Latoya C. Conner

Undergraduate Discipline

Psychology

BA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. PhD, MPhil, EdM, MA, Teachers College, Columbia University. APA-Accredited Internship, Yale University School of Medicine. A clinician, researcher, distinguished professor, and forensic psychologist with special interests in health disparities, grief, trauma, and cultural coping across the developmental lifespan; integrating compassion cultivation and yoga into practice; and psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral approaches to treatment. Author of scholarly publications and recipient of Spencer Foundation and NIH grants. SLC, 2019–

Undergraduate Courses 2019-2020

Psychology

Adverse Childhood Experiences: Post-Traumatic Growth in Urban America

Open , Seminar—Spring

This course will elucidate the insidious nature of developmental risk and resilience in the face of adversity. The incidence and prevalence of grief and trauma across the lifespan will be examined in the context of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and an ecological view of trauma and trauma recovery. We will explore ACEs as a common pathway to social, emotional, and cognitive impairments that lead to a greater risk for physical illness and mental health disorders, health risk behaviors, violence, re-victimization, obesity, disease, disability, and premature mortality. Individual differences in post-traumatic response and recovery are the result of interactions involving the person, the person’s environment, and the traumatic event. This complex relationship can promote social, cognitive, spiritual, and emotional health or impede growth and recovery. Clinical, community, and systemic-level interventions that promote resilience and post-traumatic growth will be discussed. Experiential learning and practical exercises to increase well-being will be implemented from a positive psychology theoretical and empirical framework. Conference work may include any of the pedagogical elements of the course: literature review, empirical research review, and/or an autobiographical personal reflection paper.

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Developmental Forensic Psychology

Open , Seminar—Fall

Forensic psychology is the professional and scientific study of psychology in the context of issues pertaining to the law or legal questions. Forensic developmental psychology as a field focuses on “children's actions and reactions in a forensic context" and "children's reports that they were victims or witnesses of a crime.” Contemporary incidents of violence often leave us bewildered, rendering the undeniable importance of forensics. Forensic psychologists have proven that this practice is an irreplaceable asset to our community safety and system of justice. Appropriate for anyone interested in the intersection of psychology and the law, this course includes: an integrative and historical overview of forensic psychology; a review of current developmental forensic issues pertaining to children, adolescents and young adults in civil and criminal court cases; exploration of how psychosocial reference groups—such as race, culture, social class, sexual orientation, gender, age, and ability—impact the clinical presentation and case conceptualizations of individuals involved in the criminal justice system; biological, cognitive, social/emotional, behavioral, and environmental components of risk and vulnerability; and a discussion of the role of trauma, neglect, and abuse as precursors to legal involvement and consequences of the revolving door of incarceration. We will explore the role of an expert witness and elements of forensic evaluations in child abuse, neglect, and juvenile delinquency cases. A review of landmark and controversial cases and the use of documentary films are pedagogical elements of the course. Conference work may include literature reviews, empirical research, meta-analysis, and observations of court proceedings.

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