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Are you interested in building your understanding of the latest research in psychology and learning science?

Do you need fresh ideas and research-based strategies to support students in sustaining their effort through struggles or setbacks?

Are you looking for a support group of peers and other education leaders?

Are you willing to try new classroom techniques that promote students’ productive persistence and learning mindsets that improve overall classroom climate and culture?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we invite you to participate in FOCI Series 3.

This FOCI series is not restricted to mathematics instructors. Faculty members from all departments are encouraged to participate!

Empowering Students as Learners:

Fostering engagement and persistence through psychosocial strategies and learning science

This FOCI series consists of six sessions that examine the most compelling research-based ideas and strategies from psychology and learning sciences that address the needs of college students from diverse backgrounds and preparation. Experience collaborative activities and engage with relevant readings, videos, and research summaries. Personalize your learning by planning for and enacting modest changes in your classrooms (including remote learning settings) and professional learning communities. These instructional adjustments have the potential for transformative change in students’ learning mindsets, persistence, and the overall learning environment.

FOCI sessions are highly interactive and take place online via Zoom in a secure virtual meeting room. There is no travel required to participate!

You’ll work with a cohort of peers in large and small groups to learn together. Facilitators from the Charles A. Dana Center will guide each session and ensure that you have all the tools and support you need to apply your knowledge effectively in the classroom.

To allow ample time to complete the deep work required for this series, there will always be a few weeks between sessions. Participants should commit to attending all six sessions and completing the between-session work over the course of the series.

Our state-of-the-art videoconferencing.


Explore our complete FOCI offerings.

Session-by-Session Outcomes

  • Session 1: Introduction to Psychosocial Factors
    • Establish a safe, participant-centered learning environment for the cohort.
    • Set goals for participation and growth during this professional learning series.
    • Investigate what we mean by psychosocial factors and learning science.
    • Explore introductory information about learning mindsets and growth mindset.
  • Session 2: Growth Mindset and the Neuroscience of Learning
    • Continue to investigate the academic impact of students’ self-beliefs.
    • Deepen understanding of growth mindset and related faculty strategies that have the power to transform learning environments.
    • Explore key ideas and strategies from the neuroscience of learning mindsets and connect that learning with classroom strategies.
  • Session 3: Motivational Factors, Autonomy, and Purpose
    • Explore key dimensions of motivation.
    • Determine key strategies to support students’ autonomy.
    • Discuss strategies that support students to monitor their own learning and to seek help when needed.
  • Session 4: Belonging in a Learning Community
    • Discuss key research on the importance of belonging and related strategies.
    • Investigate impediments to belonging, including learning orientations.
    • Understand how a growth mindset culture promotes belonging and relatedness.
  • Session 5: Productive Persistence
    • Explore the research supporting the development of students’ productive persistence and self-efficacy.
    • Connect students’ self-efficacy to additional learning mindset strategies.
    • Explore the power of mistakes as opportunities.
  • Session 6: Applying Psychosocial Factors in Syllabi and Course Design
    • Discuss and determine how to implement the key ideas and strategies introduced in this series into your course structure, syllabus, assessment, and routines.
    • Identify next steps for planning and enactment of strategies learned in the series.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the cost to participate in FOCI?

    This FOCI series costs $475 per person to participate.

  • What is my commitment?

    Actively participating in the full series of 6 sessions (12 total hours)
    Each session is 2 hours long. During each session we will use authentic situations to explore, struggle with, and make sense of psychosocial strategies and learning science. Session delivery uses the video and audio features of Zoom. This technology enables us to converse “face-to-face” in real time, in large and small groups, without the expense and hassle of traveling to a central location.

    Preparing for each session and trying new ideas in your own classroom after each session
    Prior to each session, you are expected to do a limited amount of preparation work, often a short reading, video viewing, document analysis, and/or personal reflection. After each session, you commit to trying a technique or approach we discussed during the session.

    Contributing to the large and small group discussions; supporting your peers
    Contribute in the large and small group discussions, bringing your own perspectives and prior experiences into the conversations. Collegially engage in conversations and application activities focused on deepening student understanding through effective student discourse and collaboration.

  • What support will I get from the Dana Center?

    FOCI materials
    You will receive high quality, well-researched, and thoughtful materials for the entire series. All session materials – readings, reflections, handouts, and slide decks - will be provided. You will also have access to recordings of the sessions so that you can review the content on your own.

    Support from trained facilitators
    Dana Center curriculum and professional learning specialists will lead the sessions. These individuals are available to answer questions and provide support during and between the sessions. They can address content and application questions as well as technology issues (e.g. the video conferencing platform).

    Certificate of completion
    You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the series that may be submitted with tenure or promotional materials for your department. The topics and number of hours of professional learning you completed will be listed on the certificate.