College of Education host of Waterbury Summit May 14-16

May 09, 2019

Penn State's College of Education will welcome some of the country's top luminaries in the field of the Learning Sciences at its Waterbury Summit scheduled for May 14-16 at Krause Learning Space in 221 Chambers Building on the University Park campus.

Heterogeneity in the Learning Sciences is the conference theme. Its research has been driven by an understanding that students are heterogenous across the multiple dimensions of identity, culture and cognition. Learning scientists represent a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and study how scientific research generates and applies scientific knowledge, or epistemic resources, for solving real-world problems.

"The summit will bring together emerging/established young scholars in the Learning Sciences in a forum that will allow for some rich conversations that do not happen in typical conference contexts," said Scott McDonald, associate professor of science education, director of the Krause Innovation Studio and convener of the Learning Sciences Initiative.

"This is a conversational conference which aims to engage both a group of scholars and all the participants in conversations around key issues in the field of Learning Sciences. The theme of heterogeneities is one that came out of a retreat we had in the fall with faculty here at Penn State, but it represents a core commitment in the Learning Sciences to bring an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary approach to investigating problems or phenomena in teaching and learning," McDonald said.

Invited guest speakers are Megan Bang, Spencer Foundation; Tamara Clegg, University of Maryland; Kevin Crowley, University of Pittsburgh; Dick Grandy, Rice University; Kris Gutierrez, Cal-Berkeley; Carol Lee, Northwestern; Victor Lee, Utah State; Eve Manz, Boston University; Bill Sandoval, UCLA; Rafi Santo, CSforALL; David Stroupe, Michigan State; Katie Headrick Taylor, University of Washington; and Susan Yoon, University of Pennsylvania.

They will be keynote speakers at sessions such as epistemic heterogeneity, data heterogeneity, cultural heterogeneity and heterogeneity of impact. 

Richard Duschl is the Waterbury Chair in Secondary Education in the College of Education. Responding speakers from the College of Education include Tanner Vea, assistant professor, learning and performance systems; Karen Murphy, distinguished professor of education and the Harry and Marion Eberle Faculty Fellow in Educational Psychology, Counseling and Special Education; Gabriela Richard, assistant professor of education, learning and performance systems; Ty Hollet, professor of education (learning sciences), learning and performance systems; and Joanna Weidler-Lewis, post-doctoral scholar, curriculum and instruction.

"We are lucky enough to have Kris Gutierrez and Carol Lee in the cultural heterogeneities session, both of whom are pre-eminent scholars and former presidents of AERA (American Educational Research Association), along with Megan Bang, who is a rising star in the same area of scholarship," McDonald said. 

"We also have Susan Yoon, the current editor of the flagship journal in the field, the Journal of the Learning Sciences; Bill Sandoval, the outgoing president of the International Society of the Learning Sciences, not to mention a number of exceptional scholars from here at Penn State."

The strength of the Learning Sciences as a field it its researchers' willingness to embrace diversity and complexity in an effort to understand learning and to design environments that capitalize on that understanding to create innovative and powerful learning experiences.

"We are hoping both to showcase the excellent work that is being done here at Penn State in the Learning Sciences as well as draw on this exceptional group of Learning Scientists from outside our community to discuss key areas of interest in the Learning Sciences that could inform a future research agenda for both Penn State Learning Scientists and those in the field more broadly," McDonald said.

For additional information about the Waterbury Summit, visit

  • ScottMcD

    Scott McDonald

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 19, 2019