COGx Academic Partners

COGx Academic Partners

Our goal is to equip educators with the latest scientific principles of learning in a format that can be applied to the classroom in order to improve learning outcomes. Our premise is that students are better served when educators receive training on the science of learning in a way that improves the efficacy of their teaching.

To achieve this objective, COGx partners with leading academics in the fields of neuroscience, cognitive science, education, and psychology. We then co-develop unique professional development programs that translate science into school-based applications. While each student is unique, there are unifying principles that underlie the learning process.

COGx academic partners are at the forefront of this research, and it is upon the work of leading brain scientists specialized in learning that COGx courses and professional development for educators is built.

New COGx Course:

Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto

Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto, Scarborough, Department of Psychology

Relevant Affiliations: Director of the Advanced Learning Technology Lab, University of Toronto

Areas of Expertise: Consciousness, Memory, & Attention

Education: PhD in Psychology, University of Waterloo


Steve Joordens is Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he has taught since 1995. He earned a doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of Waterloo. Honored repeatedly as both teacher and researcher, Professor Joordens research is on the cutting edge of the application of technology to improve assessments in students and to improve writing and critical thinking. He is also an expert and leader in the field of memory and attention.

He is a frequent speaker at professional conferences, where he consistently earns best in session honors. In addition to publishing many articles on human memory, consciousness, and attention in empirical and theoretical psychology journals, Professor Joordens earned both the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and the National Technology Innovation Award-the latter for the creation of an Internet-based educational platform that supports the development of critical thinking and clear communication skills in any size classroom.

His teaching skills have also earned him repeated honors, including the President’s Teaching Award, his university’s highest teaching honor; the Scarborough College Students’ Union Best Professor Award; a provincially sponsored Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award; and four nominations for Television Ontario’s Best Lecturer Competition, which include two Top 10 finishes.

Professor of Psychology, UCLA

Distinguished Professor, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychology

Relevant Affiliation: Learning & Forgetting Lab, UCLA

Areas of Expertise: Human Learning & Memory; Implications of Science of Learning for Instruction

Education: PhD in Psychology, Stanford University


Robert Bjork is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. The focus of his research is applying cognitive psychology to enhance educational practice. He is the creator of the directed forgetting paradigm and is principal investigator, along with Elizabeth Ligon Bjork, at UCLA’s Bjork Learning & Forgetting Lab.

Dr. Bjork has served as Editor of Memory & Cognition (1981-85) and Psychological Review (1995-2000), Co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest (1998-2004), and Chair of a National Research Council Committee on Techniques for the Enhancement of Human Performance (1988-1994).

He is a past President or Chair of the American Psychological Society (APS); the Western Psychological Association; the Psychonomic Society; the Society of Experimental Psychologists; the Council of Editors of the American Psychological Association (APA); and the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology.  He is a recipient of UCLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award; the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientist Lecturer and Distinguished Service to Psychological Science Awards; the American Physiological Society’s Claude Bernard Distinguished Lectureship Award, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists’ Norman Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Vice-Dean Johns Hopkins School of Education

Vice Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Clinical Education at Johns Hopkins University

Relevant Affiliation: Co-founder and Director of the School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative (NEI)

Area of Expertise: Integration of learning science to classroom instruction with a particular emphasis on art integration and long-term retention

Education: Doctorate of Education, Johns Hopkins University

Mariale Hardiman is vice dean of academic affairs, professor of clinical education, and co-founder and director of the School of Education’s Neuro-Education Initiative (NEI). The NEI has been recognized as an innovative cross-disciplinary program that brings to educators relevant research from the learning sciences to inform teaching and learning through the JHU’s Mind, Brain, and Teaching master’s and doctoral courses and professional development programs. Her research and publications focus on enhancing educational practices through techniques that foster innovation and creative problem-solving. Her current research includes a randomized trial investigating the effects of arts integration on long-term retention of content and student engagement. She is also investigating how knowledge of neuro- and cognitive science influences teacher practice and teacher efficacy beliefs.

Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2006, Professor Hardiman served in the Baltimore City Public Schools for more than 30 years. As the principal of Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, she led the school to its designation as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. With the use of the Brain-Targeted Teaching® Model that Professor Hardiman developed, the school was recognized nationally for innovative arts programming.

She presents nationally and internationally on topics related to the intersection of research in the neuro- and cognitive sciences with effective teaching strategies and has significant experience in educational leadership development and education for children with disabilities.

Neurologist & Educator

Relevant Affiliation: Hawn Foundation; University of California, Santa Barbara

Area of Expertise: Application of Neuroscience to Teaching and Learning

Education: MD in Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine; MA in Education, University of California, Santa Barbara

Judy Willis, with her background as a neurologist and classroom teacher, is an authority on brain research regarding learning and the brain and correlations of this research to best teaching practices.

After graduating as the first woman graduate from Williams College, Dr. Willis attended UCLA School of Medicine where she was awarded her medical degree and completed a medical residency and neurology residency, including chief residency. She practiced neurology for fifteen years before returning to university to obtain her Teaching Credential and Masters of Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Willis has ten years of experience teaching elementary and middle school, and writes extensively for professional educational journals as well as consulting for the media including Wall Street Journal, Education Week, USA Today, NBC News Education Nation, among others.

As a research consultant and member of the board of directors for the Hawn Foundation, Dr. Willis contributed to the Foundation’s MindUp book for curriculum that provides teachers with strategies to help students use mindfulness to increase their emotional control, stress management, and attentive focus.

Dr. Willis also consults with California congressional educational lawmakers and educational policy makers to provide correlations from neuroscience research to educational policy. Her current collaboration in this area is to promote the incorporation of “the neuroscience of learning” into teacher education curriculum.

Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU

Professor of Applied Psychology at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Relevant Affiliation: The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools

Areas of Expertise: Social psychology of education; Increasing intelligence, self-control, and social skills; Stereotyping/prejudice; Self-esteem, cognitive dissonance, self-affirmation and learning

Education: MA and PhD in Social Psychology, Princeton University


Joshua Aronson is associate professor of developmental, social, and educational psychology at New York University. Focusing on the social and psychological influences on academic achievement, he has won numerous awards for his scholarship, including the Career Award from the National Science Foundation, the William T. Grant Scholars Award, and the Kidder Early Career Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

Professor Aronson has conducted extensive research identifying and studying “stereotype threat.” This is the idea that certain groups are treated in accordance with stereotypes and that this engenders a number of interesting psychological and physiological responses, many of which interfere with intellectual performance and academic motivation. He also published the seminal research on the “growth mindset,” which showed that teaching students about their capacity for intellectual growth helps students academically. Both of these studies are classics in the field. The focus of Dr. Aronson’s recent work is on creating scalable interventions that any teacher can use to improve the performance and learning of their students.

Professor Aronson is one of the most frequently cited psychologists in the past decade, and on Education Week’s list of the most influential education scholars. He is Co-Author of The Social Animal, and editor of Improving Academic Achievement, Readings About the Social Animal, and The Scientist and The Humanist.

Professor Cognitive Psychology, UCLA

Professor of Cognitive Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Psychology

Relevant Affiliation: Bjork Learning & Forgetting Lab, UCLA

Areas of Expertise: Human Learning & Memory; Implications of Science of Learning for Instruction

Education: PhD in Cognitive Psychology, University of Michigan

Elizabeth Ligon Bjork is a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining the UCLA Psychology Department, she has served as a member of the Editorial Boards for Perception & Psychophysics and Memory & Cognition and as a member of the Initial Review Group for the National Institute of Mental Health, Basic Behavioral Processes.

Within the Department, Professor Bjork is in charge of the Teacher Training Seminar and Program for Teaching Assistants, and she also chairs the campus-wide Teaching Assistant Training Committee. Professor Bjork’s primary area of research is human memory, particularly the role of inhibitory processes in certain types of goal-directed forgetting, such as memory updating, and in the resolution of competition in retrieval.

More recently, Professor Bjork’s research involves how we might apply principles of learning and memory discovered in the laboratory to enhance instructional practices—research funded by a collaborative grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation. For her contributions to the development and teaching of this course as well as other instructional activities, Professor Bjork has been the recipient of the Department’s Distinguished Teaching Award.