Bringing out the best: Nurturing students’ resilience and strengths

December 1, 2016

Jane Gillham
Co-Director of University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Resiliency Project and the Positive Psychology for Youth Project

For the past 25 years, much of Jane’s work has focused on developing, evaluating, and disseminating interventions that aim to promote well-being in children and adolescents. She is an author of several resilience and positive psychology programs that are being used in schools around the world, including the Penn Resiliency Programs for children and adolescents and a Positive Psychology curriculum for high school students. She has led several large studies evaluating these and other programs, including projects funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the U.S. Department of Education. Jane also regularly collaborates with schools and other organizations that are working to develop and incorporate positive psychology and positive education practices. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology and on the editorial boards of Psychological Bulletin and the International Journal of Emotional Education. Her research articles have been published in numerous scientific journals including School Psychology Quarterly, Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Early Adolescence, Journal of Positive Psychology, and Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, Together with Martin Seligman, Karen Reivich, and Lisa Jaycox, she is an author of the book, The Optimistic Child.


Jane Gillham is a psychologist, educator, and researcher whose work focuses on well-being in youth, especially how families, schools, and communities can help youth to thrive. Jane is an Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology at Swarthmore College, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. For many years, she has co-directed the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Resiliency Project and the Positive Psychology for Youth Project. Jane received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania (where she worked with Dr. Martin Seligman, with whom she has collaborated extensively on research for the past 25 years). She received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Princeton University and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in clinical child psychology at Yale University’s Child Study Center.

photo of Jane Gillham