Workplace Diversity Research Group

Industrial/Organizational Psychology



Graduate Courses: Survey of Industrial Psychology, Social Psychology, Personnel Selection, Professional Development, Seminar in Diversity, Practicum in Teaching Psychology

Undergraduate Courses: Psychology of Women, Intro to IO Psychology, Research Methods

Teaching Philosophy

Dr. King's primary goal in teaching and mentoring roles is to cultivate critical thinking based on empirical research. A secondary goal across classes is to evoke persistent learning and application of research outside the classroom walls. These goals are addressed through conveying enthusiasm and respect, utilizing active learning strategies, establishing an open discussion orientation, and by integrating projects that require the application of class content.


I go into every class with a genuine enthusiasm for the discipline of psychology that can be infectious as it is communicated to students. In addition to generating interest among students, this energetic positivity also allows me to command the attention of students and maintain a high level of student involvement in lecture, discussion, and activities.


Many of the courses that I teach involve sensitive subject matter. Indeed, students often enter these classes with deeply held beliefs and values that are central to their identities. Sometimes these values are in direct opposition to those of other students, or to my own ideologies. The strategy that I have adopted is to, in each and every case , convey respect for each student's opinion, experience, and values. I hold class members to the same standard; students learn that disrespect is not permitted in my classroom. I have also found that conveying respect is a critical component of my mentoring relationships.

In my work with graduate and undergraduate advisees in research activities, I commit to individual weekly meetings to indicate my respect for their time and development. I recently began offering monthly developmental meetings for graduate and undergraduate students on topics of their choice, which have included topics such as how to write an empirical article and how to get a 'dream job.' I am hopeful that by demonstrating my respect for the students' values and their professional development, they feel supported and inspired.

Active Learning

It is virtually impossible to maintain students' active involvement in the entire course of an hour lecture. I believe that teaching is at its best when it incorporates interactive activities, guest speakers, and multimedia presentations. I try to integrate each of these components into every class I teach. In my undergraduate teaching, I assign students to argue both sides of a controversial issue, develop interactive learning tasks, and utilize movies and music clips to maximize the degree to which students are engaged in learning.

For example, one issue that is difficult to convey through traditional lectures is the problematic nature of contemporary, subtle forms of sexism. I developed an interactive activity that helps students to recognize how such subtle behaviors can be destructive. In this activity, two student volunteers give impromptu speeches acting as "leaders," while the rest of the students in the class provide positive nonverbal feedback to the first leader and negative nonverbal feedback to the second leader. The reactions of the volunteers are discussed in the class as a whole in relation to empirical research that demonstrates both the emergence of such negative reactions to female leaders as well as the consequences for individuals who receive such negative feedback.

Discussion Orientation

I have never learned more than when I have taught. The process of preparing even one lecture is an incredible opportunity to remind myself of broad conceptual frameworks that link multiple areas of research, and to update my lectures with the most current research in the particular area. Beyond the knowledge gained in preparation for courses, I have found that students are among the best teachers. I believe that students can learn more effectively when they weigh their own unique beliefs and experiences with regard to every psychological issue.

I try to maximize mutual learning and teaching by creating an open atmosphere, and assign projects that allow students to express their individual and creative approaches to psychological issues. In my undergraduate teaching, assignments require students to present their perspectives. For example, students present examples of classroom topics from media sources such as magazines, popular music, and movies, allowing students to engage with each other and with the course material in a personally relevant way. In my graduate teaching, students are responsible for co-facilitating discussion. This ensures that students think critically about relevant questions and linkages between topics, and gives students the opportunity to hone presentation skills that are relevant to their careers.

Application of Principles

I strive to inspire learning beyond the scope of one class period or one semester. Certainly, teaching is best when students can identify and remember specific concepts or phenomena. Moreover, I believe that the best teachers are able to engender a love for learning that continues long after a class has ended. To achieve this goal, I begin each class by outlining the most important concepts covered. I also require students' attendance to the last day of class during which time I discuss and provide a handout of the "top ten" ideas to remember from the course. I have also created assignments that require students to apply the principles learned in the classroom to real-world psychological concerns.

In my Seminar on Diversity, students applied the issues of practice and research discussed in class to design (and, where possible, implement) an intervention for the reduction of prejudice/discrimination. One group of students designed a tri-fold brochure that highlighted strategies that individuals might use to confront their peers who express prejudice. Another group designed a lecture and workshop series to improve the cultural competence of professors at GMU. I am hopeful that the students in these classes better nderstand how research and theory might be translated into practice. In all of these ways, I hope to cultivate critical thinking based on empirical research and evoke persistent learning and application of research even after students leave my classroom.