The Samuel D. Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice | GSE | Rutgers

Pandemic Positives in Education: What We Have Learned

In anticipation of their latest book release, Mending Education, authors Karen Gross and Edward K.S Wang dive into the positives that occurred in education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They discovered how the global pandemic crisis allowed educators to improve learning across the pre–K-adult pipeline. While acknowledging the scale of loss and difficulty the Pandemic engendered within the field of education, they focus on how sudden and forced changes to teaching and learning created “Pandemic Positives,” and allowed space for hope and creativity, which can be captured and brought to scale. Join us and share your thoughts.

Date & Time: March 14, 2024 at 1:00 PM ET

Speakers include:

  • Karen Gross, Author, Trauma Educator, Advisor, and Consultant 
  • Edward K.S. Wang, Harvard Medical School, Professor



About Karen Gross 

Karen Gross is an educator who specializes in trauma and its impact on student learning and psychosocial success. Gross works with students from pre-K — adult as well as faculty, staff and leaders. Co-written with Ed K. S. Wang, they have a forthcoming book titled: Mending Education: Finding Hope, Creativity and Mental Wellness in Times of Trauma (9/24 from TC Press); this book joins two adult books, Breakaway Learners and Trauma Doesn’t Stop at the School Door. (Karen Gross also writes the children’s book series, Lady Lucy’s Quest.) Karen Gross is a continuing education instructor at Rutgers School of Social Work. Karen blogs regularly on issues in education, including leadership and crisis management. She is an an active artist showing both online and in brick and mortal galleries, often doing art as a trauma amelioration strategy. She was a former president of a small college in NE serving many Pell eligible first gen students where we met with unexpected success, including in terms of fundraising, data collection, institutional culture and growth in all senses. She was a senior policy advisor to US Department of Education during the Obama Administration. Karen was a tenured professor for two decades in NYC where she focused on insolvency and asset building in low income communities. Karen speaks several languages, having grown up speaking French in her home.

About Edward K.S. Wang

Born in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States. As a clinical psychologist, Ed K.S. Wang explores the importance of individual ethnographic narratives and family and community oral history on healing and well-being. He is currently the Director of Policy and Planning, Division of Global Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. His domestic and international work focuses on improving the social and emotional well-being of youth, adolescents, and young adults, strengthening families and community wellness through the investment of social justice, evidence-based and community-driven evidence, informatics, networks, and sustainability. For the past ten years, his private consultancy has extended from mental health centers and community-based organizations to schools, all in racially, ethically, and linguistically diverse communities. They include but are not limited to public schools, child protective care, homeless shelters, early childhood and care, court-appointed service advocacy, youth development, education and employment training, and health and behavioral care.

The unprecedented convergence of momentous events of the pandemic, racial and ethnic tensions, inflation and economic uncertainty, and gun violence in schools resulted from his deep concern about the wellness of teachers and students. His work illustrates the importance of individual and community actions of kindness and resilience to promote growth and healing in education during these tumultuous times.