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University of Connecticut Intergroup Relations Rob Foels, Ph.D.




Research Programs


Editor, Teaching Section, Psychology of Women Quarterly

Pedagogy Research

I have been incredibly fortunate to work with Dr. Thomas Tomcho, a leading researcher on the teaching of psychology. With his leadership on several projects, we have

  1. assessed pedagogical research and made suggestions for improvement
  2. synthesized a large body of psychology pedagogy research
  3. developed our own teaching innovations for use in the classroom

Assessing and Improving Pedagogical Research

The American Psychological Association has key objectives regarding what knowledge psychology students should have upon graduation. We have created a large database consisting of over 500 psychology pedagogy articles that report empirical studies on teaching activities, innovations, or interventions. We have used this database to assess how well these pedagogical studies meet APA goals for knowledge, as well as where there is room for statistical and methodological improvement in pedagogical research itself.

  • Tomcho, T. J., & Foels, R. (2009). The power of teaching activities: Statistical and methodological recommendations. Teaching of Psychology, 36, 96-101.
  • Tomcho, T. J., Rice, D., Foels, R., Folmsbee, L., Vladescu, J., Lissman, R., Matulewicz, Y., & Bopp, K. (2009). APA’s learning objectives for research methods and statistics in practice: A multimethod analysis. Teaching of Psychology, 36, 84-89.
  • Tomcho, T. J., & Foels, R. (2008). Assessing effective teaching of psychology: A meta-analytic integration of learning outcomes. Teaching of Psychology, 35, 278-288.

Synthesizing Pedagogical Research

Using our large database we have examined what types of teaching strategies exist in the literature on the teaching of psychology, and how well one of these strategies works for student learning.

  • Tomcho, T. J., & Foels, R. (2012). Meta-analysis of group learning activities: Empirically based teaching recommendations. Teaching of Psychology, 39, 159-169.
  • Tomcho, T. J., Foels, R., Rice, D., Johnson, J., Moses, T. P., Warner, D. Wetherbee, R., & Amalfi, T. (2008). A review of ToP teaching strategies: Links to students’ scientific inquiry skills development. Teaching of Psychology, 35, 147-159.

Developing Teaching Innovations

We have also developed our own teaching activities that are designed to improve student learning for specific knowledge areas.

  • Tomcho, T. J., Wolfe, W., & Foels, R. (2006). Teaching about psychological disorders: Using a group interviewing and diagnostic approach. Teaching of Psychology, 33, 184-188.
  • Tomcho, T. J., Foels, R. (2002). Teaching acculturation: Developing multiple "cultures" in the classroom and role-playing the acculturation process. Teaching of Psychology, 29, 226-229.