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Michigan Social Emotional Learning Alliance

Education practitioners, researchers, and policy-makers intentionally developing, disseminating, and implementing SEL-driven research, policy, and practice to support and promote high-quality social-emotional learning across the state.

What is SEL?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is widely referenced when defining and exploring the facets of social-emotional learning and the associated evidence-based practices. CASEL defines social and emotional learning (SEL) as


"an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all infants, toddlers, young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic early childhood care, as well as school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments that feature trusting, collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower infants, toddlers, young people and adults to co-create thriving early care and education settings and schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities."



MiSELA Background

The Michigan SEL Alliance (MiSELA) began in October of 2017, when a group of higher education professionals and state government staff met to network and share about their respective work in the field of Social Emotional Learning (SEL). During that inaugural meeting, the participants (from Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan State University, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan) decided to meet at least twice a year to connect and explore ways to collaborate and support one another’s efforts. Other Universities were invited to join and in March 2018, representatives from Ferris State University and Wayne State University joined the consortium. 

This group officially named themselves the Michigan SEL Alliance in October 2018 and continue to meet twice a year, with representation from Education Associations, Local Districts, and Oakland University also now included.

As the Alliance has grown, its purpose has evolved. Collectively, the group recently decided to focus on three main Core Areas:

Core Area 1: Determine and/or design a set of recommended preconditions before the implementation of SEL can occur in a setting/building/district. (i.e., anti-bias work, cultural responsiveness work, team cohesion, trauma-informed, etc.)

Core Area 2: Develop a “knowledge conference” and professional development opportunities for educators, administrators, evaluators, etc.

Core Area 3: Disseminate research to promote SEL (e.g., planning an event, networking with other professionals about current research, etc.)

Our mission is to advance knowledge and practices for SEL, with the goal of implementing high-quality SEL in communities throughout the state, at all levels of practice, from working with individuals and families to developing SEL policy. This website serves as a place of collaboration for SEL knowledge, so we can share our findings with each other and the community. We invite you to learn with us, share with us, and to become more involved in SEL practices and policies. 

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FOR EDUCATORS and administrators

Click here to find research and other initiatives pertaining to educators and administrators

For Policymakers

Click here and find research and other initiatives pertaining to policymakers


Click here and find research and other initiatives pertaining to families and communities

Conferences and Trainings

Click here for upcoming conferences and trainings


Click here for information about research conducted in Michigan and beyond. 

Our Team

Each of these individuals have self-selected their core area of interest and will meet as subsets of the Alliance with report outs to the whole group at the bi-annual meetings. The intention is for this group to offer SEL implementation recommendations, research and supports throughout the state of Michigan.

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Lauren Kazee


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Will Spotts

Core Area 1


Wendy Burke

Core Area 2

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Todd Herrenkohl

Core Area 3


Cheryl Somers

Core Area 3


Anna Gersh


Lynn Malinoff

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Cynthia Carver

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Paul Liabenow


Dina Rocheleau


Sarah Giddings

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Cindy Basse

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Amber Walker


Holly Brophy-Herb

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Shawna Boomgaard

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Tomoko Wakabayashi


Carla Kevern

Website Developer

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Leisa Gallagher


Amy Kavanaugh 

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Julie Rowan

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Betsy Stoelt

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Gina McGovern

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Michael MacDonald

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Click here for information about research being conducting in Michigan and beyond that may be used to inform policy and practice in a number of contexts!  


If you're interested in research centered around Social Emotional Learning, click on the link below!

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Michigan Department of Education

Leisa Gallagher

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Ferris State University

Amy Kavanaugh 

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Ferris State University

Julie Rowan

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Bright Futures

Betsy Stoelt

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