about us

The Institute for Trauma, Adversity, and Resilience in Higher Education

began as an interdisciplinary conference on Trauma and Learning in Post-Secondary Education hosted by MassBay Community College in 2012. With ongoing support from the college, it also receives funding from the federal Title III grant program. Founder and director Jeanie Tietjen teaches in the English department at MassBay, and earned her PhD from Brandeis University.


The Institute works towards understanding how trauma and adversity impact higher education by means of research, writing, professional development, and internal and external collaboration.

Current and recent work includes:

Workshops and professional development on campus and in the community including campus and conference presentations, workshops, webinars

Development and upcoming implementation of an ACEs style questionnaire that names trauma and systemic adversity in our community

Ongoing curation of an online resource site pertaining to trauma informed higher education.

Ongoing research on trauma, adversity, and resilience in higher education

Development of modules for upcoming internal and external community education

Our Vision

Recognizing and naming how trauma and adversity impact the adult learner generates a critical brain-based perspective and lens through the which the college builds upon skills of resilience to orient pedagogy, support services, and holistic institutional practices encouraging academic access and success for all students.

Our Mission

Promote understanding in higher education and the larger community of the profound impact trauma and adversity have on the learning brain and academic resilience in higher education, as well as how a strengths based, trauma-informed campus and community can productively support development of critical importance to academic and workplace success.

Trauma Advisory Group

The Trauma Advisory Group is an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, and administration at MassBay that provides feedback, insights, and assistance.

Liz Blumberg, Dean of Students
Phoebe Bustamante, Director of Accessibility
Clarissa Codington, Assistant Professor of English
Courtney DeGeorge, Assistant Professor of English
Abigail Detweiler, Title III Program Administrator
Jon Edwards, Director of Counseling Services
Judith Elliston, Professor and Department Chair Science
Sean Fortney, Assistant Director, Academic and Transfer Advising
Heidi Getchell-Bastien, Associate Professor Criminal Justice and Government
Carolyn Guttilla, Associate Professor and Chair, Communication Department
Courtney Jackson, Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Nina Keery, Dean of Humanities and Social Science
Liz Kinsman, SUCCESS Initiative Manager
Sue Maggioni, Dean of Business and Professional Studies
Katie McGrath, Professor of English
Deborah O’Dowd, Assistant Professor Health Sciences
ShaQuan Read, LMHC, Adjunct Faculty
Samaria Stallings, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
Rhian Waterberg, Associate Director of Admissions Health Sciences
Meredith Watts, Professor of Sciences

Trauma Research Intern

Madison Colleton is a student at MassBay Community College with a focus in criminal justice. Her Honors research writing and poster presentation explored aspects of service dog training by individuals currently incarcerated. Currently, she is creating an annotated bibliography of college and university websites that offer resources on trauma-informed education.