Development Within Family, School, and Neighborhood Contexts

Families, schools, and neighborhoods represent nested and interrelated contexts that influence, and are influenced by, developmental processes throughout the life span. Faculty research focuses on understanding these dynamic influences with the goal of supporting the functioning of families, schools, and neighborhood organizations in ways that optimize positive infant, child, and adolescent development.

Ann Higgins-D’Alessandro conducts federally-funded research on character education programs aimed at promoting students’ prosocial attitudes and abilities, as well as positive academic motivation through the meditational effects of changing school culture and teacher expectations. She is also conducting research on the long-term effects of Just Community high schools, examining how their focus on democratic governance, civic engagement, and moral and social justice issues are instantiated in the current work lives, volunteer activities, and community engagement of alumni, 21 to 55 years old. She is an editor of The Handbook of Prosocial Education (forthcoming, Rowman & Littlefield), which encompasses research and exemplary practices on the full range of education efforts to foster the prosocial development of children, adolescents, and youth. The book makes the case that prosocial development is co-equal with academic learning and guidelines for enhancing teacher education, and has clear implications for educational policy to radically improve our nation's schools.  

Joshua Brown’s research, funded by IES, the W.T. Grant Foundation, and NIMH, focuses on the social, emotional, behavioral, and academic development of children during middle childhood and adolescence, and whether and how school-based intervention can establish classroom and school contexts that foster positive development in each of these domains. 

Affiliated faculty member David Glenwick's (clinical graduate program) research addresses clinical prevention and early intervention efforts with children and adolescents.