CONNECT Conference

What is CONNECT?

In 1993, Lee Shulman argued against “pedagogical solitude,” suggesting that for teaching to be most effective, we must “go public” more.  We need more conversation about teaching, more opportunity to share what we do to promote student learning, and more venues in which this can happen. 

To provide such a forum, the Bruce K. Nelson Faculty Development Center is proud to host the Connect Teaching Conference. We are in the planning stages of the 2023 CONNECT Conference and look forward to sharing more details as they are finalized!

CONNECT 2022 Details

February 10-11, 2022

Keynote Speech: Trauma-Informed Education & Bearing Witness to Challenges and Resilience 

Speaker: Dr. Mays Imad

View a recording of the keynote speech here. 

View Dr. Imad's keynote slides here.

Image of a smiling woman with long dark hair wearing a colorful blue and purple shawl.


In The Book of Joy, the Dalai Lama invites us to develop our “mental immunity,” the skills we need, individually and collectively, to help ourselves and our communities guard against chronic stress so we may continue to learn and thrive. A key to developing such pivotal skills is understanding how our brains perceive and react to “triggers.”  In this interactive session, we began by considering the neuroscience of traumatic stress, especially as it relates to work-related traumatic experiences. We then considered the research behind the burnout epidemic and why this global phenomenon is something we must, as educators and leaders, not take lightly. Finally, we examined the notion of healing, at the individual and community levels, and what key ingredients are needed for us to move forward in a meaningful, elevating, and sustainable way. This session offered a combination of theory and practice. 


Mays Imad received her undergraduate training from the University of Michigan–Dearborn where she studied philosophy. She received her doctoral degree in Cellular & Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan. She then completed a National Institute of Health-Funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona in the Department of Neuroscience. She joined the department of life & physical sciences at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona as an adjunct faculty member in 2009 and later as a full-time faculty member in 2013. During her tenure at Pima, she taught Physiology, Pathophysiology, Genetics, Biotechnology, and Biomedical ethics. She also founded Pima’s Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).  

Mays is a Gardner Institute Fellow and an AAC&U Senior Fellow within the Office of Undergraduate STEM Education. Dr. Imad’s research focuses on stress, self-awareness, advocacy, and classroom community, and how these impact student learning and success. Through her teaching and research she seeks to provide her students with transformative opportunities that are grounded in the aesthetics of learning, truth-seeking, justice, and self-realization. 

Outside of the classroom, Dr. Imad works with faculty members across disciplines at her own institution and across the country to promote inclusive, equitable, and contextual education–all rooted in the latest research on the neurobiology of learning. A nationally-recognized expert on trauma-informed teaching and learning, she passionately advocates for institutions to make mental health a top priority and to systematically support the education of the whole student.

View Mays's recent publications

Follow Mays on Twitter

2021 CONNECT Mini Conference: Recording Available

Access a recording of the CONNECT 2021 Virtual Mini Conference.