Fall 2020

Faculty Featurette
Joan Bihun

This month we had the privilege of interviewing Joan Bihun who is an Associate Professor CTT in the Department of Psychology
You have a background in psychology, what drew you into teaching statistics and human development?
I have been interested in human development as soon as I took my first introductory to psychology course! The idea that “we all are the way we are because we got that way” (Madeleine L’engle quote) and that we all have a developmental story that informs our lives’ directions, our adulthood self, our relationships, etc.
My love for statistics comes from doing research as an undergrad and graduate student, then a postdoc. I’ve always been excited to collect data, see the patterns that emerge, see what types of theories are reinforced and how others need adjusting. Science is always evolving, so it is so important to stay current on what the data are telling us. I also think teaching scientific thinking is paramount for young adults to become critical thinkers and informed citizens. More basically, I enjoy teaching statistics because learning how to do statistical analyses and what they tell us is like learning a language—I feel multilingual because I understand statistics too!
You have recently become more involved with UCDALI as a member of UCDAL’s executive committee. What challenges and opportunities do these new responsibilities entail?
UCDALI has been a been a terrific venue to become more connected with my IRC (Instruction, Research, Clinical) colleagues from around the campus. So often IRC faculty feel “peripheral,” or “temporary” and don’t feel as invested in relationships with both students and colleagues. UCDALI has allowed me to make and enrich those relationships and know I’m not alone in challenges I face as an instructional faculty member. I have also learned much more about the resources ALL faculty have available to them and interact more with offices that are on campus to help our students has been invaluable. Me being more connected means I’m more informed, which means I can be a bigger help to directing students who are struggling find the resources they need.
One challenge is just the workload involved of being a teacher of growing class sizes, adjusting my teaching to be effective remotely (like everyone else!) and to being more aware of seeing what happens “behind the curtain” in terms of administrative policies on campus. It’s hard to “not know” things we’ve learned along the way about how the machinery works.
What is your affiliation with ThinqStudio? How do you vision the connection between UCDALI and ThinqStudio?
I was a ThinqStudio explorer and a participant before and since that. ThinqStudio was the first place I really felt I found “my people”—those who love teaching and really get jazzed about “thinking outside of the box.” I’ve not been as involved recently as I have been getting involved with facilitating the new ACUE (Association of College and University Educators) course we offer on campus for teaching excellence but there’s an “embarrassment of riches” in terms of all the wonderful groups teaching faculty get be a part of and learning from!
Had you ever taught online classes before the pandemic? If yes, what added challenges do you feel under the current situations?

I did teach online before the pandemic, and since been teaching “remotely” exclusively. So, I still teach “live” so I can have that face-to-face interaction with students (well, Zoom box-to-Zoom box) and I find that’s a bigger challenge than even online formats. I took the OSM (Online Skills Mastery) course and had a lot of great guidance from colleagues about how to put together an effective online course. But this remote teaching---a little trickier I’m finding. It’s not the same as in-person, but not the same as an OL format either. So, the biggest challenge is finding ways to keep students engaged and checking their understanding without being able to see their faces but still needing to do that “in the moment” of live instruction. I’m using Poll Everywhere and Zoom polls during class a whole lot! I also make a point to use FlipGrid for introductions/student input outside of our live classes and just to allow students to see/meet/HEAR their fellow students as they would in the classroom.

With as many different and demanding roles in your life right now, what kind of time can you find for a break?  
I foster poodles! I just got my most recent one (a 4-month-old standard poodle named Fremont) from Freedom Service Dogs who will live with us for the next year. The dogs are always a great opportunity for “comic relief” and a different kind of task to give my attention to in a positive way. We’ve had over 20 fosters over the years and I just love that helping socialize and “puppy raise” them will help someone in the future have a great service, comfort or just family member in the future! As a developmental psychologist, there is a LOT of overlap in the experiences of raising dogs with raising families—attachment security, reassurance, authoritative parenting, being flexible, etc. Ironically, it wasn’t until my own 3 children were older that I felt confident enough to start fostering dogs

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
University of Colorado Denver UCDALI · 1380 lawrence street Campus Box 137 · Denver, CO 80204 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp