Headshot of Robert W.  Roeser

Robert W. Roeser

Bennett Pierce Chair in Caring and Compassion, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

115 Health and Human Development Building
814-863-7005
rwr15@psu.edu
Pronouns: he/his

Introduction & Projects

"I am interested deeply in the art and science of living a life of flourishing."

Robert W. Roeser is the Bennett Pierce Professor of Caring and Compassion, and a Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, in the College of Health and Human Development at Penn State. 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 (Holy Names College), developmental psychology and clinical social work (University of Michigan). He has held faculty appointments at Stanford University, Portland State University, and Penn State University.

In 2005 and 2016, Dr. Roeser was a United States Fulbright Scholar in India; and from 1999-2004 he was a William T. Grant Faculty Scholar. From 2006 to 2010, he served as the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute and a coordinator for the Mind and Life Education Research Network (MLERN). Since, that time, Dr. Roeser has served in numerous roles with the Mind and Life Institute and currently is a member of its steering committee.

Dr. Roeser’s main research interests are in the areas of human motivation, identity and learning; adolescence and early adulthood, schooling as a central cultural context affecting students’ academic, social-emotional and identity development; and the implementation and impacts of mindfulness and compassion training programs on parent, teacher and student outcomes with respect to health and wellbeing, teaching and learning, and the creation of compassionate and equitable learning environments in schools. He also has a deep scholarly interest in indigenous Asian Indian psychologies and related forms of pedagogy, and conducts developmental and educational research in India on efforts at holistic human development and holistic education based on these indigenous ideas.

His recent scholarly articles have focused on mindfulness in education, compassion in human development, and the need for new forms of holistic education to meet pressing global challenges.

Prevention-related Projects

Recent Publications

Can the academic and experiential study of flourishing improve flourishing in college students? A multi-university study

Hirshberg, M.J., Colaianne, B.A., Greenberg, M.T., Inkelas, K. K., Davidson, R. J., Germano, D., Dunne, J. D., & Roeser, R. W. (2022). Can the academic and experiential study of flourishing improve flourishing in college students? A multi-university study. Mindfulness. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01952-1

Mindfulness training improves middle school teachers’ occupational health, well-being, and interactions with students in their most stressful classrooms

Roeser, R. W., Mashburn, A. J., Skinner, E. A., Choles, J. R., Taylor, C., Rickert, N. P., Pinela, C., Robbeloth, J., Saxton, E., Weiss, E., Cullen, M., & Sorenson, J. (2021). Mindfulness training improves middle school teachers’ occupational health, well-being, and interactions with students in their most stressful classrooms. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000675

Does variability across three universities in the implementation of a college course on human flourishing affect student outcomes?

Inkelas, K.K., Colaianne, B.A., Hirshberg, M.J., Greenberg, M.T., Davidson, R.J., Dunne, J.D., Germano, D., & Roeser, R.W. (2021). Does variability across three universities in the implementation of a college course on human flourishing affect student outcomes? Journal of American College Health. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2021.1920956

The effectiveness of a teacher delivered mindfulness-based curriculum on adolescent social-emotional and executive functioning

Frank, J. L., Broderick, P. C., Oh, Y., Mitra, J., Kohler, K., Schussler, D. L., Geier, C., Roeser, R., Berrena, E., Mahfouz, J., Levitan, J., Greenberg, M. T. (2021). The effectiveness of a teacher delivered mindfulness-based curriculum on adolescent social-emotional and executive functioning. Mindfulness, 12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-021-01594-9

Mindfulness in schools: Evidence on the impacts of school-based mindfulness programs on student outcomes in P-12 educational settings

Roeser, R. W., Galla, B. M., & Baelen, R. N. (2020). Mindfulness in schools: Evidence on the impacts of school-based mindfulness programs on student outcomes in P–12 educational settings. University Park, PA: Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, The Pennsylvania State University.

Kind hearts and curious minds

As Penn State's first-ever professor of caring and compassion, Rob Roeser is tasked with designing classes that meld the ancient practices of mindfulness and mediation with modern science. The goal is to help students become calmer and more focused--and ultimately, to be more engaged and caring citizens of the world. A feature story in Research|Penn State magazine written Savita Iyer & illustrated by Gracia Lam

Perceptions of mindful teaching are associated with longitudinal changes in adolescents' mindfulness and compassion

Colaianne, B.A., Galla, B.M., & Roeser, R.W. (2019). Perceptions of mindful teaching are associated with longitudinal changes in adolescents' mindfulness and compassion. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 41(1). https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0165025419870864

Embodied teacher mindfulness in the classroom: The Calm, Clear, Kind framework

Taylor, C., Jennings, P.A., Harris, A., Schussler, D.L. & Roeser, R.W. (2019).  Embodied teacher mindfulness in the classroom:  The Calm, Clear, Kind framework. In P.A. Jennings, A. Demauro, & P. Mischenko (Eds.), Mindfulness in Schools: Transforming School Cultures through Mindful Awareness and Compassion. NY: Norton. 

Mindfulness-based emotional balance

Cullen, M., Roeser, R. W., & Brito-Pons, G. (2019). Mindfulness-Based Emotional Balance: History of development, curriculum, and research. In Ivtzan, I. (Ed.), Handbook of Mindfulness-Based Programmes (1st ed., pp. 64-76). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315265438 

On the role of mindfulness and compassion skills in students' coping, well-being, and development across the transition to college: A conceptual analysis

Dvorakova, K., Greenberg, M. T., & Roeser, R. W. (2019). On the role of mindfulness and compassion skills in students' coping, well-being, and development across the transition to college: A conceptual analysis. Stress and Health, 35, 146-156. https://doi.org/10.1002/smi.2850.

Compassion and human development: Current approaches and future directions

Roeser, R., Colaianne, B., & Greenberg, M. (2018). Compassion and human development: Current approaches and future Directions. Research in Human Development, (15)3-4, 238-251. https://doi.org/10.1080/15427609.2018.1495002

Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes

Crain, T. L., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2016, In Press). Cultivating teacher mindfulness: Effects of a randomized controlled trial on work, home, and sleep outcomes. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. http://http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000043. doi: 19391307

School and community influences on human development

Eccles, J., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). School and community influences on human development. In M. H. Bornstein & M. E. Lamb (Co-Eds.), Developmental psychology: An advanced textbook, 7th ed. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Mindfulness in students' motivation and learning in school

Roeser, R. W. (2016). Mindfulness in students' motivation and learning in school. In K. Wentzel & D. B. Miele (Eds.), Handbook on motivation at school. New York: Taylor & Francis.

Processes of teaching, learning, and transfer in Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) for teachers: A contemplative educational perspective

Roeser, R. W. (2016). Processes of teaching, learning, and transfer in Mindfulness-Based Interventions (MBIs) for teachers: A contemplative educational perspective. In K. Schonert-Reichl & R. W. Roeser (Eds.), The handbook of mindfulness in education: Integrating theory and research into practice (pp. 149-170). New York: Springer. http://http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/9781493935062_10. I

Mindfulness in education: Introduction and overview of the handbook

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). Mindfulness in education: Introduction and overview of the handbook. In K. Schonert-Reichl & R. W. Roeser (Eds.), Handbook of mindfulness in education: Theory, research, practice, and future directions (pp. 316). New York: Springer. http://http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/9781493935062_1.

The handbook of mindfulness in education: Integrating theory and research into practice

Schonert-Reichl, K., & Roeser, R. W. (Co-Eds.) (2016). The handbook of mindfulness in education: Integrating theory and research into practice. New York: Springer.

Examining ways that a mindfulness-based intervention reduces stress in public school teachers: A mixed-methods study

Taylor, C., Harrison, J., Haimovitz, K., Oberle, E., Thomson, K., Schonert-Reichl, K., & Roeser, R. W. (2016). Examining ways that a mindfulness-based intervention reduces stress in public school teachers: A mixed-methods study. Mindfulness, 7(1), 115-129. http://http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s1267101504254.

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