About

One of the world’s leading scholars of human development, William Damon is Professor of Education at Stanford University and the Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence. Prior to joining Stanford in 1997, he was University Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Human Development at Brown University.

By focusing his work on the positive aspects of “growing up” rather than on the severe behavioral problems of adolescents, Damon has put himself on the forefront of the emerging positive psychology movement in the United States. Damon speaks regularly to public and academic audiences about contemporary trends in child development and has written widely about personal development and moral commitment at all ages of life.

His current research explores how people develop character and a sense of purpose in their work, family, and community relationships. He examines how young people can approach their careers with a focus on purpose, imagination, and high standards of excellence. Damon also has written widely about how to educate for ethical understanding. His work is used in professional training programs in the fields of journalism, law, and business.

Damon is the author of 18 books and numerous book chapters and articles on education and human development, especially character development. His work has been influential for research and theory in academic developmental psychology and in the broader society, especially around questions of childrearing and schooling. His 1995 book, Greater Expectations: Overcoming the Culture of Indulgence in Our Homes and Schools helped create a societal push to increase standards for achievement and service and was the recipient of the prestigious Parents’ Choice® award. Damon’s other books written for general audiences include The Moral Child, Some Do Care, The Youth Charter and Good Work. He is founding editor of the well-known series, New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development and editor in chief of the definitive Handbook of Child Psychology, fifth and sixth editions.

Damon’s research and insights have been regularly covered in national publications, including the Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, Washington Post. His many national talk show appearances include Oprah, Today, Primetime Live, Talk of the Nation, The Diane Rehm Show, and Morning Edition.

Among many national recognitions, Damon was recently elected to the National Academy of Education. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Northern California.