Interview: The SharpBrains Guide, adopted as core reader in neuroscience and coaching course

Kennedy-JustinDr. Justin Kennedy holds the posi­tion of Pro­fes­sor of Orga­ni­za­tion­al Behav­ior and Region­al Dean of Africa at UGSM-Monarch Busi­ness School Switzer­land. He holds a Doc­tor of Pro­fes­sion­al Stud­ies with UGSM-Monarch Busi­ness School Switzer­land as well as a Bach­e­lor of Social Sci­ence in Psy­chol­o­gy from Rhodes Uni­ver­si­ty, SA. Dr. Kennedy returned to the aca­d­e­m­ic field after a 20 year inter­na­tion­al cor­po­rate career in Ire­land, New York and South Africa.

Prof. Kennedy, please tell us a bit about your per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al background 
I worked as a man­age­ment con­sul­tant and exec­u­tive coach until I had an acci­dent and fell into a coma. I  became inter­est­ed in the brain after recov­er­ing from it, with the help of my broth­er. That got me think­ing about brain research.

What areas of brain sci­ence are you most inter­est­ed in? 
Applied research inter­ests me most. I am also keen to work with teens as these are very intense times for them. We are about to pub­lish a paper show­ing how biofeed­back-based tools can help reduce exam anx­i­ety and lead to improved learn­ing and aca­d­e­m­ic results.

What and where are you teach­ing, and why did you cre­ate your course? 
I teach Intro­duc­tion to Neu­ro­science Coach­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Pre­to­ria. It is an inter depart­men­tal qual­i­fi­ca­tion, in part­ner­ship with Monarch Busi­ness School.

Do you see a lot of inter­est in South Africa about applied neu­ro­science? In what way? 
These is a lot of inter­est but quite fluffy, float­ing around like you can expect in any new domain I sup­pose. Now, this course is also offered in a full online for­mat so we get plen­ty of inter­est out­side South Africa.

What are the 2–3 key things you’d like all your stu­dents to take-away from your course? 
The most impor­tant thing is that biol­o­gy is NOT des­tiny! This has been proven over and over, but stu­dents still over­rate the impact of their genes. One needs to focus real­ly REALLY hard to build up enough work­ing mem­o­ry and process new pat­terns that break old ones.  Our behav­iour, not our genes, carve our destinies.

What are the main mis­con­cep­tions they often bring to class, and how do you debunk them? 
Stu­dents often think they might find a sil­ver bul­let by study­ing the brain but, if any­thing, con­tin­ued dili­gence is that bul­let, albeit not made of quick­sil­ver. Mak­ing some changes is great, but keep­ing them is what  is real­ly need­ed, and a whole oth­er story.SharpBrainsGuide_3D_compressed

How did you first hear about SharpBrains? 
I was referred to your web­site and book by a con­fer­ence co-ordi­na­tor when I pre­sent­ed a paper last year.

Why did you decide to adopt The Sharp­Brains Guide to Brain Fit­ness for your course, and how do you plan to use it? 
It is a com­pre­hen­sive and easy-to-fol­low book, so we’ll use it as a core read­er, inte­grat­ing it with­in the cur­ricu­lum and the dis­cus­sions. Am get­ting great feed­back already!

What excites you the most about the next time you’ll teach your course? When is that, and where can peo­ple learn more about it? 
The next edi­tion of the course will be online. We expect to have sev­er­al hun­dred stu­dents, and to have Alvaro Fer­nan­dez as guest lec­tur­er to dis­cuss the book. More info is avail­able at Intro­duc­tion to Neu­ro­science Coach­ing (opens PDF).

Thank you very much for being with us today 
My pleasure!

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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