As I teach Social Psychology at Carroll for the last time, I welcome feedback from former students, former Ohio State social psychology classmates and professors, fellow social psychologists, and present students about what should be taught in the courses and how it should be taught. I have always been impressed by the under heralded contributions of Scott Plous in his creation of the Social Psychology Network. Thank you, Scott, for your many contributions and your rekindling my interest in the discipline. There are so many social psychologists whom I continue to admire and learn from, even if vicariously.
I’ve invited my students to visit the SPN network as a starting point.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the process of writing. Yesterday I met with a friend to celebrate the publication of her first novel. Today I met with my business partner to discuss a book we are working on together. I just now received a progress report from my research assistant on some e-book publication software about which she is writing a student user’s manual. I continue to be haunted by the lyrical prose and themes of Sigrid Nunez’s novel The Friend.
Curious David Redux:
For numerous reasons, I am a slow writer. I don’t type. Though a nuanced writer I do not naturally dictate into a piece of software as my business partner Greg Schneider does so naturally. I’ve never had a secretary or administrative assistant.
I am, however, a prodigious reader. I have a stack of over two dozen books awaiting my reading this summer. Greg just suggested two to add to the stack.
I have rightfully been criticized for reading too much in order to delay my writing. I revise multiple times trying to find just the right word, the right tone, the right feeling. My novelist friend just gently admonished me to stop striving for perfection.
I self-handicap by being interested in so many different things. I am very easily distracted from the task at hand. Yesterday I was distracted from writing by reflecting on digital doppelnamers!
I have no strong external incentive to write nor am I interested in carrots or sticks. I am tenured and intrinsically motivated. Are these excuses or reasons?
Last night I started reading a new book The Seven Sins of Psychology. I’ll write a book review of the book after school is out. I miss having the writing outlet of the journal PsycCritiques where I published several dozen book reviews before it was discontinued by the American Psychological Association. Reading and reviewing the book may give me closure on resolving ruminations I struggled with in this piece I wrote about 6 years ago.
Curious David Redux
I am having quite a bit of difficulty writing this piece–and have had that difficulty for the past few years when my identity with my discipline of social psychology became disrupted and unsettled. When I taught Experimental Social Psychology class I shared with students a case study of the influential career of European social psychologist Diederik Stapel. May I never be so famous that
The past two years I have invited my students to share in writing their reactions to this case study. Before “publishing them” in a blog piece, I was interested in whether Diederik might be interested in seeing them. Thank you, Diederik for replying and sharing some of your experiences over the past years.
Diederik’s behavior leaves me struggling with the questions of at what point is ostracism unwarranted and forgiveness or a variant of compassion warranted. At what point does ostracism degenerate into a witch hunt? How can one both acknowledge and condemn wrong behavior (never forget) and yet not engage in wrong behavior by failing to allow an individual opportunity to show that they have learned from their wrong behavior?
For numerous reasons I am a slow writer. I don’t type. though a nuanced writer I do not naturally dictate into a piece of software like dragon dictate. I’ve never had a secretary. I am a prodigious reader (and have been criticized for reading too much in order to delay writing). I revise multiple times trying to find just the right word, the right tone, the right feeling (This is version 21 of this short piece!). I am interested in so many different things—and therefore easily distracted from the task at hand (yesterday I was distracted from writing by reflecting on digital doppelnamers!). I have no strong external incentive to write (I am tenured and intrinsically motivated). Are these excuses or reasons?
I am having quite a bit of difficulty writing this piece—and have had that difficulty for the past three years when my identity with my discipline of social psychology became disrupted and unsettled. In my Experimental Social Psychology class the past three years I have been sharing with students a case study of the influential career of European social psychologist Diederik Stapel. May I never be so famous that
The past two years I have invited my students to share in writing their reactions to this case study. Before “publishing them” in a blog piece, I was interested in whether Diederik might be interested in seeing them. Thank you, Diederik for replying and sharing some of your experiences over the past three years.
I am left struggling with the questions of at what point is ostracism unwarranted and forgiveness or a variant of compassion warranted. At what point does ostracism degenerate into a witch hunt? How can one both acknowledge and condemn wrong behavior (never forget) and yet not engage in wrong behavior by failing to allow an individual opportunities to show that they have learned from their wrong behavior?
I hope I never find myself in the position of this monk where I need to call in technical support to figure out how to read an object called a “book.” In my judgment there IS a danger, however, in becoming too dependent on “technology learning tools.” My favorite tools remain a # 2 pencil with an eraser, a Pilot G-2 broad ink pen, some writing paper, and my mind. Nonetheless, this blog post is a heart-felt mini-festschrift to an Internet visionary.
I’ve written numerous blog posts about the tremendous value I find from Jane Hart’s annual identifying top learning tools. I have unbridled admiration and respect for her vision, willingness to share, and thought-provoking ideas. As I wind up (or wind down) my teaching career over the next few years, I am making an intentional, concerted effort to use things I have learned from Jane (directly or indirectly) over the past seven years. Thank you, Comrade and Mentor across the Pond!
I have incorporated into my Experimental Social Psychology class use of a Ning (or see Julie Lindsay‘s superb utilization of a Ning). If you would like to visit this Ning, especially if you are a former student or classmate of mine or are also an experimental social psychologist, let me know. I would welcome incorporating into the Ning your thoughts about the course or your thoughts about being a social psychologist or using social psychology.
Jane has influenced (favorably) my extra-classroom university academic life (e.g. I maintain alumni contact through Linkedin, and by my cross-posting my WordPress blogs across Facebook and Twitter.
Jane’s influence has transformed the way I conduct my committee work (e.g. I recently began a Planning and Budget Committee meeting which I co-chair with a screenflow screencast which explained to colleagues how to access budget and planning information).
Jane has transformed my daily interaction with my student research assistants who annually pilot test all tools on Jane’s list. Among the tools we currently use or are bench-marking for student learning utility are Google Drive, Class Owl, and WordPress. These research assistants continue to revitalize me with their intelligence, playfulness, eagerness to learn, and youth. I have invited this year’s S -Team to identify what Top Tools they find most valuable and which they’d like to learn. Stay tuned.
When I initially arrived at Carroll with my “ABD” degree (All But Dissertation) in 1978 it made much sense to me and to my chair, Dr. Ralph Parsons, to teach what I had specialized in during graduate school at The Ohio State University.
David, Ralph, and Virginia Briefly Reunited February 1, 2014
My introduction to the field of social psychology had come while I was an undergraduate at Oberlin College, and I hoped to give back to my Carroll students the excitement that I felt at that time of actually being a social psychologist.
At Oberlin my academic adviser, Ralph Turner, was a self-described “arm-chair” social psychologist—i.e not at a researcher—interested in creating dithering devices to facilitate learning that would cascade within and outside the classroom. As an adviser and professor Ralph Turner was kind to and patient with me. He was a role model of a dynamic teacher and a voracious reader who regularly wrote book reviews and who played a leadership role in Division 2 (Teaching of Psychology). He encouraged my intellectual curiosity and accepted me as I was, unformed and uninformed but eager to learn. He introduced me to the idea that psychological principles of persuasion and attitude change could be used to make the world a better place—or a worse place if applications of these same social psychological principles and findings failed to be guided by ethics.
These were my most (in)formative years especially, perhaps, because I was taking all my classes “credit/no entry” (that is, ungraded). This freedom from being graded allowed me to read voraciously, to be exposed first hand to social justice and war/peace issues, and to read and reflect upon works such as Postman and Weingartner’s Teaching as a Subversive Activity. I was also at that time inspired by APA President George Miller’s 1969 address advocating that we should give psychology away.
While a perennial graduate student at Ohio State I was surrounded by students who already were far better scientists than I was or would ever become and who subsequently have made major contributions to the field. Once again I was heavily influenced by personal relationships formed with a few key faculty—in particular by my academic adviser, mentor, and friend Tom Ostrom and more indirectly but in many positive ways, by the teachings by example of Tony Greenwald. Both of them, in their kind but brutally candid way convinced me that my calling most likely would be in teaching rather than in conducting creative, seminal, path-breaking research. And here I am thirty-some years later!
It pleases me that a number of Carroll students have chosen to pursue advanced graduate degrees in social psychology (e.g. Mark Klinger, Pam Propsom, Deana Julka, Darcy Reich, Jenny Welbourne, Cathy Carnot-Bond ) or in related disciplines (e.g. Mike Schwerin). Some of them have developed enviable scholarly reputations. But my goal in my experimental social psychology class is not so much as to be a pipeline to graduate schools in social psychology as to attempt to provide a capstone-like experience in their developed abilities of thinking about research.
I’m at a point of giving serious consideration to changing what I teach and how I teach my experimental social psychology course—if I continue to teach it. Two or my colleagues have a professional identity with my discipline, and I’m sure that they could step in. One possibility is to teach it entirely based upon readings (e.g. classic studies and recently published articles). Such a change in format might allow for more extensive, daily discussion and the potential development of student research ideas resulting from such discussion. This possibility would work best, however, if the class were small. There are years, though when I’ve had up to 35 students.
A second possibility is to teach it from a much more global, international perspective. A third possibility is to dramatically introduce hands-on Internet-based resources and experiences—drawing upon my recent interest in developing Web 2.0 learning tool. A good start in identifying some such resources has already been made by Scott Plous in his development of the Social Psychology Network and is reflected in the work of Jonathon Mueller in developing teaching resources for social psychology. And, of course, I could draw more upon the expertise of former students who are active experimental social psychologists. (Are you interest in some good students directed to you? Let’s connect!)
I welcome input from students and former students concerning which directions I should explore. How best should I proceed to give social psychology away?
I am an experimental social psychologist by my graduate school training. Tonight I am in the process of preparing for my fall semester PSY303A “Experimental Social Psychology Class.” This year I am interested in giving it a more international/ global focus while at the same time preserving the course’s emphasis on the value in using the scientific method. I also want to imbue the course with technology learning tools that I have come to value.
I am entertaining beginning the class by having all students carefully read the article Coping with Chaos: How Disordered Contexts Promote Stereotyping and Discrimination. After we have carefully studied the experimental design, elegance of the the thinking, data analysis, and conclusions and practical implications I will have the students read the full report of the investigation of Stapel’s fraudulent data collection here and his explanations of why he falsified data.
The challenge is how to avoid undermining students’ belief in the validity of psychological science while at the same time confronting the reality that science is a human endeavor. I found the Stapel malfeasance most disruptive to my own professional identity (and I am not alone.) How can I make that disruption a positive thing, especially for my students?