Dr. Cheryl Talley examines factors that lead to lasting behavioral change, specifically those related to high academic achievement. In published studies and projects funded by the National Science Foundation, Dr. Talley and her colleagues have sought to reveal the role that affective factors such as academic identity and emotional regulation play in student success. With her training in affective neuroscience, Dr. Talley utilizes various cognitive strategies, including mindfulness training to help students develop strong academic identities and associated behaviors. Project Knowledgethe successful freshmen intervention that was developed at Virginia State University was based on a theoretical model created by Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, the Phenomenological Variant of the Ecological Systems Theory (PVEST) and is now being adapted for high school students. Findings from Project Knowledge are also being used to inform interventions in other disciplines through collaboration with several departments at Virginia State as well as an international compendium focusing on values-based education. In addition, Dr. Talley serves as a lead researcher in the newly formed HBCU STEM-Undergraduate Success Center. Co-lead by faculty from Morehouse College and Spelman College, the STEM-US Center will establish a network of over 50 HBCU’s to develop and disseminate effective STEM interventions at the college level. Future plans include adopting aspects of Project Knowledge for grades K-12 by using machine learning technology to provide skills for online learning and augment academic motivation, social emotional learning and values-based education.

Dr. Talley received her Ph.D. and Master’s Degrees in Psychobiology from the University of Virginia.

A Different Kind of Thinking

The time has now come to change the way we think about the way we learn.  This represents a paradigm shift away from mostly cognitive-focused-activity occurring within age-grouped cohorts. For many of us who were educated in this way, school is analogous with learning. This becomes a problem if one then concludes that the type of learning promoted in school is the most important or most appropriate for all of life. We know this is not true because we have all experienced other modes of learning.  In fact, scientific breakthroughs and technical innovation most often result from a type of thinking that is not taught to the vast majority of students; a learning predicated on affective skills or manual dexterity or a deeper intuitive knowing.

The human brain has evolved to solve problems and there are more expansive capacities to enlist than logic or computation alone. How can these capacities be utilized in order to solve the myriad of problems facing us right now? A different type of thinking is required and also different types of thinkers. What better place to start than with the creators, inventors,  visioners and imaginers that will make up the new STEM workforce? In this talk, I will discuss the possibility of utilizing findings from affective neuroscience and values-based education in the development of a new type of STEM workforce, reconnecting mind to soul and STEM to Values.

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