Professional Enrichment Day 2022

Tuesday, August 30, 2022 from 9:00AM to 3:00PM

Neuroscience-Informed Practices for Supporting Student Success

A Hybrid Event

Attend in-person at the Oakland campus or virtually via Zoom. You can also participate online as a group at the Sacramento or Peninsula campus; Robyn Heise and Andrew Castro will provide details to their respective campuses. Professional Enrichment Day is sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of People and Culture.

Register for Lunch

Box lunches will be provided at the Oakland, Sacramento, and Peninsula campuses. DoorDash gift cards will be emailed to virtual participants; please note that gift cards are subject to tax implications. Please register if you would like to receive a box lunch or a $25 DoorDash gift card. 

Continuing Education Units 

The Faculty Development Committee is pleased to offer continuing education units to nursing and occupational therapy attendees at this event. If you wish to receive CEUs for attendance at Professional Enrichment Day, please complete the “sign in” and “sign out” surveys for your respective profession.  To receive CEUs, you will be required to complete the Feedback Survey at the end of the day.  Your certificates will be emailed to you within 90 days after the event.

Approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number 11258, for 5.0 contact hours. Attendance at this event is free of charge.  

       Nursing           Sign In   //   Sign Out

                 OT            Sign In   //   Sign Out


9:00 to 10:20
Opening and Keynote

Bechtel Room, Health Education Center
Join the Zoom Session

9:00 to 9:05
Opening Announcements
Cynthia Stacy, Faculty Development Committee Co-Chair

9:05 to 9:15    
Welcome Address
President Ching-Hua Wang

9:15 to 9:20    
Wellness Practice
BeWell SMU

9:20 to 9:25
Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Provost Fred Baldini

9:25 to 10:15        
Keynote: Teaching as Brain-Changing
Dr. Melinda Owens, Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Neurobiology, University of California San Diego

10:15 to 10:20
Overview of Breakout Sessions

10:20 to 10:35

10:35 to 11:50
Round 1 of Breakout Sessions

Breakout A: Supporting Our Students with Managing Stress     
Anglyn Sasser
Room 103, Health Education Center
Join the Zoom Session

Breakout B: Cultivating an Inclusive Environment of Engagement and Belonging 
Marcus Penn & Beth Ching
Room 105, Health Education Center  
Join the Zoom Session

Breakout C: The Science of Simulation: Strategies, Tools and Habits to Maximize Learning Outcomes 
Simulation Educators from the Health Sciences Simulation Center
Room 312, Health Education Center  
Join the Zoom Session 

Breakout D: Concept Mapping: Visualizing Connections for Student Success 
Liz Winer, Mark Beck, and Christine Broz
HEC 311, Health Education Center  
Join the Zoom Session 

11:50 to 1:00
Lunch Break

1:00 to 2:15
Round 2 of Breakout Sessions

Same topics, locations, and Zoom links as above

2:15 to 2:30

2:30 to 3:00

Bechtel Room, Health Education Center  
Join the Zoom Session 

  • Reflection by Eva Gonzalez-Hilliard, Chief Human Resources Officer, Office of People and Culture
  • Closing Announcements by Catherine Tanner, Incoming Chair, Faculty Development Committee
  • Wellness Practice led by BeWell SMU
  • Complete feedback survey


Teaching as Brain Changing: Teaching Strategies Aligned with the Neuroscience of Learning
What goes on in our student's brains when they learn? Neuroscientists have found that learning causes physical changes in our brains. Separately, cognitive psychologist and educators have discovered teaching strategies that are more effective than traditional lecture at engaging and teaching diverse students. In this talk, we will introduce of some these effective, inclusive teaching strategies and draw connections between them and the neuroscientific principles behind learning.

Learning outcomes:

  1. List neuroscientific principles relevant to human learning
  2. Discuss how various teaching methods do or do not align with neuroscientific principles about learning

About the keynote speaker

Photo: Keynote Speaker, Melinda T. Owns

Melinda T. Owens, Ph.D. is neuroscientist, educator, and biology education researcher. She received a PhD. in Neuroscience from the University of California San Francisco studying the development and plasticity of the visual system in the brain. There, she also discovered a passion for teaching and the research behind effective teaching strategies. Afterwards, she taught in the pre-health post-baccalaureate program at California State University East Bay and the freshman Thinking Matters program at Stanford before doing a postdoctoral fellowship in Biology Education Research at San Francisco State University with Dr. Kimberly Tanner. Currently, she is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at University of California San Diego. Her research focuses on faculty development, student ideas about biological topics, and inclusive teaching. 

Resource for the keynote session

Handout: Teaching Strategies Aligned with the Neuroscience of Learning
Review Dr. Owens’s publication entitled Teaching as Brain Changing

Breakout Sessions

There will be two rounds of breakout sessions so that participants can attend two different workshops of their choice.

This workshop will focus on exploring current stressors for SMU students.  We will identify interventions that faculty and staff can use to help support our students’ efforts to better manage their stressors.  We will also discuss potential barriers to students seeking support from faculty and staff.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Identify current stressors for SMU students
  2. Define power dynamics and identify how to manage power dynamics in the classroom
  3. Identify signs of a student who is experiencing high stress 
  4. Identify specific interventions to support students in their stress management efforts.

Anglyn Sasser
Staff Clinical Psychologist, Student Health and Counseling Center

Prior to attending this session, please register for TAO, browse the topics, and think about which ones may be helpful for your students.

  1. Review the workshop resource.
  2. Register for TAO Self-help.
    1.  Go to
    2. Enter First Name, Last Name, and your Samuel Merritt University email address.
    3. Leave the ‘Enrollment Key’ field blank.
    4. Click Sign Me Up.
    5. Check your email. You will be sent a Welcome to TAO email with a confirmation link which you must click on to sign in.

Join us in this workshop to learn how to cultivate an inclusive, engaging environment of belonging. The learner will have opportunities to participate in evidence-based engagement strategies and develop communication skills with a restorative practice lens.  Participants will come away knowing how to contribute to optimal working and learning environments. 

Learning outcomes:

  1. Identify the 4 strategies to build inclusive engagement practices.
  2. Discuss how to mitigate stereotype threat.
  3. Describe 3 tools for developing a thriving restorative environment.
  4. Commit to using one new way of addressing interpersonal harm.

Marcus "Adéshima" Lorenzo Penn
Faculty Diversity Coordinator
Restorative Practice Facilitator & Coach

Beth Ching
Associate Professor
Department of Occupational Therapy

Restorative Justice as the Rx for Mistreatment in Academic Medicine: Applications to Consider for Learners, Faculty, and Staff

Navigating the Tide: Health Science Student and Faculty of Color Academic Experiences

Join the HSSC Sim Educators in a workshop focused on the science of learning and why simulation-based learning is designed to create safe spaces for learning. Workshop will include discussions around do-overs and retakes, habits of the heart, real-time simulation huddles, debriefing for learning, and emerging strategies of simulation-based learning.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Describe how simulation is a safe tool in transforming your students’ learning. 
  2. Explain how remediating/do-overs are an evidence-based strategy for supporting learning. 
  3. Identify emerging tools for maximizing the educational yield of simulation-based learning activities. 

Amin Azaam
Simulation Educator focusing on faculty development and IPE

Ajitha Nair
Simulation Educator for Physical Therapy

Kevin Reilly
Simulation Educator for Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant, RN to BSN, and graduate nursing

Lina Gage-Kelly
Simulation Educator for pre-licensure nursing on the Oakland Campus

Christina Rey
Simulation Educator for pre-licensure nursing on the Peninsula Campus

Caleb Jacobs
Simulation Educator for pre-licensure nursing on the Sacramento Campus

Neuroscience research indicates that concept mapping is an effective active learning strategy. Learn how to utilize concept mapping in your classroom to foster critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and a growth mindset for your students. This workshop will provide practical takeaways and a toolkit to get started.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Describe how concept mapping promotes learning.
  2. Identify a concept from your discipline for which relational concept mapping techniques might be applicable.
  3. Identify an assignment that can be adapted to concept mapping with a corresponding rubric.

Mark Beck
Assistant Professor and Director, RN to BSN Program, College of Nursing

Liz Winer
Senior Instructional Designer, Academic & Instructional Innovation

Christine Broz
Senior Instructional Designer, Academic & Instructional Innovation