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Lynn Liben named Evan Pugh University Professor

Lynn Liben, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, Professor of Psychology, Human Development, and Education, and Director, Cognitive and Social Development Lab, was named an Evan Pugh University Professor in May of 2018.

Lynn Liben, McCourtney Professor of Child Studies, Professor of Psychology, Human Development, and Education, and Director, Cognitive and Social Development Lab, was named an Evan Pugh University Professor in May of 2018. Since its inception in 1960, only 75 faculty members have received this highest honor the Institution can give to a member of its faculty. Evan Pugh Professors are chosen because she or he "has displayed the courage to pioneer in her or his field, the discipline to remain at the forefront of research, and the generosity of spirit to share these accomplishments with students." A committee evaluates their research publications, creative work or both, and assesses contributions to the education of students who later achieve recognition for excellence in the candidate's discipline or interdisciplinary area.

Dr. Liben received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. Since joining Penn State in 1980, she has served as Founding Director of the Child Study Center and Head of the Department of Psychology. During her time at Penn State, she has also held numerous positions outside of Penn State: Visiting Scholar, Project Zero, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University; Visiting Fellow, National Geographic Society; Visiting Professor, City University of New York, Graduate Center; guest Professor, Department of Economics and Behavioral Sciences, Albert Ludwigs University, Freiburg, Germany; and, Visiting Scholar, Department of Applied Psychology, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University.

One focus of her 40+ year research career is on children’s developing understanding of spatial representations such as maps, diagrams, and photographs. She has applied her research to a variety of educational contexts including children’s television (e.g., Sesame Street), magazines (e.g., Highlights for Children), museums (e.g., The Exploratorium), art education, and to classroom instruction in geography and geology. A second focus of Dr. Liben's work is on the development of gender and racial stereotypes, including ways in which these stereotypes may affect children's educational and occupational choices. Her work at the intersection of the domains of space and gender includes the study of gender-related differences in spatial skills and of the gender gap in performance on the annual National Geographic Bee. She has published over 10 books and over 150 articles and chapters, edited major journals such as Child Development, served as president of organizations such as the Society for Research in Child Development, and held advisory positions in organizations such as the Board of Science Education of the National Academy of Sciences.

To view the Penn State News announcement, please click here.