Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education

How does play fit within the higher education mission? And what prevents academia from realizing its benefits?

“Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education”
with Lisa K. Forbes & David Thomas
Friday, April 23
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

While play and elementary education have a long and positive history, post-secondary education has largely remained an ivory tower of serious contemplation and humorless work.

The Professors at Play community represents a movement in post-secondary instruction to encourage the utilization of play in teaching and learning.

This session covers student perceptions and outcomes, faculty approaches and barriers to play, a review of current research and a select inventory of playful approaches at various levels of scale–from single activities through whole course play. This session will sketch out the current landscape of play across higher ed and conclude with possible future directions and a call to action for participants to enact change.

Lisa K. Forbes, PhD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Counseling Program at the University of Colorado Denver. Lisa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is training to become a Play Therapist. Lisa’s research centers around intensive mothering practices, gender conformity, and mental health and…you guessed it, play and fun in teaching and learning!

David Thomas PhD, is the Executive Director of Online Programs at the University of Denver and Assistant Professor Attendant in the Department of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. David’s research centers around fun, fun objects (like buildings!) and the meaning of play.

This session is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through June 30, 2021.  Registered 2021 Virtual Play Conference attendees will access the session in the Attendee Hub.

This presentation will be recorded and included in our 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference content, so don’t fret if you miss the live session!


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!