GSEHD Institutes Explore Trending Issues in Education, Policy, and Counseling

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July 29, 2013

This July, the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development hosted a number of interdisciplinary summer institutes on topics critical to education and human development, including brain injury, aging, student behavior, and STEM education and policy.


Contemporary Issues in Grief, Loss, and Resilience: Summer Institute on Aging

Together with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the GW Hospital Women’s Board, GSEHD offered the interdisciplinary Summer Institute on Aging. The conference provided for-credit students and regional professionals with an overview of loss and grief and an in-depth exploration of the realities of aging in America. With over 43 million Americans currently caring for someone over 50 years old, and 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, the Institute examined a variety of topics related to the increasing challenges of the Baby Boom generation.

Topical experts spoke on issues ranging from the population of aging veterans to elder abuse, caregiving, the importance of creativity in aging, and gender differences in aging. As part of the Institute, students will conduct an interview with a U.S. Veteran from World War II, Korean War, or Vietnam War. The interviews will be submitted to the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project which collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may better understand the realities of war directly from veterans. Assistant Professor Paul Tschudi and GSEHD’s Suzy Wise led the Institute.


GW-MIT STEM Policy Institute

GSEHD collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Science and Engineering Program for Teachers and the affiliated Network of Educators in Science and Technology (NEST) to host the first GW-MIT STEM Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., July 14-18.

The Institute provided the opportunity for practicing teachers from across the nation to explore innovations in research related to STEM and discuss issues such as federal policy and STEM education, building school capacity, advocacy, and science policy impacting educators. Participating teachers were affiliated with MIT’s NEST, a fellowship of teachers working to promote STEM literacy and to enhance the professional background of K-12 teachers. The Institute featured presentations by national experts, visits at prestigious DC research associations, and engagement with policymakers on Capitol Hill.  


GW-NASP Public Policy Institute: Policies and Practices that Promote Student Behavior and Learning – Directions for the Nation

GSEHD partnered with the National Association of School Psychologists to present the annual Public Policy Institute (PPI). The Institute brought together educators, psychologists, counselors and other related personnel from around the nation for a week-long experience that immersed participants in policy, research and practice issues on the topic of “Policies and Practices that Promote Student Behavior and Learning: Directions for the Nation.” The purpose of the course is to deepen the understanding of the policy-making process, the changing Federal role in education, and implications for serving students who face complex barriers to learning.

Attendees spent a day on Capitol Hill in addition to observing numerous presentations by notable experts on issues such as national policy directions for improving conditions for learning, research on positive behavioral supports and social climate within schools, school safety, mental health needs of vulnerable students, strategies for school support and more. Dr. Carol Kochhar Bryant, Dr. Pam Leconte, and Jacqueline Smith contributed to the planning of the conference for GSEHD.


Educating Schools and Students on Brain Injury and Concussion

GSEHD’s Department of Special Education and Disability Studies hosted a five-day, multi-disciplinary institute titled “Educating Schools and Students on Brain Injury and Concussion.” The institute focused on family systems theory and the many systems involved in pediatric brain injury and concussion recovery. A variety of presentations by national experts addressed expectations of school outcomes after concussion, recovery trajectories, and how all parties can work cohesively toward successfully returning students to the school setting.   

As part of the Institute, GSEHD held a public symposium intended to provide brain injury education to the professional community of education professionals, therapists, and parents of children with traumatic brain injury. Featuring presentations from highly regarded experts, the symposium discussed the potential for life-long deficits in learning and attention after a mild traumatic brain injury and address the issues associated with mild brain injury as it relates to school performance.  Dean Michael Feuer offered welcoming remarks at the public symposium and Associate Dean Carol Kochhar Bryant offered closing remarks.Dr. Carol Kochhar-Bryant and Theresa Armstrong contributed to the planning.