Tabor launching new M. Ed program in Neuroscience, trauma

The Tabor College Education Department and School of Graduate Studies will launch a new online Master of Education in Neuroscience and Trauma program in spring 2021.

This original, first-of-its-kind program is an answer to the vital need in America for trauma-informed educators and professionals. Any teacher, social worker, counselor or correction officer working with children who have suffered acute stress or trauma will find the program to be transformational in providing necessary knowledge and skills.

The program introduces and examines current research in psychology and the neuroscience of stress, trauma and resiliency. Graduate students in this M.Ed will progress from a foundational knowledge of anatomical and cognitive neuroscience to an advanced understanding of trauma-informed education that includes educational interventions.

“In my 25 years of education, the main problem I have seen with regard to teacher preparation is the lack of training teachers receive in neuroscience and psychology,” said David Stevens, associate professor of education at Tabor College. “Most teacher preparation programs are pretty good at preparing teachers for the art of teaching or pedagogy, but few are good at preparing teachers for the science of teaching or neuroscience and psychology.”

Many teachers or professionals feel unprepared to effectively engage with students who were disadvantaged by difficult life situations. Poverty, abuse and neglect are a few of the stress factors students suffer that make learning a burdensome challenge for them.

“To help bridge the gap in my own knowledge of these students’ challenges, I decided to do postdoctoral work on a certificate in neuroscience at Harvard University,” Stevens said. “After 12 years of neuroscience study/research, I have developed an educational foundation that is informed and grounded in the latest cognitive neuroscience.”

Upon joining Tabor in fall 2019, Stevens learned that his colleagues shared his enthusiasm for the cognitive sciences and whose knowledge and disciplines make them essential partners in the development of an online program for trauma-informed educators.

Psychology professor Jim Paulus, social work professor Lara Vanderhoof and biology professor Josh McLoud are the key faculty integral to the program’s development and teaching. The Master of Education in Neuroscience and Trauma is a 30-credit, five-semester program that can be completed in two years or less.

“Faith integration will be a natural theme throughout the program as each class will have a self-awareness component that examines the neuroscience and psychology of spirituality,” said Rick Bartlett, associate dean of graduate studies.

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