Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

UIC SEL Research Group Heading link

The Social and Emotional Learning Lab is a team led by Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl in the Department of Psychology at UIC.

The research conducted by Dr. Schonert-Reichl and the members of the lab primarily focuses on social and emotional learning (SEL) and development, with a particular emphasis on discerning the processes and mechanisms that foster children’s positive human qualities, such as empathy, optimism, happiness, social responsibility, altruism, and resiliency.

We have outstanding collaborators including UIC faculty, students, and research staff, as well as partners from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and school districts around the country.

Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl Heading link

Kim headshot

Dr. Kimberly A. Schonert-Reichl is the NoVo Foundation Endowed Chair in Social and Emotional Learning and Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 1991 to 2020, she was a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). In July, 2020, Dr. Schonert-Reichl completed a five-year appointment as the Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership, an interdisciplinary research institute focused on child development in the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl received her MA in Educational Psychology from the University of Chicago, her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Iowa, and completed her postdoctoral work as a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Fellow in the Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence at the University of Chicago and the Department of Psychiatry at Northwestern University Medical School. Prior to her graduate work, Dr. Schonert-Reichl worked as middle school teacher and then as a teacher at an alternative high school for adolescents identified as at risk for high school completion.

Known as a world-renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL), Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research focuses on identification of the processes that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency in children and adolescents. Her projects in this area include studies examining the effectiveness of classroom-based universal SEL programs including such programs as the Roots of Empathy, MindUp, and the Kindness in the Classroom Curriculum. Her work also includes a focus on SEL and teachers – and she has authored several articles on teachers’ well-being and the integration of SEL into teacher preparation programs. Some of her other projects include collaborations with neuroscientists and psychobiologists examining biological processes, including stress physiology and social epigenetics, to children’s social and emotional development in school settings. Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s work also includes a focus on SEL assessment. For example, over the last decade she has led the development and implementation of the Middle Years Development Instrument, or MDI, a measure that captures children’s voices regarding their social and emotional well-being, physical health, and resiliency inside and outside of school. The MDI has been administered to over 300,000 children worldwide, and has been translated into Italian, French, German, Hebrew, and Spanish.

Over the past several years Dr. Schonert-Reichl has received several awards for her work. She is the recipient of the 2021 Janusz Korczak Medal for Children’s Rights Advocacy, the 2019 Postsecondary Leader of the Year Award Canadian Edtech Awards, the 2015 Joseph E. Zins Distinguished Scholar Award for outstanding research on social and emotional learning (SEL), and the 2009 Confederation of University Faculty Associations BC’s Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award in recognition of sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research over the major portion of a career. She is also an elected Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and a Fellow of the Botin Foundation’s Platform for Innovation in Education.

Since 2006, Dr. Schonert-Reichl has been invited to participate in several dialogues with the Dalai Lama on the themes of cultivating compassion and educating the heart. For example, in 2018 she participated in a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and scholars in the Mind and Life Institute’s meeting titled “Reimagining Human Flourishing” in Dharamasala, India, Her work with the Dalai Lama was also highlighted in the 2017 documentary “The Last Dalai Lama?” by the award-winning producer/director, Mickey Lemle.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl has been involved with many scholarly committees and consultancies. She served as an advisor to the British Columbia (BC) Ministry Education on the development and implementation of the redesign of the Curriculum and Assessment Framework that focuses on the promotion of students’ personal and social competencies (SEL); an Expert Advisor to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development’s (OECD) Education 2030 initiative, a Board Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and an advisor to UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) on SEL.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl has over 170 publications in scholarly journals, book chapters, and reports, and has edited two books on mindfulness in education, including a co-edited book (with Dr. Robert W. Roeser) published by Springer Press in 2016 titled “Handbook of Mindfulness in Education: Integrating Theory and Research Into Practice.” She has presented her research at over 300 scholarly conferences and has given over 400 presentations on the topic of children’s social and emotional development and social emotional learning to lay audiences, including parents, community organizations, educators, and policy makers. Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research has been highlighted in several magazines and newspapers across Canada, the US, and internationally, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Scientific American Mind, Neurology Now, The Huffington Post, The Telegraph, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail, The Los Angeles Times, US News, The National Post, Canadian Living Magazine, Reader’s Digest – Canada, The Greater Good, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, 24, and Today’s Parents.

Click here for Kim’s CV.