the Portenier-Wertheimer

Teaching Conference



The teaching conference is designed for faculty who tech at four-year universities and colleges, community colleges, and high schools. Specifically, it is for those who wish to explore new ideas that will enhance and broaden their teaching skills.  The celebration of teaching will provide useful and interesting information to see award-winning teachers in action.  The teaching conference will also provide a forum for the discussion and exchange of knowledge and practice about the teaching of psychology as well as student learning and assessment.


  • Psychology teachers (colleges, universities, high schools)

  • Researchers in the teaching of psychology

  • Support staff and developers working with psychology teachers

  • Developers and publishers of psychology resources




In 1995, Lillian Portenier received the first "Outstanding Former Faculty Award" from the University of Wyoming.  A professor of psychology when she retired in 1961, she was dedicated to undergraduate psychology majors.

Dr. Portenier joined the University of Wyoming as a Mathematics instructor in 1925 after receiving an A. M. degree from the University of Nebraska.  She became an assistant professor of psychology in 1930 and after earning a PhD from Columbia University in 1933, she received a promotion to full professor.  During World War II, she was acting head of the Department of Psychology and Director of Student Personnel Services.  Dr. Portenier served a three-year term as Executive Secretary of APA's Division Two (Teaching of Psychology) and edited the newsletter from 1952-1954.  She served as President of Division Two in 1957. She was the first person from the Rocky Mountain region to serve as National President of Psi Chi, a post she held from 1949 to 1952.

She became involved with RMPA early on, presenting her first paper at the 1933 conference, a paper that examined factors other than intelligence that predicted school success.  She served as RMPA Secretary from 1944-1948 and was elected President of RMPA in 1948-1949.  In 1963, she became the third lifetime member of RMPA.




In 1983, Michael Wertheimer received the American Psychological Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award in recognition for his classroom teaching as well as his writings on the teaching of psychology.  In 1990, he received the APA Distinguished Career Contributions to Education and Training in Psychology Award.  Currently, Michael is Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado-Boulder where he has served on the faculty since 1955.  Among his many university recognitions, he received the Faculty Advising Award from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1987.  Dr. Wertheimer served as President of Division Two (Teaching of Psychology) in 1965.  He was the Rocky Mountain regional coordinator of Psi Chi from 1973-1979 and in 1990-1991 served as the Psi Chi National President.

His involvement with RMPA began in the mid-1950s.  At the 1957 RMPA meeting, he and Dr. Portenier both participated in the program.  She was involved in a symposium on mental health in Western states, and Dr. Wertheimer presented a paper entitled "The Influence of Subjective Time Spent in Practice on Learning."  In 1981, Dr. Wertheimer was elected President of RMPA.  He served as the RMPA Archivist from 1986-1993.  He is the only person to twice receive the RMPA Distinguished Service Award, first in 1998 and again in 1994.

Dr. Alexandra Rutherford

Dr. Alexandra Rutherford

2019 Teaching Conference Success!

Thank you to the 2019 Teaching Conference Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alexandra Rutherford

The 2019 Wertheimer-Portenier Teaching Conference was a great success! It began at noon on Thursday, April 4, 2019 with the Teaching Take-Out sessions. Professor Alexandra Rutherford from York University gave the teaching keynote address and several symposia and workshops on teaching topics were offered including (a) Ethical Teaching, Sensitive Topics, and Trigger Warnings, (b) Building Inclusive Classrooms, (c) Teaching, Collaborating with, and Supporting DACA Students, (d) Creation and Implementation of a Mobile Psychology Teaching Lab, (e) Best Practices for Undergraduate Research, and (f) Best Practices for Online Instruction.

Dr. Aaron Richmond & Dr. Doug Woody (Teaching Conference Coordinator)

Dr. Aaron Richmond & Dr. Doug Woody (Teaching Conference Coordinator)

There were also several sessions aimed at students including (a) Making the Most of Your RMPA Experience, (b) Leadership Training for Psi Chi Members and Leaders, and (c) Using Your Psychology Degree in Graduate School and Elsewhere.

The Teaching Conference closed with the RMPA opening reception.

2020 Teaching Take-Out: Call for Proposals

This is a formal invitation to participate in the 2020 RMPA Convention Teaching Take-Out session on teaching demonstrations.  We invite teachers of psychology from high schools, community colleges, and universities to bring their favorite teaching demonstrations to share with other teachers of psychology.  

This year we seek to include a wide range of teaching demonstrations across several subtopics in psychology.  We invite demonstrations of active learning opportunities, discussions, debates, collaborative learning, or problem-based learning for small classes, large lecture classes, and online/distance learning classes.  Technology will be available to present online activities and demonstrations.

Each presenter should be ready to walk through his or her demonstration with participants and to distribute materials that will enable session attendees to take the demonstration back to their own classrooms.   We ask contributors to include in their abstract the number of minutes their talk and demonstration will require, and we hope to have as many short demonstrations as possible in our allotted hour of presentation time.  We hope this format will continue to facilitate questions and the exchange of ideas.  Presentation times could range from 5 to 12 minutes.

Please submit materials via the normal RMAP submission process.  For your topic, please choose “teaching demonstration.”  Describe your demonstration, the ideas it is intended to convey, the classes in which it would be most applicable, and the amount of time you need for your presentation.

We hope to have a wide variety of demonstrations that participants and attendees can take into their own classrooms, and we hope to have fun in the process.  Please invite your colleagues and students to submit materials as well.  Please contact Doug Woody ( with any questions.  

Thank you very much, and we look forward to seeing you in Denver at RMPA 2020.