General Information

39th Annual National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology

January 3–6, 2017 · The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort · St. Pete Beach, Florida

Cosponsored by: Association for Psychological Science · University of South Florida Department of Psychology


The National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology is an annual conference for teachers of psychology. The NITOP organizing committee (Robert Hendersen, Chair, Stephen Chew, Sandra Goss Lucas, Bridgette Martin Hard, and Beth Morling) invites distinguished psychology faculty for the program, based on nominations by past participants, expertise in topics related to teaching psychology, and demonstrated presentation skills. NITOP is an independent, nonprofit, educational organization.

Invited presentations include workshops, concurrent sessions, and general sessions on topics of interest to psychology teachers at all levels, from high school through university. To assist these teachers in improving their effectiveness and enhancing their students’ learning, the Institute program offers updated content and new instructional techniques and classroom activities.

NITOP encourages Institute participants to share their own research projects, course content ideas, and innovative classroom techniques and activities with Institute faculty and other teachers at poster sessions, participant idea exchanges, and informal discussions at meals and evening get-togethers. The program for the 39th Institute begins on the morning of Tuesday, January 3, with registration, a continental breakfast, and workshops. It ends on Friday, January 6, at 12:15 pm, following the closing session and the announcement of awards.

November 21, 2016: Registration for the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology in January 2017 has reached its full enrollment and is now closed.

New registrations will be accepted only to replace cancellations if they are received. Anyone who wishes to be placed on a waiting list pending the receipt of cancellations may send an email message to Joanne Fetzner ( requesting placement on this waiting list.

Institute Meals

Three breakfasts and two lunches will be buffet style. The breakfasts will include traditional items such as eggs, French toast, breakfast meats, etc., as well as lighter items such as fresh fruit, cereals, and yogurt. The lunches will include traditional salad fixings plus prepared salads, soups, and special entrées. The reception on Tuesday evening will include complimentary wine and beer, a wide selection of appetizers, salad and pasta bars, and desserts.

Laugh at Lunch:
NITOP participants are invited to submit narratives of the most amusing things that they have done or encountered over the year. These can include teaching bloopers, misinterpreted emails, autocorrect gaffes, creative student excuses, or any other happenstance that allows us to laugh at ourselves. The NITOP committee will review the submissions and select the most entertaining stories for presentation at “Laugh at Lunch” on Wednesday. The committee will also select the story it finds most amusing and award the submitter an item from the NITOP boutique of his or her choice. Submit your story here by November 15, 2016

Program Events

Four 90-minute, hands-on sessions offering techniques, strategies, and practical tips for dealing with teaching anxiety, addressing special needs of first-year students, infusing professional development into the psychology curriculum, and handling sensitive diversity discussions in class.
General Sessions:
Four lectures on topics of general interest to all psychology teachers, featuring talks by Robert J. Sternberg, Roberta Golinkoff, Toni Schmader, and David Daniel.
Concurrent Sessions:
Fourteen concurrent sessions, each including four different one-hour presentations by distinguished psychology faculty addressing a wide range of content areas and teaching strategies. See the full schedule here.
Poster Sessions:
Poster Sessions will showcase presentations by Institute participants on topics related to the teaching of psychology. The following NITOP poster awards will be announced at the closing session. The winners (the first author in the case of multiply-authored posters) will receive a certificate, a check for $250, and one complimentary registration for a future NITOP. The poster awards are judged by the NITOP Organizing Committee and the Institute Faculty. 2017 Poster Schedule
  • The Frank Costin Memorial Award for Excellence will be given for the poster that is judged to be the most outstanding in terms of contributing to excellence in teaching psychology.
  • The Doug Bernstein Award will be given for the poster judged to be the most humorous, creative, or original, or as making the strongest contribution to the teaching of introductory psychology
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award will be given for the poster judged to be the most outstanding in terms of (a) the importance of the research question addressed, (b) the soundness of the research methodology employed, (c) the use of appropriate qualitative and/or statistical analyses, and (d) the clarity with which the implications of the research findings for teaching and learning are expressed.
Participant Idea Exchange Sessions (PIEs):
PIEs will offer participants the opportunity to share teaching ideas in a roundtable format. Each of these sessions will include about 20 discussion topics, hosted by Institute participants whose proposals were approved in the review process. Hosts will lead informal, one-hour discussions of those topics at specifically designated round tables. Following a short presentation by the host, participants at the table will be invited to discuss their own ideas on that topic. Participants often move among tables and are free to switch to a different discussion at any time. Schedule of 2017 PIEs
Teaching Slam:
In the Teaching slam, a fast-paced, dynamic session, multiple speakers will share their best teaching tip, assessment idea, or class activity. You will get fresh ideas to use in your class right away! 2017 Teaching Slam Talks
Demo Demo:
In the Demo Demo, great instructors will microteach their favorite class demonstrations—original, ready-to-use demos and new twists on old favorites. Get a ready-to-use new class demonstration or experience an old favorite in a new way. 2017 Demo Demos
Dot Com Trivia Contest: New!
NITOP participants are encouraged to identify their teaching interests with colored dots on their conference badges. At the Thursday lunch, there will be a psychology trivia contest with questions targeted at groups who share the same colored dot on their badges. In this Dot Com (for “dot community”) event, the Dot Com teams will compete by showing off the inner recesses of their knowledge of psychology.
Book and Software Displays:
During the poster sessions and at other times throughout the Institute, exhibitors will be on hand to discuss their newest psychology textbooks and classroom tools. Participants are encouraged to explore the exhibits and discover fresh ways to use textbooks, technology, and instructional software to enhance their students’ learning.

Further Information

Please direct your questions to the Conference Coordinator, Joanne Fetzner, by phone at 813-973-6969 or by email at