Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Division 2, The Society for the Teaching of Psychology, asked the candidates for APA President the questions below.
1. What is your vision for strengthening the psychology education pipeline from high school through graduate school?
My first job (after picking up rocks in the field for my dad, who was a farmer) was teaching summer migrant school in Indiana (Spanish grammar). When I was about 19, I decided the children were not being accurately evaluated, due to language issues (some were bilingual, some only spoke one language). I went to my Introductory Psychology professor and told her I thought I should become a bilingual psychometrist. She told me I needed to become a psychologist. This is how I ended up becoming a psychologist. My mother was an English teacher in high school. In my rural high school, there was no psychology class. I was not introduced to psychology, until I was 19.
I really believe the teaching of psychology in high school would have helped me develop and grow personally and professionally. In the rural high school in my community in Maine, I have supported the high school psychology teacher by providing her with materials from APA. I have seen how my three daughters have benefitted from taking her class in high school, even though they are not pursuing psychology professionally. I believe high school teachers need materials and support to engage and reach our youth. There are so many issues that could be addressed and a plethora of problems that could be prevented, with well-supported and trained high school psychology teachers providing this education in the classroom. Providing these materials and training would also help high school teachers inspire and begin to develop a pipeline of students into the wonderful field of psychology.
2. What do you plan to do to support high school and undergraduate education?
As APA President, I will rely on my colleagues like you and my graduate school colleague, Dr. Randy Ernst, to advise me as to what is needed both at APA and in the school systems to support education at the high school and undergraduate level. I have devoted over 15 years of my professional life to advocating for issues of importance to APA, including Education. I will continue this advocacy, looking to the Education Directorate, my colleagues in Federal Advocacy, and psychologists and friends who do this good work around the country and world to shape an agenda to help support high school and undergraduate education. Were it not for my undergraduate psychology professor who recruited me to become a psychologist, I would not be a psychologist today. I come from a long line of teachers in my family, including a great-aunt who was a professor. My spouse is an undergraduate professor/psychologist teaching Health Care Studies. He and I have co-taught Gender Studies in the past. I believe this deep personal history in education would help me serve as an APA President committed to advancing the needs of high school and undergraduate education in psychology.
3. What role do you see for the APA President in advocating for psychology education, broadly defined?
With Dr. Arthur Evans as CEO, APA has become even more visible in the public eye. In my Capitol Hill visits with Senator Susan Collins from Maine, she has been very interested in the impact of the pandemic on our students. I would plan to partner with Dr. Arthur Evans, who has been so effective in promoting APA, to advocate at the national and state level for support for the needs of psychology education and training (e.g., assuring adequate federal and state funding). The connection between grant funding and promotion and tenure for professors of psychology would be attended to through federal and state advocacy, connecting efforts in education to science and practice. Without adequate grant funding, many of our academic psychologists will struggle to advance and be promoted. In our role of teachers of psychology, we touch so many people and have such a critical opportunity to truly help society. As APA President, I will be committed to protecting, preserving, and enhancing psychology education, believing sharing our psychology provides the keys to health and happiness for people in the world in which we live.