UR psychology professor awarded grant to develop teaching techniques to increase student diversity in clinical psychology

February 13, 2018

University of Richmond associate professor of psychology Laura Knouse has received a grant from the Associated Colleges of the South for a project that will develop teaching techniques to increase student diversity in clinical psychology.

Students who experience less anxiety and better performance in statistics and methodology courses may be more likely to pursue higher levels of education in the field of clinical psychology. High quality instruction in these key quantitative skills may increase the likelihood that students, including those from underrepresented groups, will seek and succeed in graduate training in clinical psychology.

Knouse’s project focuses on developing blended learning tools and active learning strategies to more effectively teach clinical courses that focus on quantitative skills. The goal is to reduce students’ anxiety, enhance their skills, and increase their self-efficacy in these courses, particularly among students from underrepresented groups.

“Our proposed approach addresses not just the cognitive aspects of learning, but the crucial role of the expectations, emotions and beliefs that students bring to the classroom,” Knouse said. “Making a positive impact on students’ beliefs about their own capabilities, as they see those capabilities grow throughout the semester, is not just a nice thing that helps people feel good. We think it’s essential to effectively teaching all students who enter our classrooms—not just those who arrive already confident in their abilities.”

Knouse will work with colleagues from Davidson College and Trinity University throughout the next year.

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This project “Blended Inclusion: Innovative Pedagogy in Clinical Psychology Research Methods and Statistics for Diverse Students,” is supported by the Associated Colleges of the South. ACS is compromised of 16 nationally recognized colleges and universities, is a collaborative initiative to provide a high quality, affordable liberal arts education. The organization awards grants to staff and faculty of member organizations that fit into themes of innovative instruction, collaborative curriculum and diversity.