LU News Archive

Faculty Development Seminar planned at Lamar University

Diane Halpern, the Trustee Professor of Psychology and the founding director of the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children at Claremont McKenna College, will present two interactive sessions on Nov. 10-11 designed to help Lamar University faculty members improve their use of active learning instruction in their classrooms.

“Active learning methods force students to shed their roles as passive receptors and enable them to learn a new skill set that serves them for the rest of their lives,” said Todd Pourciau, director of the Lamar University Center for Teaching+Learning Enhancement and the Quality Enhancement Plan. The center is sponsoring Halpern’s visit, which is open to the entire LU community but will be most helpful to faculty, Pourciau said.

Halpern will speak on “Teaching and Assessing Critical Thinking: Helping College Students Become Better Thinkers” from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Nov. 10 in room 210 (second floor) of the Setzer Student Center.

“The data are clear: we can teach critical thinking skills so they generalize across domains and last long into the future,” Halpern said. “We will discuss ways to enhance and assess critical thinking for college students.” As the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s new assessment criteria come into effect, this session is not only critical but timely.

Halpern will also speak on “How to Make Learning ‘Stick’: Applications from the Science of Learning” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Nov. 11 in room 242 (second floor) of the Mamie McFaddin Ward Building. This session will focus on "the science of learning" and give instructors the opportunity to apply findings to their work with students and colleagues in an effort to build effective learning-centered institutions. The key challenge is to help students create durable and integrated knowledge and skills. As research on the brain and learning continues to grow, this session provides a primer to those interested in exploring this area of cognitive science.

Halpern is a past-president of the American Psychological Association, the Western Psychological Association, the Society for General Psychology and the Society for the Teaching of Psychology. She has published hundreds of articles and many books including, “Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking” (5th Ed. coming soon) and “Psychological Science” (3rd ed. with Michael Gazzaniga and Todd Heatherton).

Halpern has won many awards for her teaching and research, including the Outstanding Professor Award from the Western Psychological Association, the American Psychological Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, the Distinguished Career Award for Contributions to Education given by the American Psychological Association, the California State University’s Statewide Outstanding Professor Award, the Outstanding Alumna Award from the University of Cincinnati, the Silver Medal Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Wang Family Excellence Award and the G. Stanley Hall Lecture Award from the American Psychological Association.

Her most recent projects are the development of a computerized game that teaches critical thinking and scientific reasoning (with Keith Millis at Northern Illinois University and Art Graesser at University of Memphis) and the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment (Schuhfried Publishers) that uses multiple response formats, which allow test takers to demonstrate their ability to think about everyday topics using both constructed response and recognition formats.

The LU Center for Teaching+Learning Enhancement provides a variety of faculty development services to assist the LU teaching community in fostering a culture of high-quality teaching and learning. For more information on all CT+LE initiatives, visit