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2014 Bronfenbrenner Lecture: Richard Lerner, Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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"Making Human Beings Human:” Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Vision for Understanding and Enhancing Positive Human Development
Richard M. Lerner, Tufts University

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
G10 Biotech Building

This event will be live streamed here.

Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological theory provides a model for linking theory and research in the service of enhancing human development and promoting social justice. The key feature of this theory involves the Process-Person-Context-Time (PPCT) model. The model is an instance of action theory, in that process pertains to actions involving developmental regulations marked by bidirectional, individual-context relations (represented as individual/context relations); as such, the model accounts for both individual and contextual outcomes across human ontogeny. In the model, individual ontogenetic characteristics and temporality represent person and time; and the complexity of engagement by the person with the multi-level and nested ecology of human development, which includes historical temporality, represents context and time. Bronfenbrenner’s theory is an exemplar of the relational developmental systems metamodel that is a focus of much of contemporary developmental science and, as such, his theory provides a key frame for conceptions of development that seek to describe, explain, and optimize humans’ lives. The Positive Youth Development (PYD) perspective is a sample case of this contribution of Bronfenbrenner’s theory. Accordingly, I describe the PYD perspective, and review data from the 4-H Study of PYD to illustrate how ideas associated with the PPCT model enhance understanding, and the promotion, of thriving among adolescents. Such use of Bronfenbrenner’s theory has important implications for future research and for policies and program seeking to optimize the quality of the lives of diverse individuals, that is, to make human beings human.

Richard M. Lerner is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. He went from kindergarten through Ph.D within the New York City public schools, completing his doctorate at the City University of New York in 1971 in developmental psychology. Lerner has more than 500 scholarly publications, including 70 authored or edited books. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and of Applied Developmental Science, which he continues to edit. He was a 1980-81 fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.

Prior to joining Tufts University, he was on the faculty and held administrative posts at The Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University, and Boston College, where he was the Anita L. Brennan Professor of Education and the Director of the Center for Child, Family, and Community Partnerships. During the 1994-95 academic year, Lerner held the Tyner Eminent Scholar Chair in the Human Sciences at Florida State University.

Lerner is known for his theory of relations between life-span human development and social change, and for his research about the relations between adolescents and their peers, families, schools, and communities. As illustrated by his 2004 book, Liberty: Thriving and Civic Engagement among America’s Youth, and his 2007 book, The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myth of the Storm and Stress Years, his work integrates the study of public policies and community-based programs with the promotion of positive youth development and youth contributions to civil society.


September 09, 2014
Dr Lidsay Smith

Is the presentation by R Lerner being streamed live or recorded?

September 10, 2014

Yes to both. I've added the link to the live stream. The recording will be posted to our YouTube channel and to the Media Library page on this site by about 2 weeks after the talk.

September 11, 2014
Dr Lindsay Smith

Thank you. I will listen from Australia.

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