Q&A with 2020 Outgoing GSTA Leadership

10 Dec 2020 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Submitted by:

Jessica Brodsky (Outgoing Chair)

Elizabeth Che (Immediate Past Chair)

Amy K. Maslowski (Chair-Elect)

As this year ends, we reflect on the outstanding leadership of Liz and Jessica, and the legacy they leave the GSTA. We are truly grateful for their commitment to advancing the GSTA and wish them all the best! We asked them to reflect on their time with GSTA, and their thoughts are below.

Type of doctoral program and expected graduation:

Liz: I am in my fifth year of the Learning, Development, and Instruction specialization in the Educational Psychology PhD Program at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. I am expecting to graduate in 2022.

Jessica: I am in my fourth year of the Learning, Development, and Instruction specialization in the Program in Educational Psychology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. I’m hoping to graduate in 2022.

Roles you have had in GSTA:

Liz: I joined the GSTA when I first started the doctoral program in 2016 while the GSTA was operating under the host institution model at The Graduate Center. I served as the Deputy Chair from June 2017 through December 2018, and as the Chair from January 2019 through June 2020.

Jessica: I joined the GSTA when I first started my doctoral program in 2017. I served as the Deputy Chair from January 2019 through May 2020 and as the Chair from June 2020 through December 2020.

Experiences you have been able to participate in because of being a part of GSTA:

Liz & Jessica: The GSTA supported us in attending and presenting at psychology teaching conferences. We presented research related to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in psychology at the STP’s National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology and attended the SoTL Workshop at the STP’s Annual Conference on Teaching. We are grateful to the STP for its programming at regional psychology conferences, as these conferences are great venues for graduate students to share their work and meet colleagues at nearby institutions.

Additionally, the GSTA provided us with several opportunities to help share evidence-based teaching practices with other graduate students. We co-edited and contributed to The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching, the second volume of the GSTA’s How We Teach Now e-book series. We also helped implement the annual day-long pedagogy conference at The Graduate Center and co-authored posts for the GSTA Blog.

Liz: While serving on the GSTA leadership, I collaborated with other GSTA members to develop surveys to better understand the pedagogical needs and supports for graduate students who are teaching. The findings of the survey inspired my colleagues and I to create a new training-based survey that includes content acquisition podcasts and downloadable teaching materials to incorporate employable skills in their undergraduate courses. The current survey, funded by the STP SoTL Grant and The Graduate Center, is recruiting graduate student instructors until Spring 2021. The first 300 participants to complete the survey will receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.

Jessica: I worked with the GSTA leadership team to develop a position statement and call to action for graduate student teaching assistants and instructors of psychology. We identified six actions that we, as graduate students, can take to make our instruction more inclusive, equitable, and anti-racist, and expanded on these action items in a series of blog posts on the GSTA Blog.

Benefits of GSTA on your professional development and future as an academic:

Liz & Jessica: Through our participation in the GSTA, we have had the chance to practice a variety of communication skills, including presenting, editing, and writing for different audiences. Serving as the Deputy Chair and Chair developed both of our leadership and collaboration skills. At STP conferences and workshops, we heard from and met many scholars and instructors whose commitment to the teaching of psychology is inspiring.

Impact of GSTA on you personally:

Liz & Jessica: A highlight of being part of the GSTA has been meeting and working with wonderful colleagues who are as excited as we are about SoTL and teaching psychology!

Advice (teaching and/or research tips) for other graduate students:

Liz & Jessica: When we wrote the introductory chapter for the second volume of How We Teach Now: The GSTA Guide to Transformative Teaching, we described eight steps for becoming a more transformative teacher. These steps pretty much capture the advice we would give other graduate student instructors.

Jessica: Of the eight steps, the one that I am constantly reminded of is “consider yourself as a learner.” I am always learning from my colleagues, my mentors, my students, and the teaching of psychology community. Remembering to consider myself a learner has made me a better teacher.

Liz: Likewise, I am also constantly reminded of being a learner. I find teaching and learning as a cyclical growth process that requires an active and open mind to seek, evaluate, and apply the resources and experiences that we gained through practice.

Anything else?

Liz & Jessica: It has been an honor to serve in a GSTA leadership position! We wish the new leadership much success as they continue the critical work of supporting graduate student instructors of psychology.

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