Teaching and Learning Forum 
Sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning and Provost Teaching and Learning Fellows
This event took place on Monday, May 9, 2022. You may view a recording of Dr. Geoff Cohen's talk and download the slides.

After you submit your semester grades, join the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Provost Teaching and Learning Fellows (PTLF) for a day of reflecting on the past semester and connecting with colleagues around teaching. At this year's forum, we are excited to feature Dr. Geoffrey Cohen, author of the forthcoming book Belonging: The Secret Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides, as the keynote speaker. After the talk, you will have the opportunity to hear from a panel of students about their experiences of belonging at Georgia Tech and to engage in activities and discussions with colleagues to consider how to cultivate a sense of belonging in your own teaching contexts.

Belonging: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides

How can we help our students maintain their sense of common humanity even when engaging in difficult and potentially divisive conversations? How can we affirm students' sense of belonging in our disciplines, especially if they hold a historically underrepresented identity? How can we demonstrate our believe that our students belong here, even when they are struggling with personal and academic challenges? 

Divisions based on class, politics, race, religion, gender, and nationality are erupting throughout the globe. They present major challenges for our academic institutions. The consequences of not having a sense of belonging range from political strife to illness to underperformance at work and in the classroom. This talk will present the causes and consequences of a sense of belonging in school and a set of science-backed techniques for fostering it in diverse institutions. 

Research by Cohen and colleagues has found that small acts that establish connection, brief activities such as reflecting on core values, and a slew of practices that he refers to under the general rubric of “situation-crafting” improve motivation and performance in school and work, lessen polarization in our politics, combat racism in our communities, benefit health and wellbeing, and unleash the potential in ourselves and our relationships.

Dr. Geoffrey Cohen is a Professor of Psychology at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. Cohen is the author of a new book BELONGING: The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides (W.W. Norton; September 13, 2022), which brings together his and others’ groundbreaking research and shows how the discoveries can be used to tackle the most tenacious problems of our communal life. Professor Cohen's research examines processes that shape people's sense of belonging and self and implications for social problems. He studies the big and small threats to belonging and self-integrity that people encounter in school, work, and health care settings, and strategies to create more inclusive spaces for people from all walks of life. He believes that the development of psychological theory is facilitated not only by descriptive and observational research but by theory-driven intervention. He has long been inspired by Kurt Lewin's quip, "The best way to try to understand something is to try to change it."

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