If that’s not your style, the syllabus can also be used as an introductory or practice assignment, particularly in a class that uses new tech or repetitive weekly assignments. For example, in a class where students are asked to annotate readings each week, the first week’s assignment could be to annotate the syllabus. This serves as both a way for the student to become familiar with the task they will be doing throughout the term as well as a way to ensure that the syllabus is carefully read. Similarly, if the students write weekly journals or reflections, the first week’s assignment could focus on the syllabus.

    Make it informative:

    One thing I have noticed over time is that syllabi, and syllabi-language, are passed down from instructor to instructor within an institution. This is a great time-saver, but it also means that sometimes the language and structure of syllabi is formal and does not serve today’s students. We have to remember that most of our students are first-generation and from more diverse backgrounds than the students of the faculty who came before us. By changing up the language used in syllabus, it may make the information contained in it easier to read and understand, thus making students more likely to read it!

    One idea to help you make your syllabus more informative is to use guided questions as headings for information. For example, instead of the formal terms related to attendance or late policies you can use questions like “Do I have to go to class?” or “Can I turn things in late” to make it very clear where students should find the answers to those questions. Similarly, you can translate the formal academic language in describing policies, assignments, etc. by adopting a “conversational tone” that not only demonstrates the care and warmth of you, the instructor, but also makes it easier to understand the information within it. Some policies are carefully written by others for inclusion into syllabi across campus, definitely include them as written, but it may also be appropriate to provide your own explanation of what is meant by that policy or provide examples. Have a plagiarism policy? Accompany that policy with a list of what plagiarism looks like in your class so it's clear what you as the instructor see as plagiarism so students can see how it applies to your assignments (this is particularly important in cases of group work, or students working together on non-group work assignments which can vary a lot from instructor to instructor).

    Another idea to help make your syllabus informative, is to provide the “formal” longer syllabus but to also give a short 1-page syllabus synopsis/cheat-sheet that highlights the most important/relevant information. This is particularly great if you want to give students something tangible in class that first day, without printing off your super long syllabus. Even better, include page numbers of where more information can be found. This synopsis could include information like your email/office hours, major due dates, study suggestions, course materials, attendance/late policies (in plain language with reference to the page of the complete policy), and whatever else you think is super vital for students to know. You could even come up with a “blank” version for students to complete as part of the earlier mentioned “syllabus scavenger hunt” activity for students to complete during class and have as a cheat sheet throughout the semester!

    There are a lot of ways to encourage students to read the syllabus and part of that rests in making sure students understand the purpose of the syllabus in your class and the information that it holds. Syllabi serve a different purpose to different instructors and if we want our students to know what it is for us, we have to tell them.

    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Ciara Kidder, Ph.D.

    Christina Shane-Simpson, M.S.W., Ph.D.

  • 10 Dec 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The ECP has some exciting changes happening and we’re going to use this month’s ECP Corner to tell you all about them. These changes include welcoming TWO new members, Janet Peters taking on the role of ECP committee chair, and saying goodbye to three of our cherished members. We’ll also take a moment to briefly describe what we hope to accomplish in the coming year, so look out for some exciting things happening in the coming months!

    New Members

    Let’s take a moment to highlight the ECP Committee’s newest members: Ciara Kidder & Christina Shane-Simpson. We got great applications and it was a hard decision, but we are so excited to have two new wonderful colleagues join us. Here is a little bit about each new member!

    Ciara Kidder will soon be starting a new position as an instructor in the school of Psychological Science at Oregon State University and has been actively involved with the teaching of psychology from the beginning of her career, including presenting at ACT and the National Institute for the Teaching of Psychology, and attending the STP programming at the Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference, the “E”ffordability Summit (focusing on open education), PsychONE, and the first Neuroscience Teaching Conference. She also founded and runs the teaching blog “The Novice Professor.”

    Christina Shane-Simpson is a 4th year faculty member at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. She has served on the STP Membership Committee, the Graduate Student Teaching Association in a leadership role, as a member for the 2020 STP Diversity Task Force, and served on the leadership committee for Psi Chi Committee for International Collaborative Exchange (NICE).

    We are excited to see what these two new members will bring to the ECP! Welcome Ciara and Christina! And although we were only able to accept two new members this year, we want to note that the ECP Committee will be recruiting another new member in November 2022! If you are interested in joining this wonderful team and helping your fellow ECPs, please consider applying (or re-applying) next year!

    Welcome to Incoming Chair

    We are excited to announce that Janet Peters will be the 2022 ECP Committee chair! Janet has been on the ECP committee for three years. Throughout her time, Janet’s main role on the committee has focused on planning and developing the ECP Committee presentations for STP’s Annual Conference on Teaching. She’s excited to be spending her last year on the committee getting to know the new members and supporting the committee’s mission to serve ECPs.

    Saying Goodbye

    In addition to welcoming our newest members and chair, we must also say goodbye to our outgoing members: Molly Metz, Karenna Malavanti, and Daniel Storage. As they move on to new horizons, we thought you might want to hear some of their reflections on being part of the ECP committee over the years.

    Molly: The ECP committee has been an integral part of my experiences with STP since day 1 - the ECP Happy Hour at the SPSP Teaching Preconference was so welcoming and was a big part of what made me keep coming back. I decided early I wanted to be a part of it, and now I’m finishing up my third year of one of the most meaningful service opportunities of my career! One of my favourite things about this committee is having the opportunity to meet and support people at a stressful and overwhelming time, and a time when our regular networks (e.g., grad school friends) have been upturned, and a time when formal mentorships seem few and far between. It has been an absolute joy to go through this time together, with my fellow committee members and with the ECP community.

    Karenna: It was such an honor to be part of this committee for the last three years. I came to this committee having just moved to a new position and with that move, so did my career trajectory. I have loved having conversations with other ECPs about my experiences on and off the tenure track in teaching-focused positions. I enjoyed meeting with other ECPs in person at teaching conferences (including ACT) pre-spring 2020 and virtually since the pandemic started. While this committee has supported me so well, I hope to continue to pay it forward to STP and other ECPs and serve in other capacities. It’s not so much a “good-bye” as much as this is a “see you later!” I can’t wait to see all of you amazing folks again when it is safe for us to gather again in-person. Don’t hesitate to say hi if you see me around!

    Daniel: I have loved my time on the ECP committee, and I highly recommend anyone in the earlier stages of their career to make every effort to join in future years! Perhaps what I’ve loved most is the community—being surrounded by and forming friendships with like-minded professionals who care deeply about teaching and supporting teachers worldwide. I will miss my time on this committee, but I’m also excited for what comes next! There are always opportunities to get involved in STP, which is one of the wonderful things about it! I very much look forward to thinking through what gets me excited at this stage in my career and figuring out how I can use that motivation in the context of this community. In the meantime, I am excited to follow what the ECP committee does in my absence! See you at next year’s ACT!

    What’s in store for 2022

    From mentoring to (hopefully) an in-person ACT, we are planning several opportunities for ECPs to engage in networking and development. As we say goodbye to existing members and welcome new members, we invite you to be part of the process! What would you like to see from your ECP committee in 2022? What workshops, trainings, programs, or resources can we provide to help facilitate your personal and professional success? If you have an idea, email us at:

    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 Nov 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear STP ECP Committee,

    I was teaching during much of this year’s virtual Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) and wasn’t able to participate in as much of the (great-looking!) programming as I was hoping. I’m particularly interested in knowing about things to check out for ECPs! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! 

    Please inform,

    Catching Up

    Dear Catching Up,

    We’re so glad to hear that you’re still interested in checking out the programming for this year’s virtual Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT)! Like last year, this year’s ACT was exciting and engaging, in spite of—and perhaps sometimes because of—the virtual modality. Because registration costs were so low (e.g., $25 for members), the conference was widely accessible and attendance was massive. (In fact, it was our biggest ACT ever, with well over 400 attendees!) There were dozens of posters, on-demand videos, and synchronous talks, workshops, and keynotes that are now being hosted on the conference website. These materials will remain available until October 1, 2022; register here.

    Those who register can browse all the programming on the conference website:

    ·        recordings of the synchronous presentations, 

    ·        recordings of the on-demand presentations, which are conveniently divided into 

    ·        Best Practices presentations, 

    ·        Professional Development presentations, 

    ·        Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) presentations, 

    ·        Equity, Inclusion, & Liberation presentations, and

    ·        STP presentations (e.g., awards, task forces), and 

    ·        on-demand posters, divided into 

    ·        Best Practices and Professional Development posters, 

    ·        Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) posters, and 

    ·        Equity, Inclusion, & Liberation posters. 

    There are a wealth of amazing resources for teachers of all stages, including ECPs. It’s challenging to narrow them down to a reasonable number to highlight here, but we’ll do our best! 

    One excellent piece of programming that will be useful to teachers of all experience levels is the synchronous presentation by Kristina Howanksy, India Johnson, Melanie Maimon, and Eva Pietri, titled, “Inclusify Your Syllabi: A Practical Guide to Incorporating Identity Safety Cues into Your Course Syllabi.” We would also recommend checking out another synchronous presentation, titled, “Half Data, Half Heart: Reflections on the Teaching Life,” by Jordan D. Troisi. While the former is more of a practical, hands-on, data-driven discussion of inclusive syllabi, the latter is marked by reflective musings about teaching (still with important practical implications). 

    In terms of on-demand presentations, in this day and age we would highly recommend checking out Carey Bernini Dowling and Rebekah Smith’s “Designing Asynchronous Online Courses for All Class Sizes.” Similarly practical is Julie C. Hill’s “My Students ACTUALLY Read: Techniques Beyond the Reading Quiz for Increasing Reading and Preparation Before Class.” (This is certainly a struggle for many of us, and these recommendations are awesome!) Finally, Marie S. Hammond, Peggy Brady-Amoon, and Ruth L. Greene’s “Best Practices: Engaging Diverse Students in Career Development in Psychology” presentation is a must watch for anyone wanting to be career champions for their students. 

    Finally, we would be remiss if we failed to mention our own workshop specifically designed for ECPs, titled, “The Holistic ECP: Centering values, boundaries, and equity as cornerstones of career decisions.” In this workshop, we completed a variety of activities together, including a value sort to help us determine what our values and priorities are, an activity to develop goals that are Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, and Timely (i.e., “SMART”), and an activity that required us to think through how we might turn those SMART goals into “SMARTIE” goals (i.e., goals that address or consider Inclusion and Equity). If you missed this workshop, fear not! You can find our worksheet—containing these activities and more—by clicking HERE

    We hope you find these materials enriching, and that you feel motivated to continue exploring the many excellent resources that were not mentioned in this brief post!

    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 Oct 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear STP ECP Committee,
    I’ll be attending STP ACT for the first time this year. Since it is now virtual, my usual conference strategies won’t work! Any advice on what to expect or what an ECP should look out for?
    E-Conference Rookie

    Dear E-Conference Rookie,

    As you know, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology 20th Annual Conference on Teaching (ACT) is almost here! As an STP member, registration is only $25 — you just need to register on the website. If you’re not already a member of STP (or need to renew), registration is $50 - and comes with one year of membership to STP!

    As with ACT 2020, ACT 2021 will once again be virtual. Based on how awesome last year’s meeting was, and how hard our current conference director has been working to switch from the in-person plans, this is shaping up to be an excellent meeting. Synchronous sessions will take place on Thursday October 14 and Friday, October 15, and asynchronous presentations as well as posters will also be available through the STP website.

    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 EASTERN TIME.

    Take part in the ECP Speed Mentoring Event

    • We are excited to announce that our 3rd 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 10 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. 

    • 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.

    • Registration is now closed for this event, but please keep an eye out for it next year - it’s always lots of fun!

    Attend the Keynotes and other synchronous events (including symposia, idea exchanges, and teaching demos) on Thursday and Friday

    • In addition to presentations and workshops, there’s also time to socialize! Thursday at 5:45pm and Friday at 4:30pm will be excellent chances for some less structured games and socializing.

    • Make sure you explore the full schedule

    Participate in the Professional Development Workshop presented by your ECP Committee

    • We welcome all ECPs to our synchronous session, The Holistic ECP: Centering Values, Boundaries, and Equity as Cornerstones of Career Decisions

    • It will take place on Friday, October 15 from 2-3 pm.

    As a final tip, please do ask questions, reach out to meet folks, and share your thoughts during the events - we may be biased, but we think STP can be a fabulously welcoming place! 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!

    Do you have any other ideas or questions for your ECP Committee? Fill out this simple form and your question may be featured in an upcoming column. 


    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 Sep 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear STP ECP Committee,

    After nearly a year and a half of living through a pandemic, I am emotionally exhausted and have been experiencing major compassion fatigue. I have also been on summer vacation for the last three months and, as a result, I feel “out of the game” and mentally unprepared to start a new academic year. I would love to know what each of you do to get ready (physically, mentally) for a new academic year. 

    Please inform,

    Needing a Break Before Even Getting Started

    = = = = =

    Dear Needing a Break Before Even Getting Started,

    Wow, we all resonate completely with your question! The last year and a half asked a great deal of us as teachers: to change our typical ways of living, to be flexible in the classroom and outside it, to be patient with our students and ourselves, and to show compassion to everyone else who is having to deal with similar sorts of challenges. While we are grateful to have had the summer to decompress, summers can also be a double-edged sword. Like you, it can be all too easy to lose your typical work mindset, which can make returning to even small tasks feel overwhelming. For others, summer becomes a time of even more work—a time to catch up on everything that was delayed by the busyness of the academic year. Despite having had a very different kind of summer, these people will typically also feel burnt out and overwhelmed by the prospect of a new academic year. Whatever your situation, your ECP Committee is here to help with a variety of ideas for how you can get your head in the game for a new academic year! 

    Molly: Honestly, I’m not ready, and I’m not sure what it would take to feel “ready” right now. I’m also stubbornly opposed to any messaging about getting “back to normal,” so I might just be reactive to anything that even hints of that! In an effort to try to get myself even a tiny bit closer to that mystical “readiness,” whatever that means, I’ve been doing everything I can to control my environment and reduce discomfort and uncertainty in the ways I can. Recently, this has meant buying new pants, since my jersey-knit joggers just won’t cut it for in person classes, and researching and purchasing a wide selection of N95/KN94 masks and mask brackets to make public speaking as comfortable and audible as possible (just search “mask” in the STP FB group for lots of suggestions). I’ve also been continuing to work on my self-compassion (with the help of this handy workbook: The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook). It’s a useful skill in the best of times, but I just know we have more months ahead of uncertainty, suboptimal choices, and unclear guidance. I try to regularly remind myself (and anyone who will listen to me) that we can only do what we can do with the information and resources we have at a given time, and that we can’t self-care (or tell others to self-care) our way out of structural problems. Hang in there, friends.

    Daniel: What a wonderful and appropriate question! I have two suggestions for how to get yourself mentally prepared for the admittedly daunting task of starting a new academic year. First, I would suggest trying to find ways to motivate yourself, for example by remembering why you care about the work you are doing in the first place. For example, I like to keep a digital folder that contains pdfs of encouraging student emails and pictures of notes and cards that students have given me over the last few years. I find it so encouraging to read about how students were positively impacted by my teaching and about what they planned to do with the information and skills they learned in my courses. For me, this simple practice shifts my mindset from being all about the tedious tasks that need to be completed for the new academic year to why engaging in this work is worth it to begin with. My second suggestion is to start small. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when staring at a big project or a new course prep that you have not yet started. Break those large tasks into small ones and knock them out one by one. Relatedly, try to follow the 2-Minute Rule: If something can be done in 2 minutes or less, get it off your mind by just doing it now! 

    Janet: I don’t know that I have any great advice for you. Instead, I’ll just share my experience and maybe that will help (or, at a minimum, offer solidarity).For me, getting back into the rhythm of the semester has been challenging. To prepare, I created four columns and listed out all my service obligations, current research projects, duties as director of instructional excellence, and teaching tasks for the coming year. I then went through each column and prioritized the tasks — which tasks are CRITICAL?  Which have the biggest benefits for myself, my students, and the faculty with which I work? Based on this process, I am trying to let go of the lower priority tasks; to give myself permission to say no or to keep my contributions reasonable. I don’t know yet if this has helped, but I’m trying. 

    Courtney: I can totally relate to this. Summer was simply not enough time to fully recoup from a year plus of pandemic teaching and with COVID numbers not looking great, it is setting us up for another year of uncertainty. For me, I’m trying to remind myself that both my students and I need that sense of connection this year more than ever! I’ll be teaching primarily in-person and am hoping that in-person discussions and activities will bring some renewed energy and excitement to students (many of whom have never been on campus before!). Thinking of helping the students reconnect with each other and the campus helps me to get motivated to make the upcoming semester a great one. In terms of preparing for all of the logistical tasks that come with a new semester, I’m making use of my Google calendar to assign myself specific tasks on various days. Carving out time for everything I need to do helps to reduce my stress (because I know there is a plan to get everything done) and also lets me enjoy any free time I have without so much worry that I should be working! Finally, I always enjoy keeping tabs on the STP Facebook page. Sometimes I get new last minute ideas for activities, projects, or classroom techniques that get me really excited about starting the new semester. Other times, I take in advice from others facing similar struggles or challenges. Either way, it’s nice to feel connected to other educators as we all begin a new academic year together.

    Do you have any other ideas or questions about scholarship topics?

    Fill out this simple form and your question may be featured in an upcoming column. 


    Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee

    Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.

    Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.

    Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.

    Molly Metz, Ph.D.

    Janet Peters, Ph.D.

    Daniel Storage, Ph.D. 

    For regular updates on ECP activities:

    Follow us on Twitter (@STP_ECP) and Facebook (

    Email us at: 

    Visit our STP website:
  • 10 Aug 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear STP ECP Committee,

    As an early career psychologist in a primarily teaching role, how can I engage in scholarship?

    Please inform,

    Searching for Scholarship

    Dear Searching for Scholarship,

    Academic positions range widely in the percentage of time and effort that is required to spend on scholarship/research. For example, those in primarily teaching roles at research universities (like Molly, Karenna, and Daniel on this very committee) may spend ~80% of their time in teaching and ~20% of their time in service, whereas those at primarily undergraduate institutions may have formal scholarship requirements that range wildly. As ECPs learn the culture of their departments and institutions, it is important to understand what the formal and informal requirements are for scholarship. Sources to help with this issue include consulting your institution’s Faculty Handbook, your department chair, your corresponding dean, and your colleagues who have gone through the promotion/tenure process. Notably, as ECPs, scholarship can also be important to consider if you envision remaining at your institution long-term vs. are thinking you may move to another institution. Maintaining some active scholarship may make you more marketable if you see yourself applying for other jobs in the future, particularly more research-focused positions. As an ECP in a primarily teaching-focused institution, Albee provides some strategies to help build scholarship/research.

    Ways to build scholarship: Within the Institution

    ·        Attend and participate in your institution’s own research day (assuming the institution hosts this event) to support students and understand expectations for mentorship

    ·        Be part of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to get ideas of the research process at your institution as well as the types of projects being conducted

    ·        Volunteer to be a Psi Chi Chapter or Psychology Club advisor so you can mentor students who are bound for graduate school and help them develop publishable research

    ·        Start a writing group with other early career colleagues and consider collaborating with each other on new or ongoing projects to help move them towards publication

    ·        Complete any unpublished work from graduate school and if possible, stay connected with your graduate school mentor 

    ·        Learn more about and consider engaging in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL)

    ·        Consider running some of your own pilot studies in collaboration with others 

    o   Identify offices within campus that may be an avenue for research collaboration

    o   Collaborate with psychology colleagues inside and/or outside of the institution who already have established labs and networks (e.g., be a co-investigator on a project across institutions to gather more data)

    Ways to build scholarship: Outside the Institution 

    ·        Be an active member in a division of APA (e.g., APA Division 2/STP

    o   Communicate your research interests and career ambitions openly as you introduce yourself to division members (as well as colleagues in your institution) and you may have opportunities for grant projects and/or conference presentations

    o   Join a committee to build a potential collaborator network and/or have opportunities for conference presentations (e.g., STP ECP Committee)

    ·        Attend virtual or in-person conferences (e.g., ACT, TOP conferences) to get ideas for projects and to meet potential collaborators

    ·        Get on an active listserv (e.g., APA Division 2) and you may find opportunities to review conference proposals or collaborate on  research studies

    ·        Become a reviewer for a journal in your area of interest (e.g., sign up here to review for Teaching of Psychology) and/or for a journal that you would like to publish in the future for journals to gain experience evaluating psychological studies and to know what to expect when you publish

    Ways to weave scholarship into teaching: Within the Classroom

    ·        Do SoTL research which allows you to use your class/teaching environment to conduct research (e.g., STP SoTL Workshop

    ·        Identify students in select courses (e.g., Research Methods) and help them develop a publishable product as part of a directed research course or as their senior capstone project

    ·        Incorporate any data collected from pilot studies or student-led research as class exercises 

    ·        Have students work together to complete a meta-analysis paper or literature review that could potentially be submitted for publication

    Ways to weave scholarship into teaching: Outside the Classroom

    ·        Be involved in undergraduate or graduate student thesis or dissertation committees and help them develop a publishable product

    ·        Develop your identity and demonstrate what makes you unique as a faculty member

    o   Advertise your research and teaching interests in your classes

    o   Be a guest speaker about your area of expertise to other classes/departments

    ·        Identify local schools/businesses/clinic with which to do service learning activities and collect outcome data for a publishable product 

    ·        Volunteer to be on the steering or organization committees for conferences and conventions to see what topics are being presented and what projects get accepted

    If you are looking for more ideas, we recommend exploring the STP website related to early career topics on scholarship:

    ·        Becoming a Journal Reviewer 

    ·        Navigating the Research and Publication Process as a New Faculty Member

    ·        Advice for Early Career Faculty Members and Graduate Students on SoTL

    Lastly, STP’s e-books are informative and helpful in a number of topics including how to build your own research lab, how to engage in SoTL, how to find effective research assistants, etc.

    ·        Administration of a Student Friendly Psychology Conference: Challenges and Opportunities

    o   Mentoring High Quality Student Research for Conference Presentation…and Publication 

    ·        So you landed a job – What’s next?Advice for early career psychologists from early career psychologists

    o   Setting Up a Lab with a Budget and Incorporating Students into Research

    o   Engaging Students in Collaborative Psychological Research at Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities

    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 Jul 2021 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear ECPs,

    Summer is in full swing, and I am trying to unwind after a very long year+ of pandemic teaching by reading. Do you have recommendations for summer reading?


    Relaxed by Reading

    Dear Relaxed by Reading,

    It really does feel like we have been working for 15 months straight, doesn’t it? Whether you read a book for course preparation or simply for pleasure, hopefully these recommendations from your ECP Committee will point you in the right direction.

    Courtney: What a crazy year it has been! With everything that has been happening, reading for fun hasn’t always made it to the top of my to-do list (aside from children’s bedtime stories!). However, this summer I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling with my daughter and it’s the perfect little escape from everything else that has been going on. In terms of work-related reading, I’m also beginning to think about teaching my Introductory Psychology course later this summer and next Fall and in relation to what I have been reading up on the Introductory Psychology Initiative recommendations and resources. I am hoping for a calmer 2021-2022 school year where I can catch up on all of these great recommendations from my fellow ECPs!

    Molly: OH MY GOODNESS, DO I! I have always been a voracious reader, and it has felt SO GOOD to completely disregard most professional duties and consume popular fiction and non-fiction almost constantly for the last few weeks. This newsletter would be book-length if I listed all of my recommendations, but here are some recent favourites.


    Literary fiction with a hint (or more) of sci-fi/fantasy: Meet Me in Another Life; The Changeling; All That's Left of Me; The One

    Fictional reimaginings of real events/people: Behave; Mystery of Mrs. Christie; 11/22/63

    Beautiful stories and perspectives of people different from me: A Woman Is No Man; This Is How It Always Is; My Sister, the Serial Killer


    Amazingly rich histories of darkly fascinating people: The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple; Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson

    Memoirs of women who have lived through extraordinary things (my personal favourite genre): Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More; A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science; Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman; Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving Extremism

    I’ll stop now. Believe it or not, I restrained myself, so feel free to find me on Twitter (@metzpsych) for more recs! Some are even related to work :)

    Karenna: My current reads include board books and Indestructibles with my little one, but I admit that reading for fun is how I cope with, well, everything. Here are a few of my recent favorites:

    ·        Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

    ·        From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke

    ·        The Last Thing He Told Me: A Novel by Laura Daves

    ·        Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein

    ·        The Couch’s Guide for Women Professors Who Want a Successful Career and a Well-Balanced Life by Rene Seltzer

    ·        And last but not least, the binge-worthy Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn

    Daniel: My committee-mates have provided wonderful reading suggestions, for fun and for career (and for both, of course). I’d like to suggest a couple of readings about something a bit different! As a white professor who often teaches courses such as Psychology of Diversity, I am constantly working to increase my literacy and understanding surrounding issues of race, racism, and the like. This desire has only magnified following the events of last year. As a result, I would recommend the following as helpful and enlightening tools for anyone looking to grow in this area. First, I recommend reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo, which discusses the defensiveness that white people sometimes feel when faced with a threat to their preexisting beliefs about race. In a similar vein, you can also explore So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo or I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. Finally, I recommend Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Written by psychology powerhouses, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald (you may know them as the creators of the Implicit Association Test, or IAT), this book explores the power of implicit biases and how we can combat them. If you are interested and would like more recommendations of books about these topics, just reach out to me!

    Albee: Like Karenna, I have been reading more children’s books this past year as my 5-year-old gears up for Kindergarten (I cannot believe it - please stay a baby forever). Our family has also been spending a lot more time in the kitchen, reading stories and then making the featured eats (e.g., Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan). In addition to learning new characters and stories such as Ladybug Girl, Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, Amelia Bedelia, and the Princess in Black series (there is a free booklet specifically for the coronavirus), I did find a teeny-weeny bit of time to curl up with some grown-up reads, which have informed me, like Daniel, to incorporate more diversity, equity, and inclusion themes in my courses (e.g., The Psychology of Human Development, Educational Psychology).

    ·        Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala

    ·        The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar

    ·        Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas

    ·        Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

    ·        Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

    From all of us, thanks again for this fun question. Self-care looks different for everyone right now. Some of us feel more relaxed by preparing for the academic year ahead of us, while others want to read the latest thriller novels. Perhaps you have recommendations you’d like to share; feel free to message us on Facebook or Twitter so we can continue to add to our book list!

    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.
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