DelVal counseling psychology faculty member presents at an international conference

Mar 07, 2012

Dr. Allison Buskirk-Cohen, an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Delaware Valley College,  participated in the invitation only Oxford Round Table Childhood Education Conference  held at the University of Oxford March 11-15. She  presented a paper and led a discussion at the conference.

» Read about the experience on her blog

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen said the event included 27 paper presentations and 27 discussions about the papers with professionals from 22 different states within the U.S. along with participants from Australia, Israel, and Nigeria.

The Round Table, at Oxford’s Harris Manchester College, is an interdisciplinary, international event. The sessions are by invitation only.

“It was an incredible experience. There was just so much information presented from different perspectives, different areas of the world," said Dr. Buskirk-Cohen. "It really gave a global sense of what is happening and how we really need to work together to make children a priority."

Dr. Robert Pierson, chair of the Food Science, Nutrition and Management department at DelVal, participated in a previous Oxford Round Table.

The conference covered issues related to child and adolescent development, a topic that Dr. Buskirk-Cohen has researched and presented and published on.

She presented “Intimate Disclosure and Internalizing Symptoms among Best Friends of Young Adolescents” at the conference.

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen said that as children move into adolescence they become more likely to be at risk for internalizing problems such as anxiety and depression. At the same time, she said they are forming strong, supportive relationships that one would expect protects them from internalizing their problems.

Her paper examines the research in different areas on how teens talk about their problems to see where the research overlaps.

She enjoyed meeting new people and interacting with educators from other parts of the world.

"It was also really fun on a personal level, just getting to visit another institution in a different place, and seeing how students interact with their professors there," said Dr. Buskirk-Cohen. “I’m really excited to continue working with the people I’ve met. I’d really like to either bring some of them to DelVal or have some of our students visit other parts of the world to interact with them. This is the first step of an exciting process.”

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen led a discussion at the Oxford Round Table on a presentation by Patsy J. Robles-Goodwin, a Texas Wesleyan University associate professor and director of ESL/Bilingual Programs. Her paper is entitled, “Making an Impact on Latino Young Children's Decisions and Values about Environmental Issues.”

The conference covered topics such as: planning the pre-K-3 program, integrating service learning into the classroom, preparing for an early literacy foundation, connecting instruction and assessment, providing a program for learning-to-reason with numbers, and implementing national and state standards for early literacy.

The conference also explored early childhood literacy topics such as: modern literacy strategies, understanding the pedagogy of reading and writing, children’s language production, reading interventions and outcomes, and effective methods based on evidence from research.

Conference participants also learned about topics related to ways children are put in harm’s way as well, such as: abuse, child slavery and sexual exploitation, interests of parents versus children, and child care and the law.

Participants had the opportunity to learn about other development topics such as: effects of family relationships, how peer interaction influences development, cultivation of good morals, the influence of formal education and the consequences of motivation and emotion.

Dr. Buskirk-Cohen is excited to be able to share what she learned with her students and discuss her experience at the conference in class.

“I think it is really important to be able to bring information from all areas of the world to the classroom,” said Dr. Buskirk-Cohen. “…I think it is vital that DelVal interacts with people from around the world and that we take advantage of the opportunities to bring that knowledge and experience back home with us.”

The Oxford Round Table is a not-for-profit educational organization with working relationships at some of Oxford’s 38 colleges.