"While I remain positive about the value of well-developed and thoughtfully used tests, there certainly are bad tests, and there are good tests used badly. However, the many criticisms of major testing programs are unfounded."
Paul Sackett, PhD, of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, on high-stakes testing in higher education.
"I learned long ago that the one question you don't ask graduating seniors is 'What are you going to do when you graduate?' And the reason you don't ask that question is that they don't know the answer. The people I teach are interested in many things and they are talented in many things, and we allow them and encourage them to cultivate all of these interests and talents. And then graduation comes: The time has come to pull the trigger. And what plagues these students is the sense that there is one right thing to do with the rest of their lives and once they decide what that is, all kinds of doors are going to close, so dammit they better get this decision right."
Barry Schwartz, PhD, of Swarthmore College, on how the increased number of choices in modern America--from varieties of blue jeans to job options--makes it more difficult for people to be happy with the decisions they make.
"I think it's incumbent on those of us who do research to always ask ourselves, 'Is this research so valuable that I would put a fellow citizen in jail if they chose not to fund it?' That's a pretty high standard, but that's the standard in my judgment. Because that's how you are getting your money. And the numbers of research psychogists who actually ask themselves that question in that fashion, I think is very, very small."
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird, PhD, (D-Wash.), on the need for psychologists to make their research relevant to society' s most critical concerns.
"Many people want to be an author, but they don't want to write the book."
Linda Sapadin, PhD, author and independent practitioner in Valley Stream, N.Y., on getting your book published and promoted in the popular press.
"Being angry with a client in and of itself is something many therapists go to great lengths to deny. Clinicians often see therapist anger and hatred as a sign of emotional and even moral weakness....Although I do not dispute the literature on the likelihood of a negative outcome when the therapist's attitude toward the client is predominantly negative, I believe we have given short shrift to the benefit of acknowledging anger and hatred in countertransference when a stable, positive attachment between therapist and patient exists."
Karen Maroda, PhD, an independent practitioner in Milwaukee, on handling dislike of and conflicts with clients.
"You want a functioning gas gauge--you don't want a gas gauge stuck on full."
Edward Diener, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on how always-happy people may be at a disadvantage when learning from their emotions.
"Pursue some new avenue before you make your decision regarding retirement. Recapture some of the childlike ways of learning, thinking and being that we tend to lose as we get older. Be curious. Gather information. Keep your eyes and ears open to interesting opportunities around you. Take chances. Make mistakes. Proceed with trial and error....It's important to make a retirement decision that will benefit you rather than someone else's expectation. This is a time of great freedom. Take advantage of it, and enjoy it."
Dorothy Cantor, PsyD, former APA president and an independent practitioner in Westfield, N.J., on the professional lifecycle of a practitioner.
"The pathways to excellence in teaching are as unique and as diverse as the people who travel them....Of all of the literature [on excellent teaching], we find only one universally common theme regarding what constitutes the heart and soul of effective teaching, and that is passion. Passion for our subject matter, for our students and for teaching itself is the fuel that propels us along the individual pathways to excellence in teaching."
William Buskist, PhD, of Auburn University, on what defines teaching excellence in his 2005 Harry Kirke Wolfe Lecture.
"This [fight against obesity] is a place where courage is needed. Everyone in this room can make a difference....If you get discouraged, remember this quote from Gandhi: 'First, they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.'"
Kelly Brownell, PhD, of Yale University, during a session on changing the nation's diet.
"A professor's most powerful message about the course is delivered through the tests that they give."
Chris Spatz, PhD, of Hendrix College, during a session on teaching statistics courses, explaining that exams tell students whether they need to come to class, how closely to read the textbook and how much they need to study.
"Put yourself back into the equation. A lot of times as helping professionals we think about client needs....We think about, 'What are different things I can do for my clients? How can I be better as a therapist?' and don't spend as much time on 'What do I need? What are my financial goals? What are my personal goals? What are my family goals?'...You don't have to give up yourself."
Tammy Martin-Causey, PhD, on building a "dream practice" from the ground up.
"With chimpanzees, if the juveniles are fighting, soon their mothers are fighting. I hear that in [human] day-care centers that is not unusual too."
Frans de Waal, PhD, a psychology professor at Emory University and director of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, on behavioral similarities between humans and apes.
"As far as data sets, this is as sexy as it gets."
Sumie Okazaki, PhD, of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in talking about the large sample size and findings from the National Latino Asian American Study, which looked at vulnerability to public health problems.