PT@CC Celebrates 10 Years

In August 2001, the Council of Representatives approved the establishment of the APA PT@CC Committee, which met for the first time at the March 2002. In its first year, the PT@CC Committee agreed that establishing an APA membership category for two-year college teachers, developing teaching resources and enhancing communications among community college psychology teachers would be among its top priorities.

In 2002, APA created a new affiliate membership category for community college psychology teachers, founding PT@CC (Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges).

Ten years later, PT@CC has become a national membership group for psychology teachers at community colleges. With community college student enrollment at an all-time high, a large number of undergraduates are studying psychology at community colleges. PT@CC works to advance quality in the teaching of psychology and to promote academic achievement and student readiness for transfer to 4-year colleges and universities and into the workforce.

History of PT@CC

More than 20 years ago, APA and St. Mary’s College of Maryland co-sponsored the National Conference on Enhancing the Quality of Undergraduate Education in Psychology (1991). One of the outcomes of this conference was recognition of the importance of networking between teachers across all levels of education in psychology. Accordingly, APA established an “integration task force” to focus on the integration of activities for pre-college, 2-year and 4-year college psychology programs. The task force determined that there was insufficient information on the needs of teachers in the community college environment. Upon the recommendation of the task force, the APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) established a BEA Community College Working Group (CCWG), which began its work in June 1996.

Over the next five years, CCWG discussed the isolation felt by community college teachers of psychology. Additionally, they stressed the need for a group within APA to address their unique needs and interests. CCWG identified important issues facing community college faculty, including: student internships/mentoring; academic partnerships; meeting the needs of a diverse student population; standards/guidelines for the discipline of psychology; and the impact of technology on teaching and learning. CCWG also noted that APA did not have a specific category of membership for community college faculty, creating a barrier to APA membership.

As a result of this dialogue, CCWG drafted a proposal for an APA membership category specifically for two-year college teachers. BEA supported these efforts and further recommended that the APA Council of Representatives establish an APA Committee of Psychology Teachers at Community Colleges (PT@CC) to address the needs of community college psychology teachers.

In August 2001, the Council of Representatives approved the establishment of the APA PT@CC Committee. The committee’s mission is to:

  • Represent community college psychology teachers.
  • Promote, within the 2-year college community, the highest professional standards for teaching of psychology as a scientific discipline with applications to a wide range of human concerns.
  • Cultivate a professional identity with the discipline of psychology among psychology teachers at 2-year colleges.
  • Develop leadership qualities among psychology teachers at 2-year colleges and increase their participation and representation in professional psychology activities and organizations.
  • Establish and maintain communication with all groups involved in the teaching of psychology and with the greater psychological community.
  • Encourage psychological research on teaching and learning at 2-year colleges for the purpose of giving students the best possible educational opportunities.

The PT@CC Committee met for the first time at the March 15-17, 2002 consolidated meetings. In its first year, the PT@CC Committee agreed that establishing a membership category for two-year college teachers, developing teaching resources and enhancing communications among community college psychology teachers would be among its top priorities.

To build a network of psychology teachers at community colleges, the PT@CC Committee advocated for the creation of a new APA membership category for Community College Teacher Affiliates. In 2002, APA's Council of Representatives approved a Bylaw amendment to create the new affiliate membership category.

10 Years of PT@CC Accomplishments

Through support from the APA Education Directorate and leadership from the PT@CC Committee, PT@CC has developed its network of community college teacher into a national membership organization for psychology teachers at community colleges. PT@CC is the “home” within the national disciplinary association for community college instructors. PT@CC has given educators a voice on the national level to advance issues of particular importance to the teaching and learning of psychology at community colleges. Accomplishments include:

Student recognition
In 2003, PT@CC sponsored the first annual Student Electronic Project Contest (renamed the Student Presentation Contest) where community college psychology students from across the country created a lesson using Power Point about a topic in psychology. PT@CC also provided Excellence in Psychology Award Certificates for student recognition and announces the names of these students on the APA website.
Teaching recognition
In 2004, PT@CC sponsored the first annual Teaching Tips Contest (renamed the Teaching Resources Award) for sharing high quality instructional techniques.
Needs assessment
PT@CC completed a 2-year college faculty survey to learn more about the characteristics of the faculty and the students at community colleges. A summary by Robert Johnson, PhD, and Jerry Rudmann, PhD, was published in the Teaching of Psychology. In 2008, PT@CC launched an online survey to nearly 12,000 psychology teachers at community colleges. Over 1,700 teachers from 600 institutions responded to the survey. PT@CC presented these results at the 2009 APA Convention in a session on The State of Community Colleges (PDF, 239KB).
Electronic communication
PT@CC launched a new website and created a discussion listserv to facilitate communication among psychology instructors. PT@CC also introduced a PT@CC Web Browser Toolbar.

PT@CC submitted regular contributions to the quarterly newsletter, Psychology Teacher Network and also brought visibility to psychology teachers and students at community colleges through suggestions for articles in the APA Monitor and gradPSYCH. PT@CC also distributed regular mass mailings with materials of special interest to 2-year college faculty. Publications from PT@CC include:

  • Adjunct Faculty Resource Guide;
  • IRBs: A Community College Planning Guide; and
  • PT@CC Community College Fact Sheet
PT@CC began partnering with Psi Beta to sponsor programs for faculty at regional and national meetings. At APA’s convention, PT@CC has annually sponsored five hours of convention programming and a reception with Psi Beta.
Teaching, learning and assessing
In 2004, PT@CC drafted a proposal for a working group to identify the gap between the National Standards for the Teaching of High School Psychology and the learning goals and outcomes of the undergraduate psychology major. The APA Board of Educational Affairs (BEA) appointed a working group that produced a report on Teaching and Learning and Assessing in a Developmentally Coherent Curriculum.
Network building

In 2006, PT@CC looked at strategies to create local teaching networks. In addition to co-sponsoring some local teaching conferences, PT@CC members also conducted outreach events at meetings of the regional psychological associations and at the AP Psychology Reading.

In 2011, PT@CC held a live web meeting A Conversation with David Myers.

Improving member benefits
The American Psychologist journal was added as a membership benefit to all APA teacher affiliates in 2011. PT@CC is currently working on two new publications: A resource guide on distance learning and a manual for setting up a psychology lab at a community college.