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In full transparency, the following is a media release from MassBay Community College which has a campus in Framingham. (MassBay graphic)

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FRAMINGHAM – MassBay Community College’s Institute for Trauma, Adversity, & Resilience in Higher Education will host a one-day, live, virtual conference to provide a unique opportunity for educators and higher education professionals to connect, share ideas, and gain valuable professional development on the topic of trauma and resilience in higher education.

The conference, “Naming the Urgency, Envisioning Change, Sharing Tools,” which takes place on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 8:30am – 4:30pm EST, was developed in response to a growing national demand by educators to learn and gather information from trauma-informed pioneers who have developed practices and valuable insights that can impact student learning.

Research is clear that violence and trauma create obstacles to academic success, and equally clear that everyday interventions in our communities create the possibility for change. This conference will explore how every encounter from teaching to campus safety, advising to financial aid, facilities to college policies and administration, can be informed by recognizing the prevalence of trauma, adversity, and toxic stress, and how these impact academic outcomes. Just as importantly, this conference explores how many opportunities exist every day to create connection and support that build resilience and problem-solving in higher education.

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“The trauma-informed educational movement is taking hold nationwide in the postsecondary educational landscape because we are seeing that trauma, adversity, and violence already exist as consequential forces that impact our students’ lives and also our ability to respond effectively,” reflects MassBay Founder and Director of the Institute for Trauma, Adversity, & Resilience in Higher Education, Dr. Jeanie Tietjen. “As institutions of higher education, we need to recognize that violence in many forms affects possibilities for students and all members of our shared campus community.  Strategies grounded in that recognition orient pedagogy and practices that contribute to equity and inclusion in higher education, and that naturally extend to the health and well-being of the larger workforce, citizenry, and community.”

Conference attendees will learn from leading experts and everyday practitioners who implement trauma-informed principles in their scholarship, teaching, and practices, while exploring new strategies to help their students succeed in the classroom and mobilize more meaningful inclusion in postsecondary settings.

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Some of the highlights will be:

  • Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of the best-selling book The Body Keeps the Score, who will open the conference with a conversation in the neurobiology of trauma and learning, and why trauma-informed practices matter in higher education.
  • Dr. Terrell Strayhorn will deliver remarks on the power of belonging in colleges and universities, especially as that pertains to trauma and violence experienced by those historically marginalized in higher education.
  • Trauma-informed pioneers from different disciplines and roles in higher education will share Insights and tools for teaching and learning, student services, institutional practices, and more.

Interested attendees can find the conference program and registration for the “Naming the Urgency, Envisioning Change, Sharing Tools” conference here

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There are multiple tiers for registration including a pay-what-you-can option that gives access to day-of events, opportunities to share resources and create connections by means of in-conference messaging and a virtual bulletin board. 

In 2012, MassBay hosted the first interdisciplinary conference on “Trauma and Learning in Post-Secondary Education,” which in turn launched The Institute for Trauma, Adversity, and Resilience in Higher Education. Since that time the interest in trauma-informed learning has grown in higher education, and institutions are learning from one another how campus and community can productively support teaching and learning and build more connected communities. Emerging scholars and higher ed professionals increasingly see the neurobiological framework of trauma-informed as fundamentally aligned with equity practices and universal design principles. The Institute formally launches its free, curated website of resources at the end of the conference day, and visitors can sign up for newsletter and regular updates to the site. 

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By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.