For further evidence of teaching effectiveness beyond the following numerical ratings and student comments, please review my Teaching Innovations.
Introduction to Psychology: Development and Social Behavior; Spring 2019
Institutional Evaluation, all instructor elements: 4.3/5
Institutional Evaluation, all course elements: 3.9/5
Selected Student Comments:
- Any of the team activities really did not help on my learning
- I really did not understand the team section of this course. We did not do enough teamwork for it to be beneficial. It is unfair then to have part of our grade be group evaluated when we hardly did group work and can barely remember who is in our groups.
The response rate for this semester’s instructor evaluation was extremely low, even given that completion rates are not normally that high. The main concern students seem to have is that the value of the team activities was not apparent. This is a completely valid concern for this semester. I have been experiencing emotional (and logistical) issues stemming from my father’s death last semester, and I have to admit that my course preparation has suffered as a result. Because I did not spend as many resources on the team learning aspect of the course, it was not utilized to its full potential. This is unfortunate, as feedback from last semester suggested that students found the group work to be extremely helpful in learning course material. As I reprioritize moving forward, I will be sure not to let this critical component of my course design fall behind again. While it does not appear in the feedback, students did appear to enjoy to addition of Zoom office hours, in addition to the study sessions from last year.
Introduction to Psychology: Development and Social Behavior; Fall 2018
Institutional Evaluation, all instructor elements: 4.7/5
Institutional Evaluation, all course elements: 4.3/5
Selected Student Comments:
- The group activities were especially effective.
- The tweets were not necessary.
- The professor was amazing; when teaching, you could see the effort and time she put in each lesson. She also made the material easy to understand and was always there to help any student in need. She had a huge family emergency but kept her bright smile, and positivity when teaching class.
- …Zoom sessions so that students who missed out of class review sessions, like student athletes, could benefit from what other students did. She is the only professor I had that understood the challenges of being a student athlete.
Having an introductory sequence conducted over two semesters significantly cut down on the amount of material needed to be covered in this section and, therefore, increased the quality I was able to offer. There are still areas where I can cut lecture of strict content and add more in class activities for active learning. Students did not all appreciate the @DearDoctorH Twitter reading reactions. However, I noticed an increased amount and improved quality of discussion on days when these submissions were due. While anecdotal, this trend inspires me to carry over the assignment for another semester. Students did highly approve of adding virtual study session via Zoom web conferencing. I had not previously realized a) how many student athletes matriculate at Agnes or b) how difficult student athlete schedules make attending any non-course meetings, including study sessions or office hours. Considering student athletes are just one specialized group that may be present in the classroom, I will experiment with adding a virtual office hours option, in addition to study sessions, next semester.
Social Psychology; Spring 2017
IDEA Summary Rating: 4.6/5
Selected Student Comments:
- She was very helpful and did a great job at teaching this subject in a way that made it easier to understand.
- I really liked that she gave us TedTalk videos to write a review or a reflection on it. I wish that we could have had more of those because I learned a lot from those videos and gained a lot of different perspectives that I didn’t think about before.
- Visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute was probably one of the biggest eye-opening places I have been so far in my life.
- She is very knowledgeable and approachable. Maybe do some more in class activities versus all lecture.
- At times some of the work began to feel like busy work.
- Dr. Henry is very great and very committed.
Students seem split on whether or not they liked the online Mindtap component of this course. Many enjoyed it, but several thought the workload was excessive and strayed into “busy work”. It might be a good idea to look at the assignments in each chapter and see if they are all equally as pertinent to the learning goals. If not, some may not need to be assigned. The point students make about wishing there were more activities and less lecture is completely valid. That was my hope for the course as well and will definitely be my priority next time I teach it. It is gratifying to hear that students found the trip to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to be a powerful companion to our unit on prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination. I would judge this course addition to be successful.
Elementary Statistical Methods; Spring 2017
IDEA Summary Rating: 3.1/5
Selected Student Comments:
- The instructor always maintained a positive demeanor while teaching and continuously encouraged faculty/staff relations outside of class.
- She was very nice and it was obvious that she was really passionate about the course, but I wish we would have had more grade options than the tests and what we did in lab.
- Good instructor. I would have liked to see more example problems worked out.
- She was very welcoming and open to others. She encouraged her students to talk with her to discuss any problems.
- I am grateful for the practice exams she uploaded to Canvas, that were extremely helpful and I know other students would agree.
- She is really passionate about her work. But maybe she could add some actually (sic) required work outside of the quizzes because without having any required work I never really attended class and then I would flunk my exams.
As everyone promised me, teaching statistics is a difficult gig. Students have some fair points as fair as having more practice problems in class is concerned. Since this was my first time teaching the course, I kept the format largely as it has been in the past. This is something I know better than to do. In the future, I would provide more options for grades than just exams and lab, I would have closer correspondence between class discussions and exams, and I would involve a lot more practice problems. However, I will maintain my policy of providing practice problems for “homework” and reviewing them in class during the next meeting without assigning a grade. If is part of my teaching philosophy that my courses should be structured to foster real-life skills, and students must learn their own time management and personal motivation at some point if they plan to be successful.
Lab for Introduction to Statistics; Fall 2013-2016
IDEA Summary Rating (averaged over 4 semesters): 3.9/5
Selected Student Comments:
- Meredith is a great instructor! She obviously really cares about the students and does well to make the class engaging.
- It’s hard to make statistics interesting, but I think you did a great job!
- The Make it Work exercises really helped me to understand SAS and how to code each command.
- Meredith is great! Perhaps making assignments more straightforward and less elongated would be helpful. Some assignments took hours when you could have explained that statistics, results, and interpretation in a concise paragraph.
- Great instructor; horrible course. SAS is just not useful for my academic/career endeavors.
- Go more slowly, especially at the beginning of the course. Grading was sometimes overly picky.
- Change the course time. Fridays at 9 am is terrible.
Most of the complaints students have about this course relates to the choice of statistical package used. That is not an aspect that I actually have control over and, fortunately, most students recognize that. It is gratifying that the changes I have made in an attempt to make the course more engaging (e.g., the Make it Work exercises) are being well received. The current assignments could perhaps benefit from an edit. However, I always keep in mind where my students are heading and what they will need to succeed next, not just in my class. As it happens, I know that the assignments for the next lab course are more detailed and lengthy themselves, so I want the students to be prepared. This is also part of the reason behind my “pickiness”. The other part is attempt to teach students real world skills. Students who are writing up statistical results for me today will be submitting manuscripts for publication tomorrow. Moreover, editors have very specific guidelines. Therefore, I encourage them to pay attention to the smallest details in following requested formats. My lecture pacing is something that I continue to work on. I tend to speak quickly when I get excited about things, and that includes all things Psychology, even Statistics. Finally, I wish these reviews were not anonymous, because I would love to thank the student who paid me the compliment of thinking I have the sort of power to choose my own class time.
Introduction to Psychology; Fall 2013-2017
IDEA rating (averaged over 3 semesters at UAB): 3.5/5
Post course evaluation (averaged over 3 semesters at Samford): 3.9/5
Selected student Comments:
- I have nothing but positive comments for Meredith Henry. I think she is professional, well-spoken, incredibly knowledgeable, and passionate about his course of study. I have never taken a course so well planned and developed from the ground up to leave a student with more information than this one. I am very pleased with the format and results of this course. I would highly recommend this professor and course.
- Re: the Mythbsuters video project:
- Great project! It’s original, makes you think and challenges you in a different manner than a standard paper would. It also challenges you to learn to work well with others.
- I did not enjoy this project because it was very herd (sic) to get in contact with my group members in order to get work done.
- The Mythbuster project should of (sic) had a rubric, that way their (sic) is no confusion.
- Personally, I prefer doing things such as a paper or powerpoint solely because it was really hard to get all of the group to meet at once. If it had been a paper or a powerpoint, we may have been able to do that through google docs/slides.
- Maybe with the group projects, you could schedule a one on one with groups during the project to assure that everything is coming along and make sure everyone is on the same page and understanding.
- Incorporate more class activities
- Not so many chapters should be covered in a test
- Be more organized and don’t give one deadline for multiple assignments.
- I think Meredith is AHH-MAZING! So, my only suggestion to her is to keep being awesome and keep inspiring students with her passion and knowledge.
- Send out some of her notes with her power points, they were so bare-bone most of the time it was really hard to tell what I needed to know for the test when I would look back
- I believe Professor Henry did a really good job on teaching this large body of students and did an especially well job of expanding the hands on projects that helped students, like myself, who aren’t just auditory learners.
Every subsequent semester that I teach Psych 101, I succeed a little more at incorporating more active learning and in-class activities, as opposed to relying on lecture. However, there is always room to improve. Part of that active learning is to limit students’ access to excessive PowerPoint materials. This encourages them to rediscover the art of notetaking. As some of these comments show, they may not enjoy this aspect of the course, but that does nothing to lessen the pedagogical soundness of that decision. The final project in this course has evolved the most over the years, and I am glad to see that the overall impression of the Mythbusters video project seems to be positive. Since last semester was the first time I assigned it, I was not quite sure what I was looking for to provide students with a detailed rubric. I can see how that would make completing the project more difficult, and I will be sure to rectify this in the future. I am certainly sympathetic to the challenges of arranging group meetings. However, group assignments take place on the first day of class, and I make frequent reminders for students to contact their groups, in addition to provided chances in class at the beginning of the semester to spend a few minutes exchanging contact information. I feel this gives students ample time to make arrangements. In addition, with the exception of a few elements of the project, other components can be completed via google docs, etc. Dealing with these types of group dynamics, then, is yet another instance of my real-world skills instruction. Students will have to accommodate the schedules of many others as they move forward with research projects and employment. Related to that, setting multiple assignments to be due the day of an exam is not a question of organization. It is my way of prompting students to learn time management.