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Provost’s Colloquium Series Presents “Our Students Today: Who Are We Teaching and What Are Their Struggles?”

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East Stroudsburg University’s Provost’s Colloquium Series, an intellectual experience that promotes dialogue among ESU faculty, staff, students, and community, concludes the Fall 2023 semester with, “Our Students Today: Who Are We Teaching and What Are Their Struggles?” to be presented in three parts. The presentation will take place on Wednesday, November 29, at 5:30 p.m. in Beers Lecture Hall and will also be live streamed on the ESU Live Events webpage.

First, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) will present “The Weight of Their Stories: Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Trauma in Higher Education.” The presenters, Heather Knickerbocker, R. Samantha Williams, Cornelia Sewell-Allen, D.Ed., and Jennifer Young, Ph.D., will discuss how when individuals allow others to hear their stories, it is a privilege that comes with costs. If not intentionally balanced and distributed, the weight of these stories can result in experiences of compassion fatigue and/or vicarious trauma. This presentation highlights the challenges that professionals in the education field face daily trying to navigate the complexities of the issues our students face while managing the impact of vicarious trauma and helping those who work with individuals who may have experienced trauma identify the potential signs of second hand trauma and compassion fatigue and develop protective strategies.

Next, Rebecca Migdal Kilicaslan, instructor of art + media + design, will present, “Healing Arts: Creative Self-Expression and Mental Health.” This portion of the presentation will show a psychological perspective on how the arts can be a tool for better mental wellness. Grounded in her doctoral research, Kilicaslan will explore the intersecting dynamics of individual, intergenerational and cultural traumas, and demonstrate the power of creativity and imagination as a catalyst for healing. Using examples from her own art and process, she will explore transformative tools for healing trauma around issues like gender and race.

Health and Wellness will give the final presentation. “Addressing Food Insecurity at ESU,” by Laura Suits-Dolan, D.H.Sc. and Bailey Higgins, DSW, will provide an overview of findings from the American College Health Association – National College Health Assessment III and recommendations to address food insecurity on campus.

For more information about the Provost’s Colloquium Series, contact Lynne Ozgur, assistant director, office of sponsored projects and research, at (570) 422-7908 or

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