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Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education

About the Center

Director's Welcome

Our work at the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education seeks to advance the quality of teaching based upon insights gained from the cognitive and neural sciences as well as contribute to research in this new and evolving field.  We build collaborative research relationships with schools, develop research trajectories that profit from the strengths of our faculty and students and maintain a working and teaching laboratory for researchers and graduate students.  The work of students and faculty seek to align practice, research and policy decisions at all levels. Our focus also extends to community partners interested in education and developing strategic partnerships to explore innovative ways to support learning in any context. The potential in understanding how the brain and mind support learning provides opportunity and insight for all, as well as a powerful framework for developing useable knowledge.  If such a future in MBE sounds compelling to you, come and join the work unfolding at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Center’s Mission

The Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education focuses on creating collaborative relationships between educators, policy makers, and researchers in the cognitive and developmental sciences. The Center seeks to identify, support, and expand promising research agendas at the intersection of mind, brain and education. Participants will find a forum that rigorously examines how advances in the neural and cognitive sciences can inform educational practice and leadership as well as a context where they can leverage practical experiences to identify and refine new research directions.

History

In the fall of 2007, The University of Texas at Arlington began work to establish the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education to improve the understanding of the teaching and learning process by profiting from the achievements in the cognitive and neural sciences. The Center organized its efforts around three goals:

  • Facilitate collaborative relationships between educators, policy makers, and researchers in the cognitive and developmental sciences.
  • Identify and support promising research agendas at the intersection of mind, brain and education.
  • Advance educational research by recognizing and profiting from the role that practical experience plays in defining promising research directions.

In an attempt to coordinate practice and research, the Center and Arlington ISD began building a MBE Research Schools Network (RSN) in 2008. The network would serve as the nexus for the development of research programs and teacher development through collaborative relationships between teachers, administrators and researchers where ideas from MBE would be developed into measurable, sustainable and replicable curricula, programs, policies and services.  To support this work the Center also created several speaker series over the next couple of years to introduce MBE to the university and local community. 

In 2010, the University launched the Southwest Center for Mind, Brain and Education and a year later developed a Masters of Education in Mind, Brain and Education.  The first cohort began their two-year course of study in September of 2011.  Generous support provided scholarships through the Steffen Palko Endowed Graduate Fellowship program, which was matched by The University of Texas at Arlington to establish lasting support for future students. 

Over the course of its first five years, the Center has established working relationships with a number of partners outside of the Arlington community including, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the Strategic Education Research Partnerships (SERP) in Washington, The Fort Worth Museum of Science and Natural History, The Center for Brain Health at the University of Texas at Dallas, and Lectica (a Massachusetts non-profit dedicated to developing diagnostic and formative low-stakes standardized assessments of core skills and concepts).  Much of this work was captured in several publications in 2011: “The Birth of a Field and the Rebirth of the Laboratory School,” and later that year “Guiding Principles for a Research Schools Network: Successes and Challenges.” 

Schwartz, M.S. & Gerlach J. (2011b). “Guiding principles for a research schools network: Successes and challenges. Mind, Brain and Education. 5(4), 172-179.
Schwartz, M.S. & Gerlach J. (2011a). “The birth of a field and the rebirth of the laboratory school.”  Educational Philosophy and Theory. 43(1), 67-74.