SCIPIE Conference Summary

Our most recent conference was sponsored by the University of New Mexico.  The conference brought together researchers and graduate students from across the nation to discuss topics in educational psychology.  In alignment with our core mission, the focus of the conference was on innovative research and difficult problems  researchers face.  The conference was held in the heart of the Historic Old Town Alburquerque. Participants enjoyed Albuquerque's unique blend of Spanish, Mexican, Native American and Western cultural influences reflected in the architecture, design, cuisine and events.  It was a wonderful venue for a special conference.  

Our next conference will be held at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas in the Fall of 2017.  The SCIPIE board is working to develop an exiting program and engaging venue for the conference.  It is sure to be a must attend for educational psychologists from around the country.   

Download the Conference Program

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Suzanne Hidi

Dr. Suzanne Hidi gave the keynote address at the 2015 biennial conference.  Dr. Hidi obtained her PhD in Educational Psychology in 1976 (University of Toronto). She was an Associate Professor and a member of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Toronto. Currently, she is a founding member of the Senior College of the University of Toronto. Her early research and publications focussed on reasoning and academic writing, followed by investigations of students’ motivation in general and interest in specific.

More recently, she has been interested in linking research of educational/social psychologists with those of neuroscientists in the area of motivation and rewards.  The title of her address was, "The Role of Rewards in Motivation and Learning:  Multiple Perspectives." In her address, she challenged conventional thinking about the role of rewards in motivation and learning, and her talk sparked spirited discussion from audience members.  For those who know the spirit of SCIPIE, it was a fitting address and a perfect fit for the mission of our organization.  Click here for sample publications.

Founders Award

In honor of the 10th anniversary of SCIPIE, the board conferred an inaugural SCIPIE Founder’s Award to the most creative and interactive session format during the 2015 conference.  There were many wonderful session to choose from, but congratulations are in order to the following researchers for their interactive and creative session titled, "Stirring the Pot and Adding Ingredients: A Recipe for Changing Conceptual Change."  They did a wonderful job!

Content Experts:               

Louis Nadelson, Utah State University

Ben Heddy, University of Oklahoma

Suzanne Jones, Utah State University 

Session Facilitators:          

Kristyna Looney, University of Oklahoma

Christina Sias, Utah State University

Jeff Gunther, Utah State University

2015 Conference Call Summary

 SCIPIE conferences traditionally focus on complex problems found at the intersection between education and psychology. Participants are encouraged to bring works in progress and unresolved issues in research as a foundation for session content and discussion. SCIPIE offers a unique conference experience due to its interactive structure coupled with an emphasis on driving theoretical and methodological innovation through purposeful exploration of tensions in educational psychology and related fields. The conference is also geared specifically to provide early career scholars and graduate students an opportunity for meaningful participation in conference sessions.  The 6th biennial conference of the Southwest Consortium for Innovative Psychology in Education (SCIPIE) focused on a back to basics approach, with a focus on how established work has shaped the field. 


Educational Psychology draws scholars from many disciplines, including psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, and mathematics, as well as many disciplinary fields such as educational foundations, learning sciences, human development, curriculum studies, cultural studies, and so on.  This diversity provides a rich set of theoretical frameworks and methodological pluralism. This 2015 theme was focused on the fundamental way that our world views, assumptions about learning and development, and beliefs about what can be known influences our research choices. How we identify phenomena of interest, the way in which we define constructs, the research questions we form, the methods we choose to undertake our investigations, our choices for the level or unit of analysis, and the way we bound our constructs with time, are driven by individual perspective.  In honor of its 10th anniversary, SCIPIE 2015 took a “back to the basics” approach with a focus on how established theories, methods, constructs, and units of analysis have shaped research in areas such as cognition, motivation, self-regulated learning, transfer, memory, emotion, teacher beliefs, and epistemology.  The conference was driven by two questions: 1) How does what we know about education and the psychology of human learning reflect different perspectives, and 2) Are there aspects of our knowledge that are narrowed by too heavily relying on an established approach or perspective? To gain a more thorough understanding of human learning and the factors that influence it, national and international scholars came together to acknowledge assumptions and discuss integration of findings from a range of perspectives. 

Conference Structure

In 2015 the SCIPIE board invited participation through multiple possible session formats. A poster session reception was held for participants to receive mentoring feedback on works-in-progress or completed research. The two days of the conference also consisted of a series of working groups designed to facilitate critical discussion of issues of perspective and assumptions in relation to core constructs in educational psychology. Each session was 1 hour and 15 minutes in length. Example avenues of discussion included the following:

Session and Poster Submissions  

Submissions for the 2015 adhered to one of the following formats: 1) A contributing paper proposal for which ideas and data are in place; these submissions may be grouped with other, similar proposals to complete a session. 2) A full session proposal for a working group that includes the topic and names of individuals who will act as session facilitators and session content experts as outlined below. For either option, the proposals described how the topic related to a core construct in educational psychology and how it explicitly addressed the conference theme. Participants were encouraged to propose creative formats with a rationale for how the proposed structure will involve all session participants and facilitate meaningful conversation. The poster submissions for 2015 emphasized student work, but faculty were able to submit a poster proposals as long as at least one student was a co-author. In the abstract, be certain to highlight the objective of the study, how the submission relates to the conference theme, the theoretical framework, your participants, your data collection tools or methodologies, the results and conclusions. Work in progress or completed research is appropriate. Participants will be matched with a poster mentor as part of the SCIPIE experience.


All SCIPIE 2015 attendees were expected to be active participants, and the interactive and spirited nature of the conference demonstrated participants' commitment to collaboration and innovation.  SCIPIE 2015 offered an opportunity to find new ways to address challenges in research, explore complex problems that never have just one answer, move our field forward by directly addressing bias, and thrive in the ambiguous space between scholarly rigor and meaningful application of research.  We would like to thank each and every one of our organization members for attending and making SCIPIE 2015 a special conference that we won't forget.  See you in 2017 at the University of Nevada Las Vegas!