Among the Center's flagship programs is our Colloquium Series, first presented in 2021. We work collaboratively to develop the program, inviting experts in their fields from outside the university to address current topics in education innovation. Planning for our Fall 2023 Colloquium Series is underway. Please sign up for our email updates to stay in touch
Spring 2023 Colloquia
Student Mental Health: Stress and Learning
Featured Speaker: Jean A. King, Peterson Family Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
The impact of stress and mental health during the pandemic have affected our students in multiple ways. We now need to better understand the impact of Covid stress on learning and memory for students. This talk will focus on neurobiological understanding of stress and learning on campuses.
Moderated by: Dr. Kari Sassu, Director, Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Stephen Hegedus, Dean, College of Education
About Dr. Jean A. King: Jean A. King is the Peterson Family Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts, and a Professor in the Departments of Biology and Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering, and Neuroscience. She completed her Ph.D. in Biology and Neurophysiology at New York University, followed by postdoctoral fellowships first at Emory University (Psychology). Immediately thereafter she joined the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she built an active research career as well as serving in numerous in leadership roles for both her department, (including Vice Chair of Research in Psychiatry, and founding Director of the Psychiatry Career Development and Research Office) and then at the institutional level (UMMS Vice Provost of Research), prior to her transition in 2017 to WPI to assume the role of Dean.
As a researcher, Dr. King’s work has been dedicated to elucidating the neurobiological bases of the stress response, including both vulnerability to stressors and resilience in the face of stress. The overarching goal of her work is to better understand the neural links between stress and mental health.
Knowing Your Own Mind: Why We Are All Susceptible to Information Pollution and What We Can Do About It
Featured Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm, Distinguished Professor of English Education at Boise State University and Director of the Boise State Writing Project
Monday, April 17, 2023
This interactive session explored why we all, as human beings, are exceptionally susceptible to information pollution of all kinds. A typology of different kinds of information pollution and their different features and effects will be shared. The second half of the session explored ways to know our own minds, and ways to teach learners to know and control theirs in ways that will help us identify, interrogate and control information pollution in texts of all kinds
About Dr. Jeffrey D. Wilhelm:Dr. Wilhelm is an internationally known teacher, author, and presenter. A full-time classroom teacher for 15 years and a university professor for 26 years (and counting!), Jeff Wilhelm is currently Distinguished Professor of English Education at Boise State, founding director of the Boise State Writing Project, and he teaches middle or high schoolers each spring. He has authored 42 texts about literacy teaching. His newest book, just out in February 2023, is Fighting Fake News: Identifying and Interrogating Information Pollution.
Working collaboratively with the Office of Alumni Affairs, the Center presented a series of virtual colloquia focused on the current challenge of Mental Health as it Relates to Teaching and Learning.
Co-facilitated by the Center director and dean of the College of Education, two colloquia were held with high numbers of registrants. Experts in their fields from outside the university were invited to present to attendees, which included alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and school-based personnel, among others.
Promoting Resilience and Recovery in Educational Settings
Featured Speaker: Dr. Frank Worrell President, American Psychological Association
Professor, School of Education, University of CA, Berkeley
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic was and continues to be an historic event with major negative impacts on every aspect of our society. Already strained school systems and overextended school personnel were forced to pivot immediately to providing online services (e.g.,teaching, interventions) from their homes, while also dealing with the impact of the pandemic on themselves and their families. And although the pandemic itself had profound negative effects, these were exacerbated by several factors, including (a) the murder of George Floyd, (b) an insurrection in the nation’s Capital, (c) the ongoing effects of climate change, and (d) a war in Europe.
How should society respond to these crises and how do we support school systems and educators? In this presentation, Dr. Worrell argues that we need to continue to use evidence-based practices but with greater intention. We need to increase social-emotional supports for everyone in school contexts; make schools a place of safety and belonging for individuals from all demographic subgroups; avoid taking a deficit-based approach to schools and society; and promote hope as a counter to the negative forces in the present.
About Frank Worrell: Frank C. Worrell, PhD, is a professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, where he serves as faculty director of the school psychology program, the Academic Talent Development Program, and the California College Preparatory Academy. He is a certified school psychologist as well as a licensed psychologist.
In addition to his position at UC Berkeley, Worrell is an affiliate professor in the social and personality area in the department of psychology. His areas of expertise include at-risk youth, cultural identities, scale development and validation, talent development/gifted education, teacher effectiveness, time perspective, and the translation of psychological research findings into school-based practice.
He has authored more than 200 academic publications and most recently co-edited The Cambridge Handbook of Applied School Psychology.
Leading Creative and Healthy Schools and Organizations in an Age of Complexity
Featured Speaker: Peter Gamwell
This seminar focuses on three foundational imperatives and four supporting conditions that can help awaken the seeds of brilliance that lie in everyone. Peter Gamwell illustrates this with stories and videos where people are indeed making the extraordinary happen and, in so doing, changing lives.
About Peter Gamwell: If we are going to make our organizations creative, dynamic, diverse and above all, successful, then we must believe in the creative capacities of every person, no matter what their position or title, and put into place the conditions that enable creative abilities to flourish. For the past ten years, Peter has led a team of hundreds to find out just what those conditions are, with some eye-opening results.
Born in Liverpool, England, Peter is the author of The Wonder Wall, a presenter, and an award-winning leader in education. Working closely with such renowned creativity experts as Sir Ken Robinson and Sir John Jones, Peter has become recognized internationally as a leader and catalyst for creative change initiatives that inspire and advance organizational cultures.
A critical component of Peter’s work was the publication of a system and community action research study guided by the question, “What are the conditions under which creative and healthy individuals and organizations flourish?” In 2013, Peter’s work was recognized when he was given the Distinguished Leadership Award by the Ontario Public Supervisory Officers’ Association, representing one of the most successful education jurisdictions in the world.
Mindfulness Tools for Teachers and Learners: Neuroscience Informed Strategies for Emotional Resilience
Featured Speakers: Dr. Denis G. Sukhodolsky, Professor, Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
Dr. Michael Crowley, Associate Professor, Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
This seminar focused on mindful approaches to coping with negative emotions, the academic impact of the pandemic on students and teachers, and what is meant when discussing stress, anxiety, irritability, and trauma.
Positive Emotions and Relationships: The Bridge to Engagement
Featured Speaker: Dr. Shannon Suldo
Professor, School Psychology, University of South Florida.
This webinar focused on the promotion of subjective well-being through positive psychology programs and practices that generate positive emotions and strengthen relationships. Interventions associated with increased classroom engagement and performance were presented. Participants learned evidence-based strategies for supporting stress management and wellness promotion, decreasing negative emotions and cultivating gratitude.