Social and emotional learning conference 2024

Social and Emotional Learning Conference

Join us at the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Conference offered on the University of Northern Iowa campus on Friday, April 19, 2024, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. CT.

Be part of the dialogue as we explore ways to promote the social, emotional and behavioral health of children and educators in ways that advance equity and excellence in education.  

Special guest speakers this year include:

  • Keynote Speaker: Mark Sander, PsyD, co-director of the Midwest Center for School Mental Health, Minneapolis 
  • Guest Author: Todd Parr, renowned author and illustrator of more than 60 books for children

In addition, three sets of breakout sessions offers another 24 topics featuring local and regional experts in addition to an additional presentation by the keynoter Sander, and a fireside chat Q&A with author illustrator Parr. 

Hosted by the UNI College of Education, the conference will be held on site on UNI's campus with an online option for the keynote speaker and guest author talk at a reduced rate (see pending registration). Free to UNI faculty, staff and students. 

Who should attend: Teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, school administrators and anyone who works with youth and children in the community! 

Registration: $50 before March 15; $60 after March 15. $30 for the two leading guest speakers as an online-only option. UNI faculty, staff and students at no charge. Social Work CEUs ($15 for processing) and one hour of UNI undergraduate or graduate education credit for teaching license renewal also available.


Mark Sander

Mark Sander, Keynote

Mark Sander, PsyD, co-director of the Midwest Center for School Mental Health, a senior clinical psychologist for Hennepin County, Minnesota, and the director of school mental health for Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Schools. He is a certified master trainer on the Adverse Childhood Experience Study and a Visiting Scholar at Wilder Research. He is also on the Advisory Board for the Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a board member for the Minnesota Trauma Project. He has presented on school mental health and ACEs and developing trauma sensitive schools at local, state and national conferences while also publishing journal articles and book chapters on school mental health. He maintains a private practice in Minnetonka, Minnesota. 

Keynote Time: 8:40 to 10 a.m. CT 

Talk Topic: "Creating Trauma-Informed and Healing-Centered Schools" 

Sander will also present a breakout session on "Supporting Staff Well-Being and Health: Lessons Learned From 16 School Districts." 

Todd Parr

Todd Parr, Author

Todd Parr is the author and illustrator of more than 60 books for children, including the bestselling The I Love You Book, The Earth Book and The Thankful Book. He has inspired, empowered and entertained millions of children around the world with his bold images, unique sense of humor and inclusive storytelling. His books have received numerous awards are are available in 20 languages. He is the co-creator of the popular Daytime Emmy(R)-nominated animated TV series ToddWorld with Gerry Renert of SupperTimeEntertainment and several short films for Sesame Street have been based on his work. The Wyoming native supports numerous philanthropic causes supporting pet adoption, children's hunger, health and literacy. 

Keynote Time: 10:00 to 10:50 a.m. CT

Talk Topic: "Be Who You Are"  

In addition to his keynote, Parr will also be the featured author at a fireside chat. 

(All times Central Time) 

7:30-8:30 a.m.  Registration
Maucker Union Ballroom

8:30-8:40 a.m.  Welcome!
Dean Colleen Mulholland, College of Education
Maucker Union Ballroom

8:40-10 a.m. Keynote Speaker: Mark Sander
Maucker Union Ballroom

10-10:50 a.m. Guest Author: Todd Parr
Maucker Union Ballroom

10:50-11:10 a.m. Break
Travel from Maucker Union to Schindler Education Center

11:10 a.m.-Noon Breakout Session 1
Remainder of conference at Schindler Education Center

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch, Vendor Exhibits & Children's Book Author Signing

1-2:15 p.m. Breakout Session 2

2:15-2:30 p.m. Break

2:30-3:45 p.m. Breakout Session 3

Thank You!


At-A-Glance Schedule (Virtual) 

For a reduced rate of $30, you can register for the keynote session and guest author talk. All times Central Time. 

7:45-8:30 a.m.    Log In
Zoom link included in registration confirmation email

8:30-8:40 a.m.   Welcome!
Dean Colleen Mulholland, College of Education
Zoom link included in registration confirmation email

8:40-10 a.m.  
Keynote Speaker Mark Sander
Zoom link included in registration confirmation email

10-10:50 a.m. 
Author Talk: Todd Parr
Zoom link included in registration confirmation email

A related opportunity focusing on kids and mental health

Cedar Falls Mental Health NightIn town for the Social and Emotional Learning Conference? In partnership with the Cedar Falls Community School District, you're invited to take advantage of this related event sponsored by the Cedar Falls Schools Foundation. Lynn Lyons, LICSW, psychotherapist and author, will discuss: Modeling Matters: What Parents Need to Know (and Do) to Decrease Stress, Worry and Anxiety" on Thursday, April 18, at Cedar Falls High School, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Information about young people and mental health can be overwhelming and hard to sort through. Parents need strategies to help their children manage the anxiety, moods and social pressures. Based on current research and over 30 years of clinical experience, Lyons will talk about the common traps adults fall into and the key adjustments needed to prevent and help mental health challenges in our kids.