Teacher: First year teaching in pandemic

Psychology teacher reflects on freshman teaching at CSUSB Palm Desert Campus during pandemic

PALM DESERT. – Many people say that teaching is a difficult job. Pablo Gomez can attest to this. As the very first full-time faculty member hired at Cal State San Bernardino, Palm Desert Campus, Gomez was hired in 2020 as a professor of psychology and began teaching virtually for the university during the COVID pandemic. -19.

Gomez, who was born in Mexico City and earned his doctorate. from Northwestern University in 2003, teaches statistics, introduction to psychological research and critical thinking, and was hired specifically for the Palm Desert campus. His appointment marked an important milestone in the 35-year history of the campus, as since its inception all faculty members have been non-tenured adjunct professors.

One of the challenges faced by the Palm Desert campus over the years is that it is 100% dependent on the delivery of academic programs by the departments at its San Bernardino campus. While this dependency offers huge benefits to PDC, housing your own professors benefits the campus in many ways: they are generally more available to students, they develop courses and programs, they conduct research involving students, and they participate in campus events.

“I don’t think I fully understood how difficult it was going to be to learn online,” Gomez said. “I know students learn less online and attention is incredibly fragmented when taking an online course. I tried to have very active classes where students shared a lot of screens – throughout my journey I knew I was competing with cooking, Instagram and all the other distractions easily accessible to participants virtual. We are programmed to interact and learn from each other in person.

Gomez says he’s thrilled to finally be on campus this fall for the first time – after a year of virtual teaching – and looks forward to interacting with students in person and kicking off his research program.

Gomez recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation for his Collaborative Research: Interaction of Sensory and Response Processes in Decision Making project to continue his research activities at the Palm Desert Campus.

His research will focus on the timing and interplay between sensory and response processes in decision making using students from communities historically underserved by higher education STEM programs – those in the Coachella and Imperial valleys in Southern California.

Undergraduates will play a critical role in the development and implementation of these student projects, and the results will be made available to other institutions seeking to improve STEM education through training. in neuroscience research. Gomez says he also plans to start a data science center at PDC.

In his spare time, Gomez is an avid walker and runner and recently placed 10th in the US team’s Olympic track and field trials. He wants to start a program at the PDC to encourage students and give them the opportunity to train and compete in the Olympics.

September is Hispanic Heritage Month and Gomez believes in the importance of celebrating it at CSUSB.

“I know that my contact with literature, science, theology, the arts and the history of peoples who speak Spanish and other Iberian languages ​​has immensely enriched my life,” he says. “For me, every month is Hispanic Heritage Month because I live a tricultural life; I am fortunate to have had a mother who is a professor of Hispanic literature in Mexico, to have grown up learning the history of our countries and to have excellent working relationships with Spanish universities. I know that there are many people in the United States who would benefit from exposure to the culture that has given me so much. And also, at a time when media representations start and end with the Narco films, it is good to remind everyone that science, literature and the arts are also part of our history. “

Image sources

  • Pablo Gomez: CSUSB Palm Desert

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