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ESPLAT2023 conference keynotes

Dr. Kelley Haynes-Mendez, Senior Director of Human Rights Team APA
Dr. Kelley Haynes-Mendez has more than 20 years of academic and clinical experience specializing in topics related to ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, intersectionality, and global issues. Dr. Haynes-Mendez received a PsyD degree in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles, USA, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is Senior Director of the Human Rights Team at the American Psychological Association (APA).

Dr. Haynes-Mendez was elected to Fellow status by the APA Council of Representatives in 2022. She also received a presidential citation from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology for her “forward and innovative” work and served as Vice President for Diversity and International Relations, after previously having roles with the Diversity and International Relations committees.  

Dr. Haynes-Mendez received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Her psychotherapy practice was primarily oriented toward culturally affirming care with diverse populations. Her scholarship and academic interests have included topics of multiculturalism, intersectionality, and teaching for global citizenship in higher education. As an associate professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, she chaired the Diversity Advisory Board and was selected as a member of the President’s Diversity Advisory Council. She has also collaborated with the United Nations University for Peace, to foster professional development in human rights and global citizenship for higher education faculty, staff, administrators, and other professionals. 

Dr. Haynes-Mendez will be present at the conference in Umeå.

Pursuing Equity and Justice for Psychology Students in Higher Education

Abstract of the keynote

Institutions of higher education are often microcosms of inequalities that exist in larger society. Psychology faculty members should consider which inequities exist in their institutions and their role in creating change. This talk will address the importance of faculty participation and commitment to structural change at higher education institutions in order to promote equity and justice for students.

Prof. Dr. Robert J. Sternberg

Robert J. Sternberg is Professor of Psychology in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University and Honorary Professor of Psychology at Heidelberg University, Germany.  Previously, Sternberg served 8 ½ years in academic administration as a university dean, senior vice-president, and president.  Before that, he was IBM Professor of Psychology and Education and Professor of Management at Yale and Director of the Yale Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise.

Sternberg is a Past President of the American Psychological Association, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Eastern Psychological Association, and the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology. Sternberg also has been president of four divisions of the American Psychological Association and Treasurer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Sternberg’s BA is from Yale University summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, his PhD is from Stanford University, and he holds 13 honorary doctorates. Sternberg has won more than two dozen awards for his work, including the James McKeen Cattell Award (1999) and the William James Fellow Award (2017) from APS.  He also is the winner of the Grawemeyer Award in Psychology (2018).  He is the author of over 1800 publications.

He was cited by as the #10 top psychological scientist in the US and #20 in the world.  He also was cited in an APA Monitor on Psychology report as one of the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century and in a report in Archives of Scientific Psychology by Diener and colleagues as one of the top 200 psychologists of the modern era.  He was cited by Griggs and Christopher in Teaching of Psychology as one of the top-cited scholars in introductory-psychology textbooks.  According to Google Scholar, he has been cited over 200,000 times with an  index of 227. Sternberg is a member of the US National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Sternberg will present the keynote via video-stream.

Time Bomb: How the Western Conception of Intelligence is Taking Down Humanity and What to Do about It

Abstract of the keynote

Teachers of psychology have a responsibility to prepare students for the world they actually will confront, not just a hypothetical world that exists only in theory or laboratory settings. During the 20th century, IQs rose an incredible 30 points—two full standard deviations!  Higher IQs may have helped people deal better with computers, cell phones, and other technological innovations, but they seem to have been a time bomb—they have been worse than useless in dealing with the truly serious problems that confront the world today.  These problems include, but are not limited to global climate change, nuclear weapons, uncontrolled violence such as in school shootings, terrorism, growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics, pandemics, unprecedented income disparities, unaffordable health care, pollution, and homelessness, to name just a few.  Many societies have built a funnel that restricts opportunities for people who underperform on academic measures—whether IQ-test proxies or courses in school.  And yet, it is high IQ that is in part responsible for many of the world’s problems.  That is, it took smart people to create the technology that is polluting our air and our water, that threatens nuclear destruction, and that has created the carbon emissions that are threatening the entire world.  If our species is so smart, with its high standardized test scores, why are we slowly committing species suicide, which will provide a more and more dystopian world for each successive generation, and why are we taking down so many other species with us?

I argue for teaching for, and assessing not so much IQ and its proxies, but rather the adaptive skills that are needed to make a positive, meaningful, and possibly enduring difference to the world.  We have more than enough high-IQ scientists, businesspeople, and even politicians.  What we need –before it is too late--are people who are willing and able—who have the creative, analytical, practical, and wisdom-based skills--to make the world a better place.

Prof. Dr. Therése Skoog

Dr Therése Skoog is Professor of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is also an expert for the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education and section editor for the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. She conducts basic and applied research in the area of psychosocial development among young people, with a particular focus on social relations, health, and resilience. She is dedicated to advancing knowledge that can help improve psychological health and development for all young people, not least University students.

Professor Skoog has been working in Psychology research and teaching on all levels in the three-cycle Bologna system since 2002. Her work in the area of Psychology learning and teaching is heavily influenced by the evidence-based practice in higher education, scholarship of teaching and learning, and self-determination frameworks. The frameworks converge in emphasizing the student, the student experience, and student learning as the centers of higher education practice. 

Professor Skoog was honored with the title Distinguished University Teacher in 2015. She has also been granted the best female teacher award from the student council at Örebro University, Sweden. Since 2019, she is a member of the unit council of the unit for Pedagogical Development and Interactive Learning at the University of Gothenburg.

Professor Skoog was affiliated with Örebro University 2002-2017, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology 2015-2018, and Jönköping University 2018-2019.

Professor Skoog is currently Director of the Sustainable and Accessible Learning Environment (SALE) project at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Higher education encompasses significant transitions and challenges in the lives of students. This has implications not only for students’ learning but also for their mental health. The SALE project was designed to identify the role of learning environments in students’ health and learning experiences and to identify ways to develop health supporting learning environments for all. The hope is that this will contribute to a more sustainable tertiary educational system that will play a major role in the future development of sustainable societies. Professor Skoog’s keynote will describe the SALE project and what lessons can be learned from it.

Dr. Skoog will be present at the conference in Umeå.


Sustainable and accessible learning environments in higher education

Abstract of the keynote

Higher education institutions, and psychology departments in particular, have a responsibility to prioritize student health and an inclusive learning environment. As a field that studies the human mind, behaviour, and mental health, psychology departments should set an example by prioritizing the well-being of their students.

In recent years, the prevalence of stress and mental health issues among students has become a growing concern and can lead to burnout and a host of health problems. It can also lead to dropout and low achievements. By prioritizing student health, higher education institutions can help students to thrive academically and in life, and psychology departments can play a leading role in addressing this challenge. This includes not only teaching about psychology, but also promoting healthy habits, providing access to mental health services, and creating a supportive learning environment that promotes well-being.

Furthermore, psychology departments must prioritize creating an inclusive learning environment that celebrates diversity and encourages collaboration. This includes providing accommodations for students with disabilities, creating safe spaces for underrepresented groups, and fostering an environment that embraces different perspectives and backgrounds.

By prioritizing student health and an inclusive learning environment, psychology departments can create a more supportive and productive academic environment. This will benefit not only students but also faculty and staff, who are likely to feel more motivated and fulfilled in their roles.

In conclusion, psychology departments, and higher education institutions in general, must prioritize student health and an inclusive learning environment to support the success of their students. By doing so, we can create a more equitable, resilient, and prosperous society, and ensure that the field of psychology remains at the forefront of promoting mental health and well-being.The case used in this presentation is an initiative at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, which has the aim to help build and promote sustainable and accessible environments for students that promote not only learning but also mental health.

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