We at HPL/BaCN approached faculty in the Behavioral Science Department at Utah Valley University to see (1) what they’re working on and (2) what advice they have for undergraduates. Here is what we learned.
Q: What is your research focus?
AT: Interests include teaching and learning in higher education, risk evaluations for dangerous offenders, psychopathy, and the psychology of evil.
Q: What current research/creative projects are you working on?
AT: Current projects include student metacognition, power dynamics in the classroom, and student resistance to learning. In addition, there are versions of those projects that are investigating faculty perceptions, as well.
Q: What are your goals with these projects?
AT: To help students improve their learning, to create a more effective learning environment, and promote integrative thinking in college courses.
Q: What other research interests do you have?
AT: Although I’m currently working on teaching and learning in higher education, I’m also interested in forensic psychology, abnormal psychology, and the psychology of evil. These areas are those that I have researched, but haven’t recently.
Q: What opportunities are available to UVU students who would like to get involved in research?
AT: Opportunities to work with me are limited, at the moment. I am willing to talk with motivated and self-directed students to see if we can figure something out. Once I finish my book on student resistance and the paper on the psychometrics of meta-cognition, I’ll have more time to individually mentor students.
Q: Currently, or in the near future, are you available to facilitate research opportunities with students?
AT: I can meet for discussions now for helping students prepare and get up to speed for later projects. Most likely, I’ll have more availability in January 2016.
Q: What advice do you have for undergraduate students?
AT: Get involved in research early! Do not put off your research methods or statistics courses–get them done as sophomores. Use your own initiative to develop projects that fit with or support the work of others. Seriously consider graduate schools that are not just in Orem, Provo, or SLC. Develop a project that you are personally interested in.
Many thanks to Dr. Tolman for his time to contribute to our research and creative activity highlights!