BEA Working Group to strengthen the introductory psychology course

Board of Educational Affairs appoints group representing a variety of perspectives

At its March 2012 meeting, the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) approved appointments to a new Working Group to Strengthen the Common Core of the Introductory Psychology Course. In order to include a breadth of perspectives on the introductory psychology course, BEA made the following appointments: Regan Gurung, PhD (University of Wisconsin–Green Bay), chair; John Cacioppo, PhD (University of Chicago); Carolyn Enns, PhD (Cornell College); Susan Frantz, MA (Highline Community College); Jim Freeman, PhD (University of Virginia); Jana Hackathorn, PhD (Murray State University); and Trudy Loop, MA (Altamont School).

The charge of the working group is to examine the common core of the introductory course at the college level and to recommend potential action steps to the BEA. This examination will include such issues as (a) the content of the introductory psychology course, (b) identification of course outcomes, (c) discussion concerning the possibility of a laboratory component, and (d) the consideration of an introductory course for a psychology major versus a nonmajor.

To begin a conversation on this topic at the APA convention in Orlando, the BEA and the APA PT@CC Committee co-sponsored a two-hour session titled “A Focus on Introductory Psychology: Models, Formats, Learning Outcomes, and Assessment.”

The BEA Working Group has a number of initiatives under way to advance their work. They have been gathering data from the major publishers of introductory psychology textbooks and are also planning a survey on the teaching of introductory psychology.