Teaching

When I got to graduate school, I was already certain that I wanted to teach. I had such an enriching and fulfilling experience during my undergraduate experience at a small liberal arts school that I couldn’t imagine being an academic in any other environment. Although this website is technically for my research, Earlham cares most about dedicated teaching. And as I said, I view my research as an extension of my teaching, as I’m still teaching, just in a slightly different way.

Below, I’ve listed the classes I teach at Earlham (in alphabetical order), with a small blurb about each of them. Every time I teach each one, I think “this one is my favorite!”

Comprehensive Senior Research (PSYC 486)All senior psychology majors must design and conduct an independent research project during one semester of their senior year. This involves coming up with a topic, doing background research, designing a study, gathering/creating materials and manipulations, obtaining IRB approval, collecting data, analyzing data, doing a public presentation, and writing an APA-style manuscript paper. I teach this course on a rotating basis with other members of my department.

Human-Animal Interactions (PSYC 358): This is one of my newest classes. Each week we cover a different topic, such as animals used for entertainment, eating animals, or animal-assisted therapy. In addition, as an upper-level research-focused class, we read primary literature each week and students design and conduct a small research project over the course of the semester. Most recently, I had students do research on perceptions of competence, warmth, and edibility across three categories of animals (pet, farm, or wild), how the wording of a proposed amendment to the Animal Welfare Act changes attitudes toward animal research, and willingness to engage in conservation related behaviors toward an endangered animal based on how conflict with humans was explained. This class is also part of the Integrated Pathway in Anthrozoology.

Human Sexuality (PSYC/WGSS 368): One of my two classes that cross-list with our Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major, Human Sexuality is a popular class on campus. In general, we cover a range of topics related to sexual behavior, from things as “basic” as anatomy (spoiler alert: it’s not that basic!), to those as expected as sexual orientation or STIs, and go as far as complex and divisive topics like sex work and pornography. In this class, no topic is off-limits. I have students apply and expand their knowledge by completing a “Public Service Announcement” final group project and I always end up wowed.

  • This syllabus has been peer-reviewed and posted at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Project Syllabus website.

Introduction to Psychology (PSYC 115): While some folks hate to teach introductory classes, Intro to Psych is an awesome class because it’s really a collection of “Psychology’s Greatest Hits!” Since psychology is such a broad field, Intro can only go about 1/2 an inch deep into any topic, but that whets students’ appetites for upper-level courses. My class is set up to help students apply what we talk about to their own lives. In addition, I structure the class based on some solid evidence about how people learn, by using regular practice and retrieval, as well as having more tests covering fewer concepts each. At the end of the semester, students do a group project designed to get them thinking about psychology research and counteract the all-too-common hindsight bias.

Psychology of Food (ESEM 150): While this class is technically not hosted within the Psych department because it is part of Earlham’s First Year Seminar program, it’s still very much a psychology class. We talk about sensation & perception, food insecurity, “health food,” and so much more! As a class, we also go on trips, such as to a local organic farm owned/run by an Earlham alumn, a food pantry, and Jungle Jim’s International Market. I also help students learn some basic College 101 skills via presentations, weekly writing assignments, and an advising focus on particular days.

Psychology of Gender (PSYC 3##)This class is in preparation.

Psychology of Prejudice (PSYC 356): My graduate training was in stereotyping and prejudice (with graduate minors in Women’s Studies). Offered every fall, my students and I tackle the complex topics of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. As an upper-level research-focused class, once a week we dive into the methods of psychological journal articles, as we assess what psychological research can explain about prejudice. Over the course of the semester, students also design and conduct a research study in small groups. This project teaches them about the tools of the discipline of psychology, as well as about the structure of prejudice on our campus. In recent years, student groups have focused on attitudes toward interracial couples, stereotype threat, and perceptions of the workplace competence of trans* folk.

  • This syllabus has been peer-reviewed and posted at the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Project Syllabus website.

Psychology of Sustainability (PSYC/ENSU 370): I cross-list this course with our Environmental Sustainability major. Given that most of the environmental problems we face are driven by human behaviors, it makes sense to understand how human behaviors work and can be changed (or not). Predominantly a behavioral change class, we learn about this burgeoning field and students complete three major projects. In the first, they attempt to change one of their own behaviors (where they see it’s hard even when you’re motivated!). In the second, small groups of students assess an environmentally-relevant behavior on campus and design/test an intervention. In the third, the entire class designs multiple interventions to try to change some environmentally-relevant behavior engaged in by residents of Richmond, Indiana.

Psychology of Women (PSYC/WGSS 364)One of my two classes that cross-list with our Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major, Psych of Women focuses on the lived experiences of women in the US. Deliberately intersectional, I try my best to go beyond research and writing about/by White women. For many of my traditional-college-aged female-identifying students, this class tackles material that they have or are likely to experience in their lifetimes (e.g., workplace dynamics, name changes upon marriage, etc.).

Social Psychology (PSYC 210)As the resident Social Psychologist in my department, I teach Social Psych every spring semester. Nearly everything we cover in Social Psych is applicable to students’ daily lived experiences, which makes it an engaging class even though it is one of the largest classes on campus. It is a required core class for psych majors and a popular option for a 200-level class for psych minors, business majors, and other majors on campus. Plus, I use this class to help students get excited about research, by having them attempt an Earlham-scale replication of a published Social Psychology experiment. Students choose groups and a project from a list I provide, attempt a replication, and present their results at Earlham’s EPIC Expo.