Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 9th biennial conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (APA Division 9). The theme for the conference was “Changing Societies: Learning From and For Research, Social Action, and Policy.“ As part of the presidential programming, I had the great fortune to organize an invited panel on desegregation stories in the South and chair an invited panel on youth organizing for educational engagement and justice. These two panels turned out to be just one of many that featured youth development and youth organizing throughout the conference. Continue reading →
By Angela Henneberger, recent Curry graduate and YN researcher (PhD, Applied Developmental Science, ’12)
Valerie Futch, Angela Henneberger, Peter Lovegrove, Michelle Maier (not pictured: Ross Larsen, Chris Hafen)
The 2012 annual Society for Prevention Research (SPR) convention was held on May 29–June 1, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC. It is very exciting to me that the theme of this year’s conference was “Promoting Healthy Living Through Prevention Science.” This Spring, I had the opportunity to attend the Youth-Nex summit, a gathering of prominent researchers in the field of prevention and positive youth development. Continue reading →
I had the privilege of spending the last week with a great group of undergraduate researchers and my colleagues at the Public Science Project for their annual Critical Participatory Action Research (PAR) Institute. Thanks to a grant from UVA’s Jefferson Public Citizens program, we were able to bring our community partner, Sibley Johns, director of Charlottesville’s Music Resource Centerwith us to brainstorm our youth PAR evaluation project that begins this summer.
We’re lucky enough to have captured on video the Youth-Nex Working Conference —where six panels and 23 scholars congregated to further scientific understanding of how to promote effective youth development through the Positive Youth Development (PYD) lens.
Be a part of the discussion chaired by Jeanne Brooks-Gunn: “Learning from Prevention Science and Developmental-Intervention Approaches to Improve PYD Interventions and Evaluations.” We welcome your comments. Video.
In the light of the need to provide research and action that integrates PYD into what we already know, Dr. Tolan recently posited: Continue reading →
In the past decade, bullying has become recognized as a pervasive problem in schools. Our research at the University of Virginia has highlighted the importance of creating a positive school climate that is conducive to healthy peer interactions and supportive teacher-student relationships. A positive youth development perspective offers new strategies and perspectives on the prevention of bullying and the facilitation of emotional and academic development.
The conferences are designed to bring together some of the nation’s leading experts to give us an understanding of effective principles and practices and to advance the best scientific work in the field. New findings from these experts will be presented at the conference. Continue reading →
I was fortunate enough to be able to hear Rick Little deliver the keynote address at the Youth-Nex working conference dinner on April 2. My impression of Mr. Little, when my colleague and I assisted him with some logistics earlier in the day, was that he was a very kind and unassuming man. The arrangements were the type that would have exasperated even the most restrained among us. Through it all, however, Little remained unfazed and affable. This was only a glimpse into his profound humanity, as I learned about the scope of his accomplishments and significance of his work during his talk later that evening. (The talk is posted at end of this entry.)
We’ve been posting a lot about the Youth-Nex Working Conference held in April. Now you can view the discussion. Here’s the first of the panel videos with an introduction by Patrick Tolan: “Identifying the Fundamental PYD Processes Affecting Development: Optimal Targets for Intervention.” Distinguished panelists are: Stephen Hamilton (chair), Richard Catalano, Richard Lerner, Anne Petersen, and Margaret Spencer. More panel video to come. View Video
It was an exciting couple of days. On April 2-3 we were able to bring together 23 invited scholars —many world-renowned leaders in their fields—to U.Va.’s beautiful Morven Farm.
As you read more about the conference, now and over the coming weeks, we hope you will utilize this blog as a point of exchange for thoughts about the conference and for your work relating to PYD. Continue reading →
The presentations at the Youth-Nex conference were truly amazing! There is so much exciting work being done in the field. I hope we can begin to build a science of positive youth development, and the Youth-Nex conference set a high bar for us.
One thing that really struck me, and which is important for my own work and I think for the field, is the need to build consensus around constructs (and measures) that help us conceptualize important outcomes. Many of us work with programs to design and conduct evaluation research, yet we all focus on a separate set of constructs and use different measures. Continue reading →
Recently, I had the privilege of participating in a mini-conference (1.5 days) aimed at furthering the development of an agenda for Youth-Nex, a relatively new trans-disciplinary center at UVA focused on promoting effective youth development. Center Director Dr. Patrick H. Tolan and Dr. Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, Tufts University, who has been my friend and colleague for 35 years, organized the conference. The assembled scholars and practitioners each presented short talks (15 minutes or so) to call attention to some aspect of positive youth development (PYD) the speaker thought should be attended to in the development of an agenda of future Youth-Nex programs.
Having no academic credentials regarding PYD, I was free to make some remarks pertaining especially to general issues having to do with the measurement of abstract concepts (such as PYD) which I did with great relish. I confess to being something of a skeptic regarding the “positive” psychology movement, in general. Now that the mini-conference is over, I further confess to being genuinely impressed by both the passion for their topics and the effective youth development concept but also with the concern for maintaining scientific rigor in all aspects of the programming that seemed to be shared by all of the participants. This was both striking and gratifying to one whose nearly 50 years of scholarly activity have been confined to basic research. I have every reason to believe that the Youth-Nex venture, with its many compelling implications for the future of our society, will be unusually successful.
John Nesselroade is the Hugh Scott Hamilton Professor of Psychology Emeritus, University of Virginia