Teaching and Learning Lab

Zhao's Teaching and Learning Lab

Research Areas

  • Higher ed. teaching and learning
  • Instructor-student relationship
  • Undergraduate research skills development
  • Open education resources (OER)
  • Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) practices

Lab Projects

  • Adapting “Fundamentals of Psychological Disorders” OER textbook for PSY 3010 Abnormal Psychology
  • Curating inclusive multi-modal introductory psychology OER content: Interviewing historically underrepresented experts (with OpenStax.org)
  • Involving undergraduate students in summer research: assessing research skill gains in an open pedagogical design
  • Productive failure: increase undergraduate research skills through ill-structured activities
  • What does it look like in therapy?: Using symptommedia.com to enhance clinical teaching and training

Student Projects

  • Gender hiring decisions (Jai Earhart)*
  • Impact of "big points" on learning outcomes (Jackson Stringham & Gracie Winder)*
  • Minority Ethnic Centrality, Affirmation, and Attitudes Toward Mental Health Care (Chandler Peterson & Allyson Barraza)*
  • Perceptions of Homelessness Within Utah: Does Religiosity Matter? (Gracie Winder)*

*Student project leaders


Interested in joining the lab? Email: Dr. Xin Zhao

About Dr. Xin Zhao

Dr. Zhao joined Weber State Psychological Sciences Faculty in fall 2022. He earned his bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech, and Ph.D. in Combined Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology from Utah State University. His research interests focus on everything higher ed. teaching related. In his spare time, other than keeping up with his two young children, he likes to follow latest happenings with various sports, and read behavioral economic books.

Undergraduate Research Assistants


Lab Manager

Jai Earhart

Spring 2024

Jai is a Psychology Major and plans to attend graduate school focusing on Experimental Psychology with an emphasis in Social Psychology. Their current research projects focus primarily on mental health, marginalized populations (e.g., nontraditional students, sexual, gender, and racial/ethnic minorities), experiences of microaggressions, and hiring decisions.

Chandler Peterson

Spring 2024

Aonika Russell

Fall 2023

My name is Aonika, and I am a Psychology Major minoring in Criminal Justice. I plan to attend graduate school in Clinical Psychology or Forensic Psychology.  My current research projects focus on mental health, ADHD perceptions, stigma, marginalized populations (e.g., nontraditional students, gender, and racial/ethnic minorities), perfectionism, state-trait anxiety, and teaching styles.

Jackson Stringham

Spring 2025

Jackson is a double major in Psychology & Geography and plans to attend graduate school in Clinical Psych. Even though he does a wide variety of research in the psychology department, he enjoys projects relating to relationships and education the most.

Allyson Barraza

Lab Alumni

Ally will be attending a Ph.D. program in Developmental Psychology at University of Missouri starting Fall 2023.

Gracie Winder

Lab Alumni

My name is Gracie and I am a Psychology Major, moving into the field of Industrial and Organizational Psych for my Masters Program. My current research projects focus on a variety of topics including: mental health, minority affirmation, ADHD perceptions, stigma, religiosity, intrinsic motivation, and chronic homelessness.

Lab Pictures

Rocky Mountain Psychological Conference
April 13 & 15, 2023
Undergraduate Research Fall Symposium
WSU | April 10, 2023
Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR), U of U | February 17, 2023

Lab website updated: 03/30/2023