Nationally Known Psychologist and Author to Discuss “Hope in a Time of Monsters”

Nationally Known Psychologist and Author to Discuss “Hope in a Time of Monsters”

Campus Life, Speakers

February 21, 2024

Nationally Known Psychologist and Author to Discuss “Hope in a Time of Monsters” Sarah Rose Cavanagh

Professor and education expert Sarah Rose Cavanagh, author of the new book Mind Over Monsters: Supporting Youth Mental Health with Compassionate Challenge, will speak in Hollins University’s Babcock Auditorium on Monday, March 4, at 9 a.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

Cavanagh is the senior associate director for teaching and learning at Simmons University, where she also teaches in the psychology department as an associate professor of practice. Her research considers the interplay of emotions, motivation, learning, and quality of life. In addition to Mind Over Monsters, she has written three other books, including The Spark of Learning: Energizing the College Classroom with the Science of Emotion (2016). She blogs for Psychology Today and has penned essays for Literary Hub and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“We are excited at Hollins to welcome a nationally known author to speak on one of the most pressing issues of our time: supporting student mental health,” says Nora Kizer Bell Provost Laura McLary. “Cavanagh also engages deeply in ways to support the mental health of faculty and staff in their roles as both teachers and mentors of students.”

In her interactive presentation, “Hope in a Time of Monsters: Supporting Faculty and Student Mental Health,” Cavanagh will offer research, food for thought, and practical applications based on her book on how higher education should respond to both faculty depletion and the student mental health crisis.

“The last several years of disruption, uncertainty, and overburdened workloads have exhausted teachers and students alike,” Cavanagh says. “Monsters have reared their heads, and we have understandably shrunk from them. Faculty are burnt out and students are experiencing an epidemic of mental health problems, especially anxiety.”

In order to support their mental health and reinvigorate their learning, Cavanagh asserts that “students need both compassion and care on the one hand, and assistance in developing competence and self-efficacy on the other. Faculty need relief from overburdened workloads, but also to reignite their love of teaching. They are sacrificing their own mental health, phoning it in out of desperation, or leaving the profession entirely.”

Published by Penguin Random House, Mind Over Monsters has been praised as “an important book” by Ken Bain, president of the Best Teachers Institute and author of What the Best College Teachers Do. “It makes a valuable contribution to the literature on teaching and learning, tackling an urgent mental health crisis, and how we can build the learning environments that will help students overcome that crisis and thrive,” he explains.