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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 March 2013

Psychology and Sociology Faculty Integration Conference

Psychology and Sociology Faculty Integration Conference

Experts gather on main campus.

More than 40 psychology and sociology faculty from day, nationwide and online campuses gathered in Dulany Hall on February 8-9 for their biannual conference. The purpose of the event was to gather together in-seat, online and adjunct faculty to assess and track goals and standards and create a more tight-knit community of instructors/professors.

"The most beneficial part of the conference to me was meeting the people who I regularly contact for work by e-mail but had not met face to face and meeting other faculty from across the country," says Shannon Sellers, an adjunct sociology instructor at Columbia College-San Diego and online. "Our faculty are very passionate about teaching and enriching students' learning experiences no matter where they are teaching - on the main campus, on a military base, online, or elsewhere. The conference demonstrated to me how much Columbia College invests in its faculty members and, by extension, cares about the experience that their students have in their courses."    

A primary goal was to make undergraduate curriculum more robust, conforming to standards set by national organizations such as the American Psychology Association and American Sociology Association. "One focus of the conference was the new APA standards for undergraduate psychology majors," Dr. Paul Padden, a psychology professor at Columbia College-Hancock Field, wrote in an email. "The two key pieces that stick out to me are critical thinking abilities and writing.I think that we will be focusing on these issues across the board in a collaborative venture to improve learning and scholarship."

Another topic addressed was serving a diverse student population using a diverse group of instructors (many of who teach on the side while pursuing careers in their fields - taking advantage of their real-world experiences is important and better serves students).

"We met to discuss how to teach students about issues of power, inequality and culture in sociology," Sellers explains. "One valuable part of that meeting was hearing what books and videos other faculty use to teach these subjects; incorporating videos into a class helps students to understand the relevance of the subjects we're discussing and really brings them to life."

The conference will take place every two years, which will benefit both faculty and students. “Our goal is to build a world-class undergraduate psychology curriculum and we have the resources to do that,” says Dr. Graham Higgs, Chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology. “If you intend to go to grad school, this is the program to go to.”