Here’s a couple of ideas that I’ve been playing around with:
1. Over the past two semesters I’ve been working with undergraduate students with autism at the College of Staten Island through a program called Project REACH. The program is designed to assist and support students as they transition from a fully-supportive high school environment to a more independent and socially complex college environment. Through my Second Year Research Project I was able to identify specific areas in which students were struggling. Not surprisingly, many of these problem areas surround social interactions with peers and teachers using computer-mediated communication such as structuring emails towards varying audiences, navigating Blackboard, and setting up privacy settings on Facebook. I recently submitted a small grant proposal to assist with implementation of a 4-week series of summer transitional workshops to target incoming freshmen on the spectrum. The summer program would consist of 2 rounds of focus groups (1 in the beginning, 1 in the end for assessment and evaluation), 4 weeks of formal classroom-based instruction meeting twice a week, and on-going opportunities for students to practice the skillsets they are learning. Overall, this is my first choice for the project.
2. Another nagging problem that I’ve come across in my teaching career has been the lack of resources for novice psychology instructors, especially within the CUNY system. This year the Graduate Center was awarded the “host school” position for the Graduate Student Teaching Association. We’ll be serving as a major resource for graduate students as they begin their teaching careers. Many of the CUNY campuses have support systems in place for graduate student instructors (CSI, GC, etc.), but students are unaware of these resources. I’d like to greatly improve the GSTA website by adding in extensive course content – teaching activities, articles on teaching, sample syllabi, instructions for developing teaching philosophies, etc. This site could be a resource for CUNY instructors, in addition to the surrounding world outside of CUNY.