Author Archives: cfrederick

APS Convention, 2014!

Student and Faculty researchers in SNC’s psychology program submitted and were accepted to present two research projects at the Association for Psychological Science (APS) Convention (!  This is an honor and a journey we are all excited to be on!

The titles, abstracts, and supporting summaries for each accepted project are included below.   The Active Learning research will be presented as part of a special Teaching Institute at the APS Convention.


Title: Active Learning in Practice: Alignment and Misalignment of Faculty and Undergraduate Perspectives

Authors: Christina M. Frederick, Kallie B. Day, Constance A. Barnes, Robert D. King, Carly S. Courtney, and Briana T. Crespo

Abstract: This study redefined and empirically scrutinized active learning pedagogy.  40 faculty and 75 undergraduates completed institutionally-tailored surveys regarding active learning; comparative analyses were applied.  Survey data indicated general alignment between undergraduates and faculty in perception with notable exceptions in practice.  Considering exceptions, strategic modification to college practice is developed.

Supporting Summary: Active learning methods are variegated among the pedagogy literature, ranging across educational contexts from childhood through higher education and extending back to the origins of pedagogic theory.  Despite differences, students learn to actively construct knowledge in their educational experiences through heightened participation and self-reflection (Bonwell & Eison, 1991; Prince, 2004).  We operationalized active learning as self-caused learning, a definition we employed axiomatically.  This allowed us to show how active learning methods require students to engage in activities that explicitly demand their increased participation in the learning process.  Next, we viewed active learning from the perspective of both college undergraduates and faculty.  75 undergraduates, across class standing and major, completed the Student Active Learning Survey (SALS) which inquired into their understanding of, experience with, and perception of outcomes produced via active learning.  40 faculty, ranging in teaching experience from 1 to over 15 years, completed the Faculty Active Learning Survey (FALS) measuring their understanding of active learning, familiarity and use of specific techniques, and concerns about incorporating them in the classroom.  Data were sorted and analyzed by group membership.  SALS and FALS data revealed notable alignment between undergraduate (97.3%) and faculty (100%) views on the importance of incorporating active learning techniques in the classroom.  Undergraduate (93.3%) and faculty (97.5%) responses also aligned indicating their value of active learning techniques.  Undergraduates and faculty did, however, express various concerns.  Primary student concerns included 1) the capability of faculty to effectively use active learning techniques to convey important content and 2) the overuse of particular techniques (e.g., student presentations).  Primary faculty concerns included overuse of particular techniques, but also the potential cost of losing content traditionally provided via lecture and the need for financial support to facilitate development of effective techniques. SALS and FALS indicated misalignments as well.  For instance, where faculty (100%) indicated the benefits of active learning outweighed the costs, students (36%) were not convinced.  The SALS and FALS also offered opportunities for institutional assessment. For instance, we assessed active learning techniques currently used or experienced, undergraduate willingness to prepare outside of the classroom to balance content exposure with deeper learning, and the importance of faculty discussing the purpose of new techniques with their students prior to implementation.  Ultimately, SALS and FALS data were used to forecast new institutional directives regarding active learning techniques that align perspectives across faculty and undergraduates.  Based on the results of the current study, we began a series of development workshops to promote effective use of active learning techniques and expose faculty to a greater variety of techniques.  Taking faculty feedback into account, we refined our axiomatic definition of active learning and also considered what it means to be an active learner.  Our conclusions contribute to literature on active learning pedagogy in terms of alignment between faculty and student perceptions about its uses, aims, and purposes.  Future studies will investigate the relative effectiveness of various active learning techniques for maintaining engagement and promoting student outcomes.


Title: Cosmetics Use Among Teachers is Irrelevant When Considering Student Retention

Authors: Margaret K. Burns and Christina M. Frederick

Abstract: Cosmetics positively influence confidence (Stuart & Donaghue, 2011).  60 undergraduates viewed a lesson taught by a teacher in full or no cosmetics and, then, completed a teacher confidence assessment and content quiz.  Results show no significant difference in confidence (p = .22) or quiz (p = .58) scores across conditions.

Supporting Summary: Research evidence shows cosmetics positively impact female teacher confidence (Stuart & Donaghue, 2011).  Female teachers who wear cosmetics indicate they feel more productive, knowledgeable, and confident than their counterparts who do not wear cosmetics (Dellinger & Williams, 1997).  Confidence has also been shown to increase teaching effectiveness (Sadler, 2013).  The purpose of the current study was three-fold, (1) assessment of whether female teachers appear more confident to students when wearing cosmetics, (2) analysis of whether students retain more information when provided by a teacher who appears more confident because she is wearing cosmetics, and (3) examination of a potential correlation between teacher confidence produced by wearing cosmetics and student retention.  These questions were experimentally assessed with 60 participants (39 females and 21 males) who were randomly assigned to view an 8 min, pre-recorded and projected, lesson on facial anatomy led by a teacher in full cosmetics or no cosmetics.  The topic of facial anatomy was strategically chosen for the lesson to draw attention to the teacher’s face and allow the teacher liberal use of facial gesturing.  On conclusion of the facial anatomy lesson, participants completed a teacher confidence assessment on a 5-point Likert scale and 10-item multiple choice quiz on lesson content.  Data were sorted by condition, summarized, and submitted to an Anderson-Darling test (Ryan & Joiner, 2001) to determine properties of the sample.  As the Anderson-Darling test indicated the data did not source from a normal distribution, the non-parametric alternative to the two sample t-test, the Mann-Whitney U (Ryan & Joiner, 2001), was used to test for differences in confidence ratings and content quiz scores.  Results show no significant difference in confidence ratings (p = .22) or quiz scores (p = .58) between cosmetics conditions.  A Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated between confidence ratings and student retention in the cosmetics condition (r = -.166) and confidence ratings and student retention in the no cosmetics condition (r = .107). No significant correlations were found.  These results address the three-fold purpose of the current study: (1) no significant difference was found in teacher confidence ratings across conditions indicating student perception of female teacher confidence is not impacted by the presence of cosmetics, (2) no significant difference was found in retention of lesson content delivered by a teacher wearing cosmetics or not wearing cosmetics (confidence not considered given previous finding), and (3) there was no significant correlation between a teacher wearing cosmetics and student retention.  As we did not show a significant difference in perceived confidence between the cosmetics and no cosmetics condition, this lack of a correlation is no surprise.  While previous research (Stuart & Donaghue, 2011) may suggest teachers who do not wear cosmetics should wear cosmetics to increase their confidence, the current study provides evidence there is no need for adjustment to cosmetic use rates.  The internal feeling of increased confidence produced by cosmetics is not perceived by external audiences and, thus, does not impact content retention in those external audiences.

Experimental Psychology, 2014!

A stellar group of Psychology majors is out and about around SNC to collect data for their independent research projects.

During fall 2013 as part of Research Methods, a Psychology major requirement, each student designed, proposed, and applied for IRB permission to conduct their study.  Now, this spring 2014, these studies are underway.

Join us at SNC’s 4th annual Psychology Research Fair on April 21, 2014 in TCES 139/141 to see the results of these studies and the amazing quality of work these students produce.

Left to Right: Kallie Day, Dana Hoffelt, Cindy Conover, Alex Edwards, Jennifer Balaban, Maggie Burns, Morgan Burke, Drew Hill, and Jamie Himes

Left to Right: Kallie Day, Dana Hoffelt, Cindy Conover, Alex Edwards, Jennifer Balaban, Maggie Burns, Morgan Burke, Drew Hill, and Jamie Himes

SNC Students and Faculty Publish Research on Internships

Margaret K. Burns, Jaime K. Aitkenhead, Christina M. Frederick, and Shannon Huddy have published their research study called, “Undergraduate internship expectations: Strategic encouragement of student involvement” in an international journal called Student Pulse.

Here is the abstract from this study:

Undergraduates value internships because they ease the transition from classroom to career.  Internships supply students with work experience, networking potential, and opportunities to apply classroom content to career-oriented professions (D’Abate, Youndt, & Wenzel, 2009).  Participation in an effective internship program benefits the student, internship host, and community by professionally preparing students through mentored relationships.  The current study examines undergraduate internship expectations with the goal of using our findings to encourage internship involvement.  The Undergraduate Internship Expectations (UIE) survey was developed to collect self-report data via: (1) written response to the UIE survey from 100 undergraduates, and (2) focus groups during which 19 undergraduates discussed and elaborated on UIE survey questions.  UIE survey results show 50% of respondents thought, previous to college, an internship would be part of their undergraduate career.  After starting college, 63.3% of respondents indicated they had considered an internship, but not initiated the process.  Surprisingly though, only 19.4% of respondents were currently participating in, or had already completed, an internship.  Potential reasons for the disparity between interested students and internship involvement should be evaluated and solutions incorporated into internship programs.  Focus group elaboration on UIE survey questions revealed student access and clarity of process were factors related to this disparity.  UIE survey and focus group results indicate increased undergraduate internship participation would result from development of an internship program tailored to their expectations of benefits (e.g., skill development, workforce preparation, etc.) and priorities (e.g., relation to major, networking, etc.).

Left to right: Christina Frederick, Maggie Burns, Jaime Aitkenhead, & Shannon Huddy

Left to right: Christina Frederick, Maggie Burns, Jaime Aitkenhead, & Shannon Huddy

Research Methods 2013

Rolling into Experimental


This semester’s Research Methods class promises to up the ante for future classes.  We have 12 research projects in the making, some of which have serious potential for publication.  These students have been working hard around the clock! They are starting to compile their research papers, applying for IRB approval for their projects, and preparing their materials in preparation for data collection during Spring 2014.

Starting the first few weeks of the new year, our Experimental students will be running their studies and collecting data. Stay tuned for more updates and how you can assist these researchers in the making!

A Publication for SNC’s Psychology and Business Department

Presenting at UNR
Just wanted to take a moment to congratulate the efforts of a wonderful team of researchers, Maggie Burns, Jaime Aitkenhead, Shannon Wardlow Huddy, and myself on successful publication of our study called “Undergraduate Internship Expectations: Strategic encouragement of Student Involvement” in Student Pulse.  Our article is currently featured on their welcome page.
I am proud to have worked with each one of you and ecstatic about this accomplishment.
Check it out:

SNC Wednesday Reading

Wednesday Reading

On November 13, 2013, SNC held its final Wednesday Reading for the semester.  Our very own Christina Frederick, Ph.D., was given the opportunity to speak to the SNC and Incline community about active learning.  Christina and her students (Kallie Day, Constance Barnes, Carly Courtney, and Briana Crespo) informed the audience about active learning using hands-on methods. We had a great turn out with students, faculty, and community members alike!

Check out the images below to see what was going on!

wed 4 wed 3 wed 2 wed 1


Christina Frederick, Ph.D.

Today is Prim Library’s 2nd Wednesday Reading!  From 4 pm to 5 pm, Christina M. Frederick, Ph.D., will be discussing active learning with some of her students.

Be sure to show up and participate in some of the fun and gain some insightful information from the world of Active Learning!


SNC Research Fair

Hello All!

The Psychology Research Fair was formed to provide an opportunity for students in Research Methods and Experimental Psychology to showcase their independent research projects has become so much more.  Students, staff, and faculty see this as a celebration of hard work and dedication and are proud to have this day to formally see the outcome of research they may be invested in as participants, supporters, and/or advisors.

Beyond this, conference participants now come from beyond the classroom.  As SNC now encourages independent research beyond course requirement, our event now provides inclusion of independent psychological research conducted outside the confines of any class and conducted with faculty sponsors.

This year and for years to come, it is my hope this event will provide an exciting forum for the sharing of research results, enthusiasm, and interdepartmental engagement.

If you did not get a chance to visit last years Psychology Research Fair or you were unable to visit all of the researchers please take a look at the 3rd annual volume 1 proceedings of the Sierra Nevada College Psychology Research Fair located in Prim Library!

Publications from the Psychology Program!

Hello All,

I am excited to share SNC psychology student published work!  Publishing is hard work and this process requires dedication.  Here, we celebrate achievement!!!

blog pic

Troy Mott and Karen Duran conquered the challenge of publication with independent research projects designed and implemented as part of their Bachelor’s program in psychology.

Karen Duran’s paper Information Comprehension: Handwritten vs. Typed Notes can be found in the International Journal of Human Sciences.  Abstract: Ever advancing trends in technology, and implemented in educational settings, inspired the current study, which examined the impact, on comprehension, of note-taking method. 72 undergraduate participants, aged 18-26, viewed a projected documentary in a classroom setting and took notes for a later assessment via either paper or computer keyboard. The Mann-Whitney U (Ryan & Joiner, 2001) showed a significant difference between the test scores produced via typed notes and written notes (p = .006).
Experimental and survey results converge and dictate that the best and preferred practice for student note taking is writing.

Read the full article by clicking this link: Duran, K. & Frederick, C. 2013 Handwritten vs. typed notes

Troy Mott’s paper The Relation Between Text Medium and Critical Reading Scores can be found in the International Journal of Human Sciences.  Abstract: Post-secondary educational institutions have incorporated tablets in the educational curriculum (Woodford, 2001).  To investigate how reading medium impacts critical reading ability, I performed two studies.  In the first study,
participants read an SAT practice test passage (Mathur, 2012) from either paper or an iPad 2 tablet.  The identical passages were 949 words.  Once the reading was complete, participants responded to 12 critical reading assessment questions about the passage. 116 participants completed the critical reading assessment study.  A second study, a self-response survey, which
examined the reading preferences and demographics (gender and age) of 115 participants was also conducted.   A two-way ANOVA was used to analyze the results of the critical reading comprehension test.  No significant difference was found between critical reading comprehension scores between mediums and academic standing (p = .911).  The
self-response survey was assessed using a chi-square analysis. There was no significant difference in preference between upper and lower division undergraduates (p = .157).  Females showed a stronger preference for reading from paper than males (p = .045), and a significant
preference was found among the total sample population for reading from paper over other surveyed forms of media (p < 0.001).  The implications of this study are relevant to the future of education and sustainability efforts in the classroom.

Read the full article by clicking this link: Mott, T. & Frederick, C. 2013 Text medium and critical reading scores