Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center Continues Celebrating 50th Anniversary

Issue Date: 
September 16, 2013

In 1963, two Pitt visionaries—the late Robert Glaser, a Pitt cognitive psychologist, and the late James Steele Gow Jr., a Pitt administrator and educator in political science—created Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center to advance the study of learning. Fifty years later, the center has developed an international reputation by bringing together top experts in diverse fields such as law, computer science, and psychology to promote research on learning.

To celebrate its five decades of research, the center created the 50th Anniversary Distinguished Lecture Series. On Sept. 19, the center continues this free, public lecture series with former undersecretary of education at the U.S. Department of Education Marshall Smith. All lectures will be held at 3 p.m. at Pitt’s University Club, 123 University Place, Oakland. Reservations are required; please RSVP online.

The schedule and topics of the final two lectures in the 2013 Distinguished Speaker Series follow.

Thursday, Sept. 19

 “Federalism and School Reform in a Changing Environment”

Marshall “Mike” Smith, former undersecretary of education at the U.S. Department of Education, and former dean of Stanford University’s School of Education

In his lecture, Smith will address two questions: 1) How can we strengthen America’s education system to improve the depth and complexity of our students’ knowledge and skills?; and 2) How can we dramatically reduce the performance gaps brought on by poverty and a lack of educational opportunity? He will discuss new opportunities and research addressing both issues within the context of our current education system.


Thursday, Oct. 17

“Optimal Motivation in Education”

Judith Harackiewicz, professor of psychology at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Harackiewicz studies factors influencing motivation in academic success. In her lecture, Harackiewicz will discuss classroom studies documenting the importance of achievement goals and how students value the worth of academic performance in college courses. Harackiewicz will also review current research on motivational interventions and discuss both their efficacy in closing achievement gaps and their potential to promote optimal motivation among all students.

Visit http://www.lrdc.pitt.edu/ for more information.