Published on February 19, 2021 by Leighton Doores  
Amy Hoaglund and Karen Birkenfeld
Amy Hoaglund and Karen Birkenfeld

Two faculty members in Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education have earned a Faculty Development Grant awarded by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate.

Associate professor and chair of teacher education Karen Birkenfeld and professor and assistant dean Amy Hoaglund developed the trauma-informed instructional strategy implementation project. The project is designed to support teacher education candidates’ development of critical skills related to teaching children who have experienced trauma. This project fosters candidates’ ability to educate the whole child so that all students, particularly those from underserved populations, can thrive. 

Beginning next academic year, candidates will complete the trauma-informed instructional strategy implementation project after completing the faculty-led book study for Relationships, Responsibility, and Regulation: Trauma-Invested Practices for Fostering Resilient Learners by Kristin Souers and the online trauma-informed instruction training modules.

Birkenfeld and Hoaglund feel it is important to train teachers who are “trauma informed,” believing teachers who develop this mindset are able to create a classroom environment that is stable and fosters a sense of belonging for students who have experienced trauma.

“Trauma-informed instruction is not a curriculum,” said Hoaglund. “It is an approach where pre-service teachers develop strategies that are effective with all students and not just those who have experienced trauma. This approach will allow new teachers to develop better relationships with their students that will positively impact student learning.”

Birkenfeld and Hoaglund hope to provide candidates with the support they need to develop these strategies, allowing them to begin their practice with a strong foundation for positively resolving classroom conflicts and creating a classroom where all children will thrive.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.