Published on March 18, 2021 by Sean Flynt  
Stephen Chew
Stephen Chew

Samford University psychology professor Stephen Chew shared his research specialty for a virtual conference presentation in February. The biennial Devising 21st Century Breaking New Ground conference, hosted by Brazil’s Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (PUCPR,) was focused overall on the challenges of digital education–a timely topic as educators worldwide suddenly have few options other than online teaching.

“It was a truly international conference, with speakers from Canada, the U.S., Italy, and, of course, Brazil,” Chew said. That presented some learning challenges of its own, but Samford world languages and cultures professor Mike Ledgerwood provided translations for Chew’s presentations at the conference. Chew presented a workshop on managing cognitive load in online education, and a roundtable discussion on adapting to challenges in the teaching and learning process.

Chew has worked to support teachers and students engaged in remote learning since the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown in the U.S. In July, 2020, he introduced a new video that builds on the extensive public resources he has created to help improve learning and teaching. How to Learn in Pandemic Times offers reassurance that although education has looked different in the last year, the way humans learn does not.

Chew is one of the nation’s most celebrated psychology professors and currently serves as chair of the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology. His many honors include the American Psychology Foundation’s (APF) Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award, the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Robert S. Daniel Teaching Excellence Award, Distinguished Member status in Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s state and U.S. Professor of the Year honors and Samford’s Buchanan Teaching award. He also has served as a Carnegie Scholar and Fellow of the American Psychological Association.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.