Tag: Human Development


Labyrinth walk has deep significance in a year of religious turmoil

Creating and walking a labyrinth has been a capstone activity for award-winning Prof. Regan Gurung’s freshman seminar: “Gods, Ghosts and Goblins,” each year. This year, however, it may take on just a bit more meaning, and move students a bit more deeply.

“Our seminar class will be creating our own labyrinth and walking it to personify many elements of class discussion and experience first hand the wisdom of the ancients,” explains Gurung. “Given the secular nature of the experience and significant current religious turmoil and prejudices abounding, we will highlight a message of acceptance by also adding symbols of many different belief systems. It is important to be knowledgeable about diverse beliefs and respect people’s decision to pick their beliefs. Just like the rotten fruit, we should not allow one bad apple to taint the entire bushel.”

Gurung says strong a college experience always sparks intellectual growth and venturing into new ideas.

“One of the most fascinating topics of growth is belief,” says Gurung. “Humans hold many diverse beliefs and over the centuries gods, ghosts, and goblins have populated world religions, legends, and mythology. One first year seminar class focuses on answering the question of why people believe. What purpose does it serve? How do beliefs grow? This interdisciplinary class examines different disciplines such as psychology, biology, anthropology, and theology, to answer these questions.

Gurung says that at the core of most belief systems is reflection and one of the longest standing means of reflection is the labyrinth.

“Humans have used labyrinths for centuries as a means of meditation and reflection, to take a break from the world walking into its center, before walking back out into the world again (a labyrinth has only one path, unlike a maze which has many),” he explains. “In true interdisciplinary fashion, the labyrinth also blends science, art, and religion, both in the knowledge needed to create one, and in understanding the brain activity that takes place when you walk one.”

From medieval times, monks have traveled labyrinths in prayer. St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, for instance, maintains a prayer labyrinth.

“The focus on belief reveals many communalities in purpose, and highlights that regardless of the belief is, the underlying reasons for belief and the way they came about are very often the same.

“In a world with significant ethnic and religious strife, the explorations into belief show how, for the most part, that peoples and the religions of the world are similar. Just like apples and oranges (fruits often exemplified to show difference) are vastly more similar than different, so too are the world’s major religions. And just like you do not throw out an entire bushel for one bad fruit, we should not demonize an entire religion for some extremist practitioners of it.”

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Outreach and Adult Access

Psychology program lands national conference 

UW-Green Bay’s Psychology program has received great news with the announcement UWGB has been selected to host the American Psychological Association’s Summit on National Assessment of Psychology (APA SNAP, for short) June 21-25, 2016. About 30 leading psychologists from across the nation will participate. Associate Prof. Ryan Martin, chair of Psychology and member of the Human Development faculty, notes that the APA has assigned Prof. Regan Gurung to co-chair the select event. The attendees, experts in evidence-based educational assessment, will be charged with building a collection of digital and/or print resources to assist college-level psychology departments assess student learning outcomes. An APA press release has more.

Gurung, student publish article on exam scores, learning techniques

How students study is important, but faculty and student self-efficacy are also significant predictors of exam scores. Psychology Prof. Regan A. R. Gurung of Human Development and Brianna Bartolewski, a recent UW-Green Bay graduate in Psychology now in graduate school at Marquette, just published the article “Comparing the relationship of learning techniques and exam score.” You can see an abstract of the article published by the American Psychological Association’s Psychnet site.

Faculty, staff to present at Ally Conference

The Oct. 24 diversity and equality conference at UW-Green Bay will feature presentations by a good many faculty and staff members of the University. As of this date, presenters include: Christin DePouw, Education; Joel Muraco, Human Development; Kristin Vespia, Human Development; Pao Lor, Education; Stacie Christian, Human Development; Kristy Aoki, Office of International Education; Jemma Lund, Office of International Education; Justin Mallett, American Intercultural Center; Mai Lo Lee, American Intercultural Center; Crystal Lepscier, American Intercultural Center; and Jeff Willems, Residence Life.

UWGB faculty participate in boosting liberal education

On Thursday and Friday, Sept. 24 and 25, seven UW-Green Bay faculty members traveled to Madison to attend “Connecting Your Work to LEAP Wisconsin: A Faculty Collaboratives Conference.”

Organized by the UW System and AACU — the national Association of American Colleges and Universities — the conference focused on strategies for providing he highest quality learning experiences for students, connecting essential learning outcomes to institutional disciplines, and assessing student learning.

The nationwide LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) seeks to advance liberal learning and high-quality undergraduate education for all students. Wisconsin and the UW System were pilot partners when the campaign launched in 2005. Workshops at the recent Madison conference included Advocacy, Signature Work, Tuning, Providing Evidence of Student Learning, Curriculum Mapping for General Education, and Value Rubrics.

The UW-Green Bay participants (from left, photo below) were JP Leary, assistant professor, First Nations Studies; Jennifer Ham, associate professor, Humanistic Studies; Heidi Fencl, professor and chair, Physics; Alison Gates, associate professor and chair, Art; Doreen Higgins, associate professor, Social Work; Kate Burns, associateprofessor and chair, Psychology and Human Development; and Matt Dornbush, associate vice provost for academic affairs and director of graduate Studies.


Culture/Development Lab is looking for babies, toddlers for major study

UW-Green Bay’s Culture and Development Lab directed by Assistant Prof. Sawa Senzaki is looking for local parents interested in having their babies (5-18 months) participate in a major international study of baby’s social understanding. The study is part of a large international collaboration with Canadian and Japanese researchers. Senzaki is asking alumni, University employees and students with young children to consider volunteering for a visit. Participation is easy, with only a single 30- to 45-minute session in which the parent and the baby read some books and watch some short videos while Senzaki and her student research assistants observe. Participants will receive a small toy or a book as a token of appreciation. If you’re interested, please email Senzaki at senzakis@uwgb.edu or sign up at the website. “We really appreciate your help to have a better scientific understanding of infant development!”

UW-Green Bay ‘Teaching Scholars’ to present next Wednesday

Six professors from across the University who have participated in the UW-Green Bay Teaching Scholars Program will talk about their work at a gathering next Wednesday (Sept. 23). They’ll be present to discuss their SoTL projects (exploring the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and ways to enhance undergraduate education) from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in MAC Hall 201 (the Gathering Room). “Please stop by to talk with the scholars about their projects and celebrate their hard work.”

The six Teaching Scholars are:

  • Tohoro Akakpo, Social Work
  • JP Leary, First Nations Studies
  • Eric Morgan, Democracy and Justice Studies
  • Sawa Senzaki, Human Development
  • Jon Shelton, Democracy and Justice Studies
  • Aaron Weinschenk, Public and Environmental Affairs

Faculty note: Gurung publication

Regan A. R. Gurung, the Ben J. & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Human Development and Psychology, has two chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Undergraduate Psychology Education (Dunn, 2015). One, Teaching health psychology was co-authored with UW-Green Bay Psychology major and recent graduate Elise Rittenhouse, the other is a guide to Conducting and applying the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Gurung shares secrets of learning

Psychology Prof. Regan A.R. Gurung of Human Development contributed a guest column to the Green Bay Press-Gazette this week. It offers hints on learning (as opposed to “cramming”) for students returning to school. He shares the latest thinking from cognitive science research, including three key suggestions: Start early and return to the material on multiple occasions; test yourself regularly (think of it as “practice retrieval” and not testing); and use “deep processing” to translate the material into your own words and custom create examples applicable to your own life. It also helps to have the mindset you can make yourself “smarter” by exercising your brain. Because you can.