Academia has a very strong focus on research.  The pressure is on to conduct great research, disseminate the results in the highest impact journals, and secure large amounts of competitive funding to support your research.  To some, this translates to a lesser focus on delivering a quality educational experience for the students (granted, this attitude differs greatly between academics and across institutions).  And yet the irony is that student fees pay a considerable portion of any university’s operating budget…..

My personal philosophy is that teaching is equally as important as research.  Consider my current role, where I am educating psychologists and counsellors who will go out in the workforce and engage with people who are at times in a very vulnerable situation. A parent who is trying to understand their child’s learning difficulty; a police officer struggling with the effects of repeated trauma; a patient in the later stage of a terminal illness.  My duty of care as an educator extends to all of these people, most of whom I will never know personally.  I was privileged to have this attitude modeled to me by a number of superb educators during my training, and therefore I am committed to supporting my students with as much passion as I have for my research.

What do I teach?

Here is a list of the units that I currently teach:

  • EDF5722 Cognitive, personality and educational assessment
  • EDF5514 Psychopathology and psychological assessment

I also have smaller roles in:

  • EDF5720 Developmental psychology and counselling and research
  • EDF5721 Clinical interventions in educational and developmental psychology

Finally, I supervise minor research projects in the Graduate Diploma of Professional Psychology and Master of Educational and Developmental Psychology programs.  Minor thesis supervision is considered a teaching role (about research) and the units are:

  • EDF4604 Research project
  • EDF5741 Psychology thesis part 1
  • EDF5742 Psychology thesis part 2

Teaching effectiveness

Commitment and passion is fantastic, but am I actually delivering quality education?  Below is a aggregate summary of my Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) feedback for the last three years.

SETU question Mean score
(1-5 scale)
Shane’s explanations helped my understanding 4.66
Shane inspired me to learn more 4.53
Shane encouraged me to participate 4.49
Overall, I would rate Shane’s teaching as 4.57
Well prepared 4.60
Enthusiastic in the way he presented the unit 4.72
Clear in his explanations 4.68
Provided useful feedback to students 4.43
Provided opportunities for interaction 4.82

The impact of teaching psychological assessment

I was reflecting recently on the impact of practice with a supervisee, which caused me to wonder about my own impact.  To date, I believe I have taught more than 320 psychologists about complex differential assessment.  Assuming that each psychologist provides services to 20 people per week, for an average of 10 sessions per year, that equals about 33000 people per year being supported by the psychologists that I helped to train!