The following individuals are engaged in cutting-edge research in positive education and related fields. Their work has helped schools flourish at the level of theory and practice. As such, these positive researchers are also positive educators.
Dr. Martin Seligman
Dr. Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. For 14 years he was the Director of the Clinical Training Program of the Psychology Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a past-president of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association. In 1996 Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association by the largest vote in modern history. He is widely credited with founding the field of positive psychology and was instrumental in the creation of the MAPP program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has published over 250 scholarly articles and written 20 books including Flourish, Authentic Happiness, and Learned Optimism.
Dr. James Pawelski
Dr. Pawelski is Director of Education and Senior Scholar in the Positive Psychology Center and Adjunct Associate Professor of Religious Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founding director of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses on positive interventions as well as the humanities and human flourishing. He is also the founding Executive Director of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and a charter member of its Board of Directors. Dr. Pawelski is author of The Dynamic Individualism of William James, editor of the philosophy section of The Oxford Handbook of Happiness, and co-editor of The Eudaimonic Turn: Wellbeing in Literary Studies as well as On Human Flourishing: An Anthology of Poems. Learn More
DR. Jane Gillham
Dr. Gillham is an associate professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College and co-director of the Penn Resiliency Project at the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania. For the past twenty years, Dr. Gillham’s research has focused on developing and evaluating school-based interventions that promote resilience and well-being and prevent depression in young people. Dr. Gillham is an author of several interventions and curricula for youth and adults including the Penn Resiliency Program (PRP) for Children and Adolescents, the Penn Resiliency Program for Parents, and the High School Positive Psychology Program. Dr. Gillham’s research is published in numerous articles in academic journals including Journal of Early Adolescence, School Psychology Quarterly, Psychological Science, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Positive Psychology. Together with Drs. Martin Seligman, Karen Reivich, and Lisa Jaycox, she is an author of The Optimistic Child.
DR. Angela Duckworth
Dr. Duckworth is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder and scientific director of the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. Dr. Duckworth studies grit and self-control, two attributes that are distinct from IQ and yet powerfully predict success and well-being. A 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, Dr. Duckworth has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. She has received numerous awards for her contributions to K-12 education, including a Beyond Z Award from the KIPP Foundation. Her first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a New York Times bestseller.
DR. Barbara Fredrickson
Dr. Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with appointments in Psychology and the Kenan-Flagler School of Business. She is the Director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (PEP Lab). Fredrickson is a leading scholar within social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology. Fredrickson’s book, Positivity, describes the relevance of her 20-year research program on positive emotions for a general readership. Love 2.0 offers a fresh and practical perspective on this most vital human emotion.
DR. Jonathan Haidt
Dr. Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the Stern School of Business at New York University. His research focuses on morality – its emotional foundations, cultural variations, and developmental course. He began his career studying the negative moral emotions, such as disgust, shame, and vengeance, but then moved on to the understudied positive moral emotions, such as admiration, awe, and moral elevation. This work got him involved with the field of positive psychology. His three TED talks have been viewed more than 3 million times. He was named a “top 100 global thinker” of 2012 by Foreign Policy magazine, and one of the 65 “World Thinkers of 2013″ by Prospect. He is the author of more than 90 academic articles and two books: The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion.
DR. Denise Pope
Dr. Pope is Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Stanford University. Dr. Pope is co-founder of Challenge Success, a research and intervention project that aims to reduce unhealthy pressure on youth and champions a broader vision of youth success. Challenge Success is an expanded version of the SOS: Stressed-Out Students project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003-2008. She lectures nationally on parenting techniques and pedagogical strategies to increase student well-being, engagement with learning, and integrity. Dr. Pope focuses on academic stress and its consequences for students’ mental and physical health, engagement with learning, and integrity. She is the author of “Doing School”: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students, which was awarded Notable Book in Education by the American School Board Journal in 2001. She is co-author of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids.
DR. Adam Grant
Dr. Grant is Professor of Management at the Wharton School of Business and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Grant has been recognized as Wharton’s top-rated teacher for five straight years and as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers, one of the 100 most creative people in business, one of the top 40 business professors under 40, one of HR’s most influential international thinkers, and one of Malcolm Gladwell’s favorite thinkers. His research focuses on generosity, motivation and meaningful work, championing new ideas, personality traits like introversion-extraversion, and leadership, collaboration, culture, and organizational change. Dr. Grant is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: Originals considers how individuals champion new ideas and leaders fight groupthink and Give and Take explore why helping others drives our success.
DR. Carol Dweck
Dr. Dweck is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Dr. Dweck has held professorships at Columbia and Harvard Universities, has lectured all over the world, and has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on why people succeed and how to foster success. Dr. Dweck’s work bridges developmental psychology, social psychology, as well as personality psychology, and examines the mindsets people use to understand themselves and guide their behavior. Her research looks at the origins of these mindsets, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes. She is the author of the enormously influential Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and proprietor of mindsetonline.com.
DR. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi is Distinguished Professor of Management and Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Formerly, he was chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi is the founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC). The QLRC is a non-profit research institute that studies “positive psychology”; that is, human strengths such as optimism, creativity, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility. He is credited with creating the psychological concept of “flow,” a highly focused mental state. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi has published more than 120 scholarly articles and is the author of the national bestseller, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.
DR. Karen Reivich
Dr. Reivich is the Director of Training Programs for the Penn Positive Psychology Center and lead instructor/curriculum developer for the Penn Resilience Programs (PRP). She is also an instructor in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Reivich’s work focuses on helping parents, educators, and leaders to promote resilience and well-being in adolescents and adults. For 20 years, she was a Co-Principal Investigator of several research studies of the Penn Resilience Programs funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Department of Education. Dr. Reivich has been the lead instructor for more than 200 Penn Resilience Programs that have included approximately 10,000 people. She has supervised the delivery of more than 300 Penn Resilience Programs to numerous organizations, including schools, the U.S. Army, and a professional sports organization. She has extensively published in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-author of The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles.
DR. John Ratey
Dr. Ratey, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an internationally recognized expert in neuropsychiatry. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and 11 books. With the publication of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, Dr. Ratey has established himself as one of the world’s foremost authorities on the brain-fitness connection. His latest book, Go Wild explores how we can achieve optimal physical and mental health by getting in touch with our caveman roots, and how we can “re-wild” our lives.
DR. Sonja Lyubomirsky
Dr. Lyubomirsky is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Her research has been awarded a Templeton Positive Psychology Prize, a Science of Generosity grant, two John Templeton Foundation grants, a Character Lab grant, and a million-dollar grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to conduct research on the possibility of permanently increasing happiness. In her work, Dr. Lyubomirsky has focused on developing a science of human happiness. To this end, her research addresses three critical questions: (1) what makes people happy? (2) is happiness a good thing? (3) how can we make people happier still? Dr. Lyubomirsky is author of two best-sellers: The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want as well as The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, But Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, But Does.
MR. Tom Rath
Mr. Rath is a researcher, author, and filmmaker, who studies the role of human behavior in business, health, and well-being. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Pennslyvania. Mr. Rath has been described by business leaders and the media as one of the greatest thinkers and nonfiction writers of his generation. Tom has written six New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers over the past decade, starting with the #1 New York Times bestseller How Full Is Your Bucket? In 2016, his book StrengthsFinder 2.0 was listed by amazon.com as the top selling non-fiction book of all time. Tom’s bestsellers include Strengths Based Leadership, Wellbeing, and Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes. In total, his books have sold more than 6 million copies and have made more than 300 appearances on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. In addition to his work as a researcher, writer, and speaker, Mr. Rath serves as a senior scientist for and advisor to Gallup, where he previously spent thirteen years leading the organization’s work on employee engagement, strengths, leadership, and well-being. He is also a scientific advisor to Welbe, a startup focused on wearable technology.
dR. Jane Dutton
Dr. Dutton is the Robert L. Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration and Psychology at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. Dr. Dutton’s research focuses on how organizational conditions strengthen capabilities of individuals and firms. In particular, she examines how high-qualities connections (HQC), positive meaning, and emotions contribute to individual and organizational strengths. Dr. Dutton’s research has explored compassion and organizations, resilience and organizations, as well as energy and organizations. This research stream is part of positive organizational scholarship (POS), a sub-field of management and organizations that Dr. Dutton helped establish in 2001. In 2002, Dr. Dutton and colleagues founded the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, now known as the Center for Positive Organizations. She is the author of numerous scholarly articles and Energize Your Workplace.
DR. Barry Schwartz
Dr. Schwartz is the Dorwin P. Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College. He frequently publishes articles in the New York Times, USA Today, Scientific American, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has presented a TED Talk and is the author of numerous books including The Battle for Human Nature: Science, Morality, and Modern Life, The Costs of Living: How Market Freedom Erodes the Best Things in Life, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, and Practical Wisdom.
DR. Patricia Jennings
Dr. Jennings is an Associate Professor of Education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. She is an internationally recognized leader in the field of social and emotional learning with a specific emphasis on teacher stress and how it impacts the social and emotional context of the classroom and student learning. As Senior Director of the Initiative on Contemplative Teaching and Learning at the Garrison Institute, Dr. Jennings lead the faculty team that developed the Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE), a mindfulness-based program for teachers designed to reduce stress and promote improvements in classroom climate and student academic and behavioral outcomes. As Research Assistant Professor at the Prevention Research Center while at Penn State University, she has conducted a federally funded study demonstrating that the CARE improves teachers’ general well-being, health, emotion regulation, efficacy and mindfulness. A study currently underway is examining CARE’s effects on classroom climate and student academics and behavior. In addition to research, Dr. Jennings has over 22 years of classroom teaching experience.
DR. Paul Bloom
Dr. Bloom is the Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology & Cognitive Science at Yale University. Dr. Bloom is interested in the development and nature of common-sense understanding of ourselves and other people. Much of his research explores moral psychology—looking at morality in babies, developing intuitions about moral responsibility, and the role that anger, disgust, and empathy play in one’s moral lives. Dr. Bloom’s other ongoing projects explore children’s and adults’ beliefs about fate and free will; the relationship between thinking about populations and thinking about lifespans; the psychology of atheists; and common-sense dualism. He has presented a TED Talk and is the author of six books, including the acclaimed How Pleasure Works and Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil.
DR. Ryan Niemiec
Dr. Niemiec is a licensed psychologist, certified coach, author, and international workshop leader. His specialty areas include: character strengths, mindfulness meditation, positive psychology, health psychology, mind-body therapies, and psychology portrayed in media. Dr. Niemiec is Education Director of the VIA Institute on Character, a global, nonprofit organization in Cincinnati, Ohio that educates individuals about the science and practice of character strengths. The VIA Institute is considered a leading organization in positive psychology and the worldwide leader on the science of character strengths. Dr. Niemiec currently leads online workshops on the practice of character strengths for practitioners in coaching, business, psychology/counseling, and education. He is the author of Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing and co-author of Positive Psychology at the Movies: Using Films to Build Character Strengths and Well-Being.
DR. Amy Wrzesniewski
Dr. Wrzesniewski is a Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Yale School of Management, Yale University. Her research explores how people make meaning of their work, with a focus on the impact meaning has on employees and the organizations in which they work. These meanings have implications for how employees shape their tasks, interactions and relationships with others in the workplace to change the meaning of the job. Dr. Wrzesniewski’s research on the meaning of work has been published in a wide range of top academic journals and highlighted in several best-selling books and popular press outlets, including Forbes, Time, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review, U.S. News and World Report, and The Economist, as well as bestselling books such as Drive by Daniel Pink, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor, Authentic Happiness by Martin Seligman, and The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler.
DR. David Cooperrider
Dr. Cooperrider is the Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Currently, Dr. Cooperrider serves as Faculty Director of the Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. The center’s core proposition is that sustainable value creation is the business opportunity of the 21st century, indeed that every social and global issue of our day is an opportunity to ignite industry leading innovation, eco-entrepreneurship, and new sources of value. Dr. Cooperrider is best known as the co-creator and creative thought leader of Appreciative Inquiry (AI). His founding work with AI is creating a positive revolution in the leadership of change; it is helping institutions all over the world discover the power of the strength-based approaches to multi-stakeholder innovation and collaborative design. Dr. Cooperrider’s work is especially unique because of its ability to enable positive change, innovation, and sustainable design in systems of large and complex scale. He has published numerous scholarly articles and is co-author of the Appreciative Inquiry Handbook.