Clone of Colloquium Series

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. Our theme this year is: Identity as it Relates to Teaching and Learning. 

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Center for Autism


Communication Disorders

Computer Science

Counseling and School Psychology

Diversity and Inclusion

Fall 2023 Colloquia

Save the Date! Details Coming Soon!

Featured Speaker: Dr. Lowell K. Davis, Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington 

Date: Monday, December 4, 2023 (Virtual Program) 
Time: 5:30-6:30PM (ET)

About Dr. Davis: Lowell K. Davis serves as the Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Texas Arlington. Previously, he was the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. He served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success at Western Carolina University (WCU), located in the mountains of western North Carolina. He came to WCU from the University of Alabama (“Roll Tide!”) where he rose through the ranks of both Academic and Student Affairs. There, he founded Alabama Reach, an office serving the needs of students coming to the institution from the foster care system, homelessness, or parental emancipation.

Dr. Davis has continued to focus on supporting these populations, and has successfully established partnerships to provide emergency housing, domestic services, and other resources. He was selected as the staff member of the year for the Southern (athletic) Conference and is the immediate past President for the North American Association of Summer Sessions, and also completed an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellowship at University of California Davis and is a current member of the Council of Fellows.

Dr. Davis is an active member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Incorporated, and is involved in several other social and civic organizations. At the core of his professional and community activities is a strong appreciation for building relationships. Whether he is working with students, community members, coworkers or strangers, he is always endeavoring to build bridges and strengthen his community.

Dr. Davis earned a Bachelor of Arts in English arts–secondary education and a Master of Arts in counseling with emphasis on college student development from Hampton University, and a doctorate in education, leadership and policy studies from Indiana University.

The program will be moderated by: Dr. Kari Sassu, Director, Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Stephen Hegedus, Dean, College of Education.

More Info Coming Soon!

Hidden Figures:
The Untold Experiences of Black Girls in School

Featured Speaker: Mykelle S. Coleman, Ph.D., NCSP, Educational Psychologist & Southern Alumna 

Held on Monday, October 23, 2023

There is a limited discussion within our literature regarding the treatment that Black girls encounter in schools. This presentation will uncover the results of a current study that gained an increased understanding of Black girls’ school perceptions and experiences. This conversation focuses on identity, addresses the journey from a Black girl to a Black woman in education and highlights the importance of amplifying student voices to inform school practices. 

Moderated by: Dr. Kari Sassu, Director, Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Stephen Hegedus, Dean, College of Education

About Dr. Coleman: Mykelle S. Coleman is passionate about amplifying the voices of communities. She is actively involved in research projects including school climate perceptions of minoritized student groups and the impact of school discipline on specific student populations. In addition, she has supported research projects that focused on microaggressions on university campuses and relationships within the field of social psychology. Her research interests are centered on advancing social justice in the field of psychology and promoting change through increased knowledge. 

Dr. Coleman is a nationally and Connecticut state certified school psychologist with a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, specialization in school psychology and area of concentration in school law, from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Coleman received her Bachelor of Arts from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in psychology. She is an alumna from Southern Connecticut State University, where she received her master’s degree and sixth-year certificate in School Psychology. Dr. Coleman is currently a post-doctoral fellow at a family-centered and multidisciplinary practice, Sasco River Center.  

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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
Virtual Program


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.  

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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
Virtual Program

Jeff Wilhelm

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

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Fall 2022 Colloquia

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

November 2022
Virtual Program

Frank Worell

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.

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Leading Creative and Healthy Schools and Organizations in an Age of Complexity

Featured Speaker: Peter Gamwell

October 2022
Virtual Program 

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.

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Spring 2022 Colloquia

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

March 2022
Virtual Program 

Sukhodolsky and Crowley

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.

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Positive Emotions and Relationships: The Bridge to Engagement

Featured Speaker: Dr. Shannon Suldo
Professor, School Psychology, University of South Florida.

February 2022
Virtual Program


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.


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