Keynote Speakers

Fons J. R. van de Vijver, PhD
Tilburg University, the Netherlands; North-West University, South Africa; University of Queensland, Australia
The Cross-Cultural Perspective in Romanian I/O Psychology

The presentation will deal important issues in the fledgling cross-cultural approach to I/O psychology in Romania. I describe currently popular cross-cultural models of work values in the first part, noting the relative absence of Romania in this global psychological map. The second part of the paper is more methodological and first describes a global framework of method issues in cross-cultural comparisons (bias and equivalence). I then describe specific issues in designing cross-cultural studies, such as the choice between existing questionnaires and developing novel tests, the importance of alternative interpretations of cross-cultural differences, and the need to have a team with all relevant types of expertise on board. My central argument will be that Romanian psychology can benefit from furthering a cross-cultural approach, examining cultural heterogeneity in Romania, Romanians in the diaspora, and the place of Romania on the “psychological map of the world”.
The presentation will deal important issues in the fledgling cross-cultural approach to I/O psychology in Romania. It describes currently popular cross-cultural models of work values in the first part, noting the relative absence of Romania in this global psychological map. The second part of the presentation is more methodological and first describes a global framework of method issues in cross-cultural comparisons (bias and equivalence). I then describe specific issues in designing cross-cultural studies, such as the choice between existing questionnaires and developing novel tests, the importance of alternative interpretations of cross-cultural differences, and the need to have a team with all relevant types of expertise on board. The central argument will be that Romanian psychology can benefit from furthering a cross-cultural approach, examining cultural heterogeneity in Romania, Romanians in the diaspora, and the place of Romania on the “psychological map of the world”.
Manuela Keller-Schneider Manuela Keller-Schneider, PhD
Zurich University of Teacher Education, Switzerland
Students’ motivation to get involved in learning matters – effects of learning motivation and volition on the learning outcome of student teachers during teacher education

To get a teacher is a demanding process. Professional knowledge is essential to build up competences. But motivation and beliefs have an influence on the learning process as well. Getting a good teacher is a demanding process, in which student teachers have to involve themselves. To educate student teachers, not only the quality of a course and its fit to the precondition of the students are important. To involve students in their learning and to expect their responsibility for it is important as well. Demanding tasks, that challenges students to develop and discuss solutions, and findings as swell as students, who let themselves involve in solving demanding tasks, are essential.At Zurich Teacher University we developed specific courses, in which students have to build up their basic knowledge on their own, using specific literature prepared for the course. In a second step they apply their acquired knowledge to analyze in a theory based way situations they met at school. In the course at University they present their findings and conclusions. These findings were discussed theory based and promoted by cognitive activating questions and statements of the professor. This shall lead to enlarged and more differentiated theory related views on the situation student teachers meet at school.The specific course, the presented research is based on, focus on the learning process of the student teachers, cognitive and social activated in dealing with tasks to get a deeper understanding of their students’ learning and of teachers’ influence on students’ learning. To evaluate this course, student teachers were asked by an online survey about the quality of the course, the intensity of their use of learning situations, about their learning strategies and about individual characteristics, such as their own learning motivation and volition and their beliefs about the learning motivation of their students. Results show, that not only the quality of the course has an effect on student teachers’ learning outcome. It is an essential precondition, but the motivation to be involved in the own learning, the use of the learning situations and learning strategies, motivation and volition to learn as well as beliefs on the students learning are shaping the learning outcome as well.
The significance of these results for teacher education and for the learning of the students in general will be discussed. The importance of getting challenged and let themselves involve I demanding task solving processes will be pointed out.

In problem based settings teacher students have to develop own approaches to explain and handle a specific learning situation.

Student teachers evaluate their learning outcome, their intensity of use of different learning settings and their strategies to work on the task by using a online survey. In this survey individual characteristics. Results about the effects of the quality of the course, the intensity of the use of the learning situation, individual characteristics of the students and their volition to deal with the tasks will be show.

Working on this results during the course student teachers get new findings and a deeper understanding of their students’ learning and of the influence of the teachers on students’ learning.

ilie-puiu-vasilescu-2016 Ilie Puiu Vasilescu, PhD
Union College, USA
When the cultural dimensions embedded in the imported psychotherapeutic models do not match clients’ values

Most Psychotherapeutic Models imported and used in Romania, as well as in other countries, have been created by (in alphabetical order) American; Australian; Austrian; British; Canadian; German and Jewish authors. Regardless of their country of origin, all of these authors have been connected to the American culture. Usually they have spent a few years, if not an even more significant part of their life, in the US. Some degree of absorption of values common to the American culture is to be expected, as it is their reflection in the therapeutic models created by the authors. While the full meaning of the American exceptionalism is still a matter of debate, its reality at least in the sense that America is “different” has been recognized since nearly two centuries. The scores the Americans obtain on Hofstede’s, as well as on Schwartz’, cultural dimensions position American culture as an outlier when compared to the rest of the countries, and our analysis showed that the all US scores are significantly different from the scores of other countries. While Romania position along the cultural dimensions is less extreme than that of the US, its scores are also significantly different from the scores of other countries; moreover, compared to the mean, they are always in the opposite direction to the American scores. Obviously, as a group and as individuals, counselors and psychotherapists (creators of therapeutic models and practitioners alike) have their own values, and similarly, clients too are not entirely defined by the scores of their countries’ cultural dimensions. Still, we could expect a less good match between the values embedded in the imported psychotherapeutic models and the Romanian clients than the American consumers. Some of the issues of this mismatch are addressed in the presentation.

Mariane Frenay, PhD
Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium
Studying student retention at university: Towards more contextualized, integrated and mixed-method approaches

Student retention at University as always been a subject that has attracted many research, given its societal, economic and psychological challenges.
From more than 50 years, researchers are studying this phenomenon. Well known theoretical models have been developed and thoroughly examined and researched (e.g. Tinto, 1975, Bean, 1980). The syntheses of studies (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1993, 2005) and meta-analyses (Robbins et al. 2004) have summarized the main contributions from that research so far.
In this keynote, I will give a short overview of past research and current studies on student retention to focus on issues that need further attention.
I will present some research done on student retention at the Chair of University Teaching and Learning, from the Université catholique de Louvain. I will specifically focus on a research project on persistence in PhD studies, that combines qualitative and quantitative methods. It will illustrate what are the methodological and theoretical challenges that remain in researching student retention.
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