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The
Community
Psychologist

Volume 55, Number 2 Spring 2022

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Education Connection

Edited by Mason G. Haber, Lamplighter Evaluation and Consulting, LLC and William James College

Educational Materials and Knowledge Sharing Initiative

Written by Olya Glantsman, DePaul University and Mason Haber, Lamplighter Evaluation and Consulting, LLC and William James College

In 2021 a group of SCRA members proposed an initiative to create Community Psychology (CP) knowledge sharing opportunities through an online “hub.” The idea for creating a knowledge sharing project is not new, and the need for such a resource has been apparent for some time. Those teaching CP courses for the first time (many of whom are graduate students and early career instructors) and those teaching new courses or trying to create a new course or even a program at their institution, sometimes struggle to find a range of up-to-date examples of CP educational materials, even for courses typically included in CP curricula such as program evaluation. Those who have taught specific courses many times also may seek to update their course designs and materials. Moreover, CP educators often have specific needs around the design of interdisciplinary courses or novel subject matter, needs that have often not been well addressed in psychology and other fields and may require bringing together knowledge from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Numerous SCRA ListServ posts contain requests for educational materials. Of course, these rely on colleagues to read the content carefully and share relevant resources based on limited knowledge about how the resources are intended to be used. Nonetheless, responses to these requests have yielded a wealth of material, including reviews of educational literature, case studies, syllabi, assignments, resource for service learning and community psychology practica, and many other useful items for educators at any phase of their career. Collectively, these resources have tremendous potential to inform educators in efforts to expand and refine CP educational opportunities but to date, efforts to bring them together systematically have been limited. 

Council on Education Teaching Community Psychology Website

Some time ago, the Council on Education (COE), the Council for Education Programs (CEP) at the time, established a Teaching Resources area of our webpage featuring a range of educational materials, including reading lists, undergraduate and graduate syllabi for typical CP course offerings and more specialized areas (e.g., rural psychology), various types of assignments, resources for incorporating CP into psychology survey courses, videos, and links to other educational resource clearing houses (https://www.scra27.org/what-we-do/education/teaching-cp/). The COE educational resources pages have been identified as the most frequently visited pages on the SCRA website (J. Hill, personal communication, 2021), and many SCRA members (Including the authors of this piece and other COE members) have relied on these materials when designing their curricula. However, most of these have not been updated for some time (e.g., the most recent graduate course syllabus is from 2010) and address a limited range of educational needs, neglecting pressing areas such as teaching resources for racial justice, decoloniality, and critical psychology. Although there have been many discussions regarding updating this resource, COE members have been reluctant to take on the work in a limited, “one-off” manner, without a plan for how the resources would be regularly updated again in the future. We also wanted to be more comprehensive in our approach, given our aspirations as an organization to be more inclusive of diverse perspectives and types of knowledge products and promote awareness and access to these resources throughout the wide community of CP educators.

Initiative to Create a New CP Teaching Resource “Hub”

To address these needs, in the past year, members of the COE developed a proposal for a new initiative to create a knowledge hub that has been steadily gathering support from the membership. Its main goals include: (1) creating and maintaining, in an ongoing manner, a hub of knowledge related to CP education (e.g., syllabi, classroom activities, readings, etc.) and (2) organizing a series of knowledge sharing opportunities related to CP education to help support the work of educators and facilitators in the field (e.g., topics may range from inclusive teaching to online learning to diversifying the curriculum, etc.). Additionally, we want to make sure that we give appropriate credit to those who share their materials and where possible, facilitate dissemination of materials through other outlets (e.g., Blogs, TCP, AJCP special issues). Ideally, the project would be embedded within a variety of ongoing efforts in SCRA to promote innovative, effective teaching that reflects our principles and values, such as recent efforts to provide mentoring opportunities for undergraduates through the “Building Bridges” initiative or the multi-council effort to “decolonize” CP competencies in research and practice. 

Recruitment of a Student Intern

In the upcoming year, pending final approval of the SCRA Executive Committee, the COE is seeking to recruit a student coordinator to assist with this project. Their responsibilities will include helping: (1) to create an accessible online tool through which SCRA members can contribute materials and (2) design and implement a process for initial reviews of materials for relevance and quality and update of materials, (3) build a readily navigable interface and database for members accessible through the SCRA website, (4) engage SCRA membership in developing the hub (e.g., suggesting topics, methods to improve navigability and accessibility), and (5) introduce members to its features and types of materials included through a user guide and workshops. This would be an excellent opportunity for an aspiring future educator to become familiar with the vast array of educational knowledge products available through our membership and the range of perspectives and techniques of CP educators, as well as develop valuable skills in knowledge dissemination. Watch for our Call for Applications on the SCRA and SCRA student ListServes!  

Other Opportunities to Participate – Starting Now!

Although the COE is initiating this project, ideally, we would like for the process of developing the hub to involve contributions from other members, councils and interest groups, etc. Following the publication of this TCP, we would like to kick off the process by collecting teaching materials focusing on high priority areas for educators, including teaching resources related to racial justice, decoloniality, and critical psychology. We will formally announce this initial effort through the SCRA, SCRA student, as well as interest group, council, and committee ListServes, but please do not hesitate to contact us in advance with your resources, ideas, or other assistance: Dr. Olya Glantsman at oglantsm@depaul.edu.