Assumption Professor Featured in Research in Action Podcast

Jan 07, 2019

Sarah Cavanagh, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology and associate director of the D’Amour Center for Teaching Excellence at Assumption University, was recently featured on Oregon State University’s Research in Action podcast. According to the Research in Action website, it is “a podcast about topics and issues related to research in higher education, featuring experts across a range of disciplines.” As an emotion regulation researcher, Prof. Cavanagh was invited to discuss her research in regards to emotions and teaching.

During her interview, Prof. Cavanagh shared her research and how as a professor, she has learned to manage different emotions that flow in her classroom by using a number of techniques learned from the academic literature as well as from conversing with faculty across the country.  Much of this discussion was the product of a series of lectures promoting her book, The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion. The book emphasizes the importance of emotional contagion, or, as Prof. Cavanagh explained on the podcast, the idea that “the professors’ emotions are impacting, even infecting, the students and vice versa, and that the classroom is a social environment where thoughts, emotions, and ideas are spreading.”

Prof. Cavanagh also shared information about her most recent research project, a three-year project funded by the Davis Educational Foundation, in which she and her colleagues—including fellow Assumption Professor James Lang, Ph.D.—are examining the impact of cognitive reappraisal and mindfulness on college learning. “We encourage students to rethink the meaning or interpretation of an event in order to alter its emotional impact,” she said, adding that the project is designed to “get the next generation excited about teaching.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.