Teaching Psychology 230 – Human Sexuality – at Washington State University Pullman puts Blythe Duell in front of up to 500 undergraduate students each class session.
Duell, who is a clinical associate professor, wanted to be certain she was doing everything in her power to ensure that students were engaged and getting as much as they could out of the class. Her participation in WSU’s LIFT Faculty Fellowship gave her the tools to do it.
One of her first goals was to show her students that they weren’t alone in struggling at times. She had each student in her PSYCH 201 class write down a time they struggled and how they overcame it, and then shared the results.
“There’s some evidence that shows that if students understand other people are struggling, that they’ll feel more comfortable, and it’s easier to learn in an environment where you feel comfortable,” she said. “This can be especially important for first generation students and students who feel out of place in a college setting.”
The LIFT fellowship, which is currently accepting applicants to join its fourth cohort, teaches a variety of evidence-based teaching interventions. Previous research has shown that these interventions improve student engagement and learning, decrease course withdrawal and fail rates, and boost student retention.