Robert W. Roeser
Bennett Pierce Chair in Caring and Compassion, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
115 Health and Human Development Building
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.
Measuring Teacher Care in Elementary and Middle School Classrooms: Positivity, Presence, and Patience
Testing the Efficacy of Mindfulness Training for Teachers on Improving Classroom Settings for Early Adolescents
Mindfulness and Compassion Programs and Practices in K-12 Urban Educational Reform: Designing a Sustainable Future
Mindful Yoga to Help Treat Opioid Dependence
Colaianne, B. A., Lavelle, B.D., Small, M. L., & Roeser, R. W. (2002). Cultivating compassion for self and others: A School-based pilot study for peer-nominated caring adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12795
Roeser, R. W., Galla, B. M., & Baelen, R. N. (2022). 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. Updated version with new appendices
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
September 22, 2022
Cultivating adolescents’ compassion skills for the self and otherRead more.
May 16, 2022
Understanding the life aspirations of urban adolescents in CambodiaRead more.
April 15, 2022
Compassion training and anti-racism the focus of 2022 Compassion WeekRead more.
April 01, 2022
Lecture on Compassion to address how to make compassion training more effectiveRead more.
February 16, 2022
Reducing stress one pose at a timeRead more.
December 03, 2021
New study shows benefits of mindfulness for middle-school teachersRead more.
September 21, 2021
New study: Can mindful yoga reduce opioid dependence?Read more.
August 30, 2021
Teaching mindfulness to help navigate changeRead more.
July 28, 2021
Tips on managing stress and building resilienceRead more.
June 04, 2021
Rob Roeser honored with Mind & Life Service Award
“We have to understand the families of knowledge that we can bring to bear on today’s complex challenges,” says Mind & Life Steering Council member Robert W. Roeser, who has served as co-creator, facilitator, and presenter at numerous Mind & Life events, and as a key advisor on initiatives such as the Education of the Heart Digital Dialogue.Read more.
June 03, 2021
Gift to strengthen program on mindfulness, empathy and compassion in education
Kevin and Karen Lynch form one of the most formidable power couples in the global health sector. As the founder, president and CEO of the Quell Foundation, Kevin oversees a nationally acclaimed mental health organization that is dedicated to reducing rates of suicides, overdoses and incarceration of people experiencing mental health illness. Karen, as president and chief executive officer of CVS Health, leads a team of more than 300,000 colleagues in providing health insurance and services to an estimated 34 million people.Read more.
May 14, 2021
School-based mindfulness programs show promising impacts for students
Dozens of school-based mindfulness programs (SBMPs) have been developed and implemented in a range of school contexts across the world. These programs are often designed to teach students how to pay attention, regulate stress, feel better emotionally, engage in healthy relationships, and do better in school. As the number of mindfulness programs has increased, so too have the number of research evaluations of these programs’ impacts, outcomes, and effectiveness.Read more.
March 09, 2021
Penn State community invited to join in meditation for Wellness Day
Guided meditations promote calm, compassion, and a sense of peaceRead more.
January 14, 2021
'Mindfulness' on your mind? It has limits, review finds
Robert Roeser is quoted in this story from HealthDay.Read more.
June 22, 2020
'Human Flourishing' course to support students during challenging times
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — University students and educators alike are grappling with turbulent times, and Penn State’s 3-credit general education course on the “Art and Science of Human Flourishing” (HDFS 108N) is being fine-tuned to guide students in how to engage in compassionate dialogue about racism, COVID-19 and our social responsibilities to each other.Read more.
May 12, 2020
Kind Hearts and Curious Minds: Caring and compassion professor Rob Roeser featured in the Penn Stater
Below is an excerpt from the feature article in the May/June issue of the Penn Stater magazine. View the full article.Read more.
June 18, 2019
Bringing mindfulness to the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts
Caring and compassion researchers will be featured at Art of Discovery booth July 12Read more.
October 02, 2018
Penn State researcher receives federal grant to study early learning program
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A Penn State researcher has a major role in a $3.3 million federal grant award to study the impact of MindUp, an early-learning program aimed at improving children's readiness for kindergarten and later grades.Read more.
August 14, 2018
'Educating the heart' is focus of course on living a life of flourishing
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A course in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at Penn State is designed to assist students in cultivating their well-being and exploring what it means to live a life of flourishing.Read more.
July 19, 2018
Portland State, Penn State partners on $3.3 million grant to study impact of kindergarten readiness program
A Portland State University professor has received a $3.3 million federal grant to study the impact of an early-learning program aimed at improving children's readiness for kindergarten and later grades.Read more.