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WCSU Scholars in Action online forum to stream March 16

DANBURY, CONN. — The Western Connecticut State University Office of the Provost will host a Scholars in Action program presented via Webex on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, featuring six WCSU faculty members in a panel discussion about “Learning from Each Other: Collaborating with Students and Colleagues for a Better Educational Experience.”

Participants in the online program beginning at 4 p.m. will include faculty discussing their recent scholarly work in the fields of education, communication, music and health promotion. The public is invited to join the Webex presentation at no charge by accessing the registration page for the event.

Featured panelists are Dr. Katherine Roe, assistant professor of Education and Educational Psychology; Dr. Caroline Waldbuesser, assistant professor of Communication and Media Arts; Dr. Laurel Larsen, chair of the Department of Music; Dr. Douglas O’Grady, professor of Music; and Dr. Robyn Housemann and Dr. Emily Stevens, co-chairs of the Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Missy Alexander will moderate the panel.

Following are the topics that the panelists will discuss during the program:

  • Roe will focus on the relevance of students’ cultural, community and family backgrounds to their educational experience in her presentation, “Supporting Student Assets and Demonstrating Respect for Funds of Knowledge.” Roe explained that the Funds of Knowledge concept in pedagogy recognizes that each student brings the assets gained from their personal experiences — their family background, their cultural heritage and their daily life and work within the community — to the classroom.
  • Waldbuesser will draw upon her research investigation of instructional communication to discuss “Difficult Conversations in the Classroom.” Her talk will deal with strategies to conduct challenging and productive conversations with students related to often emotional topics such as politics, culture and mental health. The specific impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students’ mental health also will be discussed.
  • Larsen and O’Grady will explore the educational benefits of harmonizing instruction in music theory, sight singing and class piano in their presentation, “How Collaboration and Coordination Between Music Faculty Improves Student Success in Core Music Classes.” The panelists noted that curricula in these three areas often have a disconnected instructional approach. They will outline specific changes to standard keyboard exercises, realigned to complement and reinforce music theory topics and competencies in ways that have strengthened students’ ability to transfer skills between these core instructional areas.
  • Housemann and Stevens will discuss their research on the impact of a cohort approach to education in improving student retention rates in their talk, “Factors that May Influence Student Retention in a Cohort Model in Public Higher Education.” Noting the importance of increasing student retention rates in higher education, the panelists have studied the experiences of students who remained part of a defined cohort throughout their degree program to determine what may have influenced their decisions to stay through graduation. “Understanding how students balance their time with competing demands, as well as satisfaction with academic and curricular opportunities, may provide insight into factors that could influence retention in public higher education,” they observed.

For more information, contact Sherri Hill of the Office of University Relations at The online registration page for the event may be accessed at the following URL link:



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.