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Greater Good Summer Institute for Educators

Friday, June 27 - Wednesday, July 2, 2014
University of California, Berkeley
Clark Kerr Campus

The GGSC’s six-day Summer Institute equips educators with social-emotional learning tools that benefit both students and teachers.

Check out the Greater Good Events Calendar.

Thank you for your interest in the 2014 Summer Institute! The deadline to apply was February 28th, 2014. You may still submit an application, but because the application deadline has already passed, your name will automatically be added to the wait list.

I’ve attended many conferences/trainings over the years—this was the best! This experience changed my life profoundly, both personally and professionally, and because of it, I will be able to effect a positive change in the lives of others. —2013 Summer Institute Participant

At the Greater Good Science Center, we believe that the social and emotional well-being of students and teachers is vital to creating safe and caring learning environments in which all students thrive academically and socially.

According to research, instruction in social-emotional learning:

  • Increases academic achievement;
  • Promotes positive attitudes toward self, school, and others;
  • Reduces problem behaviors and emotional distress among students—which, in turn, reduces teacher burnout.
2014 speakers include, clockwise from top left: Rick Hanson, Brooke Dodson-Lavelle, Rudy Mendoza-Denton, Vicki Zakrzewski, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Joyce Dorado, Fred Luskin, & Megan Cowan 2014 speakers include, clockwise from top left: Rick Hanson, Brooke Dodson-Lavelle, Rudy Mendoza-Denton, Vicki Zakrzewski, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Joyce Dorado, Fred Luskin, & Megan Cowan

At the Center’s Summer Institute, participants will walk away with cutting-edge, science-based strategies, tools, and techniques to promote social and emotional well-being for themselves and in their classrooms and schools.

We have assembled a group of world-renowned experts, such as Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and best-selling author of Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness, and Megan Cowan, co-founder and executive director of Mindful Schools, who will share their wisdom, insights, and expertise on cultivating social and emotional well-being within ourselves and our students.

The institute will be an in-depth learning laboratory where participants engage actively with the material through workshops and discussions, role-plays, peer coaching, and other interactive techniques that can also be used with students. Topics include: mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, empathy, gratitude, achieving and maintaining positive emotions, awe, forgiveness, working with students who have experienced trauma, and promoting cross-group friendships to overcome racism, prejudice, and stigma.

Summer Institute Overview

Please click on a link below to learn more about the institute, or scroll down the page.

Program Objectives

Participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore the latest scientific research on the benefits of cultivating social-emotional skills;
  • Learn research-based practices for fostering social-emotional well-being in themselves and students;
  • Engage with thought leaders around how to make the case for the importance of social-emotional learning in their schools and communities.


  • The Institute is a very hands-on, group-oriented experience, designed to give participants the direct experience of a safe and caring learning environment.
  • In addition to lectures, participants will also engage in discussions, one-on-one coaching, and other community-building activities throughout the day and evening.
  • Full-time participation is expected throughout the Institute. If you are unable to participate fully, kindly consider applying again next year.

Who Should Attend

Teacher/administrator Mima Takemoto, a participant in the Summer Institute. Teacher/administrator Mima Takemoto, a participant in the Summer Institute. Ann Shulman

Pre-K through university-level educators, counselors, psychologists, and school and district-level administrators, as well as college instructors and education professors, who are interested in the social-emotional well-being of students and in creating positive school environments

What is Included

  • 6 days of training
  • Accommodations and all meals (except one dinner) for 5 nights, 6 days
  • Web-based and printed materials
  • 1-year membership to the Greater Good Science Center
  • A certificate of completion and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction

Enrollment Instructions

The 2013 summer institute participants and organizers. The 2013 summer institute participants and organizers. Jason Marsh

Applications for the Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators were due February 28, 2014. You are still welcome to submit an application, but because the application deadline has passed, you will automatically be on the wait list. The application form can be found at the bottom of this page. Participants will be notified of admission by March 14, 2014, via email. If enrollment is full, then applicants will automatically be placed on a wait-list. Payment is due no later than May 1, 2014. If acceptance into the program falls less than 90 days prior to program start date, payment is due upon acceptance.


  • $2,200 per participant. This includes tuition, materials, room, and board (except one dinner). Participants are responsible for their own travel expenses and arrangements.
  • A limited number of partial scholarships will be awarded. To apply for a scholarship, please fill out the scholarship section on the application below. Please note that UC Berkeley policy prohibits us from awarding scholarships for travel.
  • Payment in full by check must be received by May 1, 2014. International participants may pay by wire transfer.

Accommodations and Meals

We understand that many local participants might prefer to sleep at home during the Institute. However, those from nearby communities during the 2013 SIE stated repeatedly how grateful they were for the opportunity to leave behind the daily stressors of life. Time away from home allowed them to fully engage in the learning community and to reflect more deeply upon the material. Therefore, we are requesting that all participants stay on campus.

Housing accommodations are located at the University of California, Berkeley, Clark Kerr Campus—a beautiful Spanish-style complex, highlighted by terra cotta accents, tiled fountains, and landscaped courtyards. Situated in a lovely Berkeley neighborhood, the campus is within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and the UC Berkeley main campus. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are several hiking trails with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay directly behind the campus.

The two- and three-bedroom suites have attractive living rooms and one or two bathrooms that are shared by suite occupants. Each participant will be assigned a private room with a shared bath.

Participants will dine in the Great Hall Dining Room with its richly paneled walls and coffered ceiling. Buffet menus offer a wide selection of hot entrees (including vegetarian and vegan options), a 100% organic salad bar, vegetables, soup, beverages, and desserts at each meal. All meals except one dinner are included, beginning with dinner on Friday, June 27, and ending with breakfast on Wednesday, July 2. Coffee, tea, and snacks will be available during the meeting sessions.


Participants are required to arrange their own travel arrangements. Please do not make any arrangements until you are admitted to the program. More details will be included in the registration package.

Parking permits are available for $14.00 per day.

Nearby airports:
Oakland International Airport
San Francisco International Airport

Transportation from the airport:
BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) + taxi
Bayporter (daytime, by reservation only)
Super Shuttle (evening, by reservation only)

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted via fax or email. Full refunds will be given up to 45 days prior to the start of the program. Due to program demand and pre-institute preparations, cancellations received 44-31 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of 10% of the program tuition. Cancellations received within 30 days prior to the start of the program and no-shows are subject to the full program tuition. Please note: cancellation fees are based upon the date the written request is received.

Contact Information

For more information, please email or call 510-642-2490.


Scholarship Details
A limited number of partial scholarships are available through an application process to those who are in financial need. In order to be considered for a partial scholarship, please complete the questions above and attach a letter of need explaining financial limitations from your principal or district administrator. Due to limited resources, we cannot guarantee that every application will result in a scholarship award.

2014 Speakers

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, a member of the Greater Good Science Center’s advisory board, and the author of the best-selling book, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. His Greater Good blog features posts from Just One Thing (JOT), his free newsletter offering a simple practice each week to bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind.

Megan Cowan received a B.A. in Comparative Health and Healing from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been practicing mindfulness since 1996 and working with children in various settings since 1999. As a cofounder of Mindful Schools, Megan has taught mindfulness to over 2000 children and trained over 200 teachers. Megan also consults with families on how to incorporate and apply mindfulness to address a variety of struggles that families encounter and increase the happiness of households.

Fred Luskin, Ph.D., is the director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Projects, a senior consultant in health promotion at Stanford University, and a professor at the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology, as well as an affiliate faculty member of the Greater Good Science Center. He is the author of Forgive for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness (Harper-SanFrancisco, 2001) and Stress Free for Good: Ten Proven Life Skills for Health and Happiness (HarperSanFrancisco, 2005), with Kenneth Pelletier, Ph.D.

Joyce Dorado, Ph.D., is the Co-Founder and Director of UCSF Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS), a program that aims to promote school success for children and adolescents who have experienced complex trauma.  HEARTS has been awarded a 2013 Excellence in Partnership Award from the University Community Partnership Council for its strong collaboration with San Francisco Unified School District.  Dr. Dorado is also the Director of Clinical Research and Evaluation, an Associate Clinical Professor at Child and Adolescent Services (CAS), Department of Psychiatry, UCSF-San Francisco General Hospital, and the former Co-Director of Clinical Training for the CAS Multicultural Clinical Training Program. Dr. Dorado earned her B.A. in Psychology at Stanford University, and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan.  Her clinical service and research has focused on a public health approach to addressing complex trauma in schools, child victim/witness testimony, family violence, and psychological trauma in children, youth and families from under-resourced urban communities.  She has been invited to speak about how to address trauma in schools at numerous events including the California Statewide Summit for Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court, has presented at national and international conferences, and has published her work in a number of books and journals.

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Ph.D., is the director of the Greater Good Science Center, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the co-editor of the Greater Good book, Are We Born Racist?: New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology.

Brooke Dodson-Lavelle, M.A., is leading Mind and Life Institute’s new Secular Ethics and Compassion Initiative. Her work focuses on the confluence of Buddhist contemplative theory and cognitive science, as well as the cultural contexts that shape the transmission, reception, and secularization of Buddhist contemplative practices in America. Brooke was lead instructor for several studies examining the efficacy of Cognitively-Based Compassion Training (CBCT) at Emory University, and has helped to develop and adapt CBCT for schoolchildren as well as adolescents in Atlanta’s foster care system. She served as the associate training director of the CBCT Teacher Training Program, which she co-developed. Brooke also acted as the program coordinator for the Emory-Tibet Partnership and from 2009 to 2011 co-led the Emory Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences Summer Study Abroad program in Dharamsala, India. Prior to attending Emory, where she is completing her PhD in the graduate division of religion, she earned her bachelor’s degree in religion and psychology at Barnard College and her master’s degree in religion at Columbia University. While at Columbia, she worked as a research coordinator for the Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, where she developed and taught mindfulness-based meditation programs for a variety of clinical populations.

Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D. Emiliana Simon-Thomas is the Science Director of the Greater Good Science Center. She earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley. During her postdoc, Emiliana studied care/nurturance, love of humanity, compassion, and awe under the mentorship of Dacher Keltner. Previously the Associate Director/Senior Scientist at the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, Emiliana’s research spans from the signaling, perceiving, and self-reporting of emotions to peripheral autonomic and neural indices of emotion to understanding the psychosocial benefits of emotional authenticity and connection. In other words, the potential for enhancing everything pro-social.

Vicki Zakrzewski, Ph.D., is the Education Director of the Greater Good Science Center. In her blog for the Center’s website, Vicki explores how the social-emotional skills of students contribute to their academic success and future ability to become caring members of society. She also provides science-based tips for promoting the social and emotional development of students, teachers, and administrators, as well as methods for creating positive school cultures. A former teacher and school administrator, Vicki recently spent two months in India—at a school awarded the Peace Education Prize by UNESCO and the Hope of Humanity Award by the Dalai Lama—in order to research their methods for developing teachers’ ability to create caring relationships with students. She earned her Ph.D. in Education and Positive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Tracker Pixel for Entry

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"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

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