Engage in intensive training in neuroscience concepts that have applications in classrooms. 

Register for the Learning & the Brain Summer Institute
Co-sponsored with the Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara
Cost: $1,895

THIS SUMMER INSTITUTE IS FULL.  PLEASE CALL 781-449-4010 x 101 to be put on the waiting list.


Download summer institute brochure (pdf)


Join Us This Summer in Santa Barbara for a Hands-on Workshop

Learning & the Brain is offering this Summer Institute on the oceanside campus of the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

This Institute will focus on the most recent advances in neuroscience research and theory and how they correlate to potential classroom applications in areas of executive function and memory consolidation. Topics covered will include the dopamine-reward circuit, reduction of cognitive workload to improve working memory, formative assessments, feedback, metacognition, increasing cognitive reserve, promoting transferable knowledge and creativity and improving student-constructed learning with inquiry and project-based learning. The increasing promise for stimulating neural networks to develop executive functions from early childhood through adulthood will be discussed along with implications for education. The Institute is hands-on and is limited to 40 participants.


The Summer Institute Is for
The Summer Institute is for educators with introductory background knowledge of the neuroscience of learning and the brain including:
  • PreK-12 Teachers, Administrators
  • School Psychologists and School Clinicians
  • Education Professors and College Professors
You Will Learn to:
  • Evaluate the executive functions from the perspectives of neuroscience
  • Stimulate the developing neural networks of executive functions in learners of all ages
  • Use information gained from formative and summative assessments to enhance learning for students and instructional success for teachers
  • Guide students to use and build skills of metacognition and long-term memory formation
  • Promote multisensory learning experiences that benefit all brains
  • Connect neuroscience research to planning student-constructed and project-based learning that develops understanding and long-term, transferable concept memory
This Learning & the Brain Summer Institute will be led by Dr. Judy Willis and assisted by Malana Willis. This program is designed to help individuals and school teams develop the knowledge, skills and strategies necessary to responsibly apply neuroscience and cognitive science findings to the classroom to improve teaching and learning. The program offers participants an intensive professional development experience, drawing on the most up-to-date findings in affective and social neuroscience. The Institute emphasizes executive skills and memory and retention and their roles in learning and student achievement. This course is designed for educators with no prior background in neuroscience.
Class sessions will be held in the afternoon on the first day and on mornings each subsequent day amounting to a program total of 20 hours.  You will have afternoons free to collaborate with fellow institute participants, read, and explore beautiful Santa Barbara. 
All sessions will take place at the Loma Pelona Center on the UC Santa Barbara campus and participants will be housed close by on campus. Lodging, some meals, and course materials are provided.  See online schedule for meals provided.
About the Institute

This Learning & the Brain Summer Institute will be led by Dr. Judy Willis and assisted by Malana Willis. This program is designed for individuals and school teams who already have foundational or introductory level background knowledge of the neuroscience of learning. You will further develop that knowledge as you discuss the progress of research and consider how these findings can be correlated to best teaching strategies and interventions to enhance the success of learners. The Institute emphasizes physiologic, cognitive, and behavioral influences on learners with a perspective regarding interventions that promote activation and strengthening of the neural processing, storage, and retrieval systems. 


This course is designed for educators with no prior background in neuroscience.

About Dr. Judy Willis
judy willisJudy Willis, MD, MEd, is a neurologist and credentialed teacher. She has combined her training in neuroscience and neuroimaging with her teacher education training and years of classroom experience. Dr. Willis is an authority in the field of learning-centered brain research and teaching strategies derived from this research and has spoken at national and international educational conferences.

Dr. Willis has taught in elementary and middle schools and is currently an adjunct lecturer at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is also a staff writer for Edutopia and Psychology Today, and a media spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology.

Dr. Willis has written six books on this topic, contributed extensively to educational journals and conducts interactive professional development workshops throughout the United States and internationally. Her most recent books include Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning (2006), Brain Research Based Strategies for the Inclusion Class (2007), How Your Child Learns Best (2008), Inspiring Middle School Minds: Gifted, Creative and Challenging (2009) and Learning to Love Math (2010).
About Malana Willis
Malana Willis, MEd, teaches elementary school in Santa Barbara, CA. Previously she taught elementary school in Oakland, CA for over five years, taught at the American School of Bilbao in Spain and worked at the UCSB Autism Clinic. She received her Masters Degree in Education and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UC Berkeley and her BA in psychology from Williams College. She has been writing and presenting with her mother, Judy Willis, for several years. She co-presented a Neuroscience and the Classroom professional development course in Seville, Spain and this will be her fifth year assisting with the UCSB Summer Institute.
Professional Development Credit
This program provides a total of 20 hours toward professional development credit for various professionals. For types of credit offered, or to find out about additional engaged hours toward professional development credit, call our offices at 781-449-4010 ext. 102. Note: credits are not provided by the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Interaction between faculty and participants outside the classroom is an integral part of the Institute. To foster this total immersion learning environment, participants are housed in undergraduate dormitory accommodations on the UC, Santa Barbara campus. The dormitory rooms are located in the Manzanita Village complex steps from the Pacific Ocean. Participants are assigned their own room but with shared bathrooms. Linens are provided. All facilities are ADA compliant. The Institute provides four nights lodging with an arrival date of July 28 and departure date of August 1. If you are interested in making your own accommodations off-campus or would like to arrange an early arrival on campus, please call us at 781-449-4010 x 101. Please check the online schedule for information on the meals provided.