Charles Perfetti Appointed Director of the University’s LRDC

Issue Date: 
June 23, 2008

080623_perfetti.jpgPitt professor Charles Perfetti has been named director of the University’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher announced on Friday. Perfetti, University Professor of Psychology and professor of linguistics, has served as associate director of the LRDC since 2000 and has been a senior scientist with the LRDC since he joined the University in 1967.

Perfetti succeeds Lauren Resnick, University Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science and the LRDC’s director since 1977, who last July announced her resignation. Since its founding in 1963, LRDC has fostered school reform through professional development for educators. LRDC scholars from several disciplines have contributed substantially to knowledge about human cognition, learning, and effective schooling and training.

“Dr. Perfetti will provide strong academic leadership to the LRDC, which already is recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for basic and applied research on teaching and learning,” said Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “He is a distinguished scholar who possesses the necessary administrative experience to build on the center’s strengths and priorities. He is keenly aware that team-building, cross-disciplinary cooperation, astute faculty hiring, and the continued attraction of research-grant funding all will be important elements of the LRDC’s future progress.”

Maher added, “Our current and crucial national discussions about the best education of children are far more likely to lead to real progress if they are informed by further advances in the science of human learning of the sort for which our Learning Research and Development Center is famous. I am confident that Professor Perfetti is just the right person to lead the Center in the pursuit of such advances.”

During Perfetti’s career at Pitt, he also has served as chair of the PhD program in cognitive psychology, chair of the Department of Psychology, and interim chair of the Department of Linguistics. He is a faculty member in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and serves as chief scientist of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. His central research interest is in the cognitive science of language and reading processes, including the nature of reading ability, the role of word recognition in comprehension, and the influence of writing systems in reading.

Perfetti is the author, coauthor, or coeditor of seven books, among them Higher Level Language Processes in the Brain: Inference and Comprehension Processes (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007), Text-based Learning and Reasoning: Studies in History (Lawrence Erlbaum, 1995), and Reading Ability (Oxford University Press, 1985). He also has written more than 150 professional journal articles and serves or has served on the editorial boards of a number of major peer-reviewed journals.

He is chair of the Commission on Reading Research for the National Institute for Literacy and received the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.

Perfetti earned his PhD degree in experimental psychology at the University of Michigan and the BS degree in psychology at the University of Illinois.