Promoting Character Development Among Diverse Children and Adolescents:
The Roles of Families, Schools, and Out-Of-School-Time Youth Development Programs

October 18 - 20, 2018
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Announcing an additional Call for Submissions for a
Special Poster Session for Early-Career Scholars! 

Deadline to submit a poster for this special event is May 23, 2018, 8:00 PM EDT

(Regular submissions closed March 27, 2018 and decisions will be sent by the end of June)

Organizers: Richard M. Lerner, Tufts University and Deborah Lowe Vandell, University of California-Irvine

Parents, schools, and out-of-school programs are united in an interest in identifying the contexts of youth that are associated with positive development. With increasing frequency, this interest is focused on a key indicator of such development: Character. Embodied by the vision of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, that “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” the growing interest in character development is predicated on the aspirations of parents and of youth-development practitioners that enhancing children’s character will benefit both individuals and civil society.

Following on a 2016 meeting at the National Academies of Science Measuring Character Development, the 2018 Special Topics Character Development Meeting seeks to bring together developmental scientists, philosophers, educators, and practitioners to advance theory, research, and program practices pertinent to understanding character development as it occurs within and across the key settings of youth development. The program is expected to feature, among other topics, findings from longitudinal studies of character, work by biologists and epigenetic researchers who study social genomics and the mutually influential relations between individual and context, and practitioners within family, school, and out-of-school settings whose programs seek to promote character development. Other topics will include sessions that focus on the development of measures of character development that reflect both change-sensitive and invariant aspects of character and evaluation strategies for assessing programs designed to foster character development.

Exciting sessions planned for the Invited Program with more details to come!

Keynote Addresses by:
Marvin W. Berkowitz, University of Missouri, St. Louis on schools and character development
Marc H. Bornstein, National Institutes of Health on character in context
David Brooks, New York Times
Steven W. Cole, University of California, Los Angeles on character development and human epigenetics
Stephanie M. Jones, Harvard Graduate School of Education on interventions that promote character development
Velma McBride Murry, Vanderbilt University on character development in diverse children and adolescents

Invited Views by Two featuring
Angela L. Duckworth, University of Pennsylvania and
David S. Yeager, University of Texas at Austin

Invited Symposia organized by
Frosso Motti, University of Athens,
Sandra D. Simpkins, University of California, Irvine on out-of-school-time programs and character development and
Yalda T. Uhls, University of California, Los Angeles and Common Sense Media on parenting and character development

Invited Roundtable organized by
Sarah M. Clement, John Templeton Foundation: Conversation with Funders

Questions? Email