Robert W. Roeser, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Post Office Box 751
Robert W. Roeser is a Professor of Psychology in the Department of Applied Psychology at Portland State University and the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute. He received his Ph.D. from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan (1996) and holds master's degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology and clinical social work. In 2005 he was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India, and from 1999-2004 he was a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar.
Dr. Roeser's research focuses primarily on how schools, as central cultural contexts of human development, affect both academic and non-academic aspects of "whole persons" across childhood, adolescence, and emerging adulthood.
He studies how variations in various features of middle and high school environments are associated not only with variations in patterns of achievement and educational attainments among U.S. adolescent students over time; but also in their motivation to learn and student identity commitments; their feelings of emotional well-being, stress and distress; and their behavioral conduct while in school. More recently, he has studied cultural identity development among urban adolescents during a period of rapid globalization in India; the emergence of a national identity among ethnically diverse youth in South Africa during the post-Apartheid Era; and the role of religion and spirituality in the positive development of immigrant youth in the United States. Although the primary focus of his research is on education and adolescent development in various nations, Dr. Roeser is also interested in teachers and how secondary school environments, as well as teacher education programs, can shape aspects of teachers' professional identity development in ways that affect their success as teachers of adolescents.
Currently, Dr. Roeser has established the Culture and Contemplation in Education Laboratory (CaCiEL) at Portland State University to study how the introduction of developmentally and cultural appropriate contemplative practices (i.e., mindfulness meditation) into mainstream schools may prove to be a novel way of reducing stress, enhancing well-being, strengthening motivation and self-regulatory capacity, and cultivating clear and compassionate forms of awareness among educators, staff, and students alike.
The goal of this work is to develop high quality science on the design, implementation, and effectiveness of culturally- and developmentally-informed programs that incorporate mindfulness and compassion training for children, youth, and the adults that are so central in their lives.