Amy Overman leads sessions on metacognition at meeting of NSF-sponsored student success project

The professor in the Psychology Department and Neuroscience program spoke to students and faculty from a consortium of colleges funded by the National Science Foundation's S-STEM program.

Amy Overman, professor in the Psychology Department and Neuroscience program, recently led two sessions on metacognition with students and faculty from Coker College, College of Saint Elizabeth, Ferrum College and Mercy College. The sessions were part of the NSF STEM Scholars in Biology Institute, which was held April 4-6, 2019, in Durham, N.C. 

Metacognition refers to the mental activities involved in the awareness and management of an individual's own thought processes, including learning and memory, and has been shown to be critical to student success and achievement. Overman's sessions at the institute discussed the applications of scientific research on metacognition to teaching and learning.

The April meeting was organized as part of the Coker College-led NSF STEM Scholars in Biology (SSB) project, a multi-year, multi-institution effort focused on high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds who have career interests in STEM-related fields. In addition to financial assistance, the program provides students at the participating institutions with first-year experiences, computers, mentoring, advising, and project-based learning experiences, and examines the impacts of these activities on student success.

The four colleges currently participating in the program are also members of the Yes We Must Coalition, whose goal is to increase degree attainment for low-income and underrepresented students at independent, not-for-profit colleges and universities with at least 50 percent Pell-eligible undergraduates.

Overman's leadership of the metacognition sessions for faculty and students at the SSB Institute are part of her ongoing efforts supporting student success and inclusion, particularly for underrepresented students, by leveraging scientific research on teaching and learning. These efforts include Overman's work on transparency in learning and teaching, metacognition, and belongingness that began during her term as an Associate Director of CATL (2015-2018) and have extended to her current grant-funded work on the Learning to Learn initiative, an Elon-led collaboration with Hofstra University that focuses on teaching effective metacognitive skills to first-year students.