Walter Gilliam, PhD

Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychology; Profesor of Psychology; Director, The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

Departments & Organizations

Child Study Center: Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy: Yale-China Program on Child Development | Predoctoral Internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology

Office of Cooperative Research


Walter S. Gilliam is Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, as well as the Director of The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. He is a member of the board of directors for ZERO TO THREE, Child Care Aware of America, the Irving Harris Foundation; All Our Kin, and First Children's Finance; a research fellow of the National Institute for Early Education Research; and former Senior Advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Dr. Gilliam is co-recipient of the prestigious 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for the coauthored book A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. Dr. Gilliam’s research involves early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, the impact of early childhood education programs on children’s school readiness, and effective methods for reducing classroom behavior problems and preschool expulsion. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. Dr. Gilliam has led national analyses of state-funded prekindergarten policies and mandates, how prekindergarten programs are being implemented across the range of policy contexts, and the effectiveness of these programs at improving school readiness and educational achievement, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental studies on methods to improve early education quality. His work frequently has been covered in major national and international news outlets for print (e.g., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, LA Times), radio (e.g., NPR), and television (e.g., CNN Headline News, NBC TODAY Show, CBS Early Show, ABC Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, FOX News). Dr. Gilliam actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers in the U.S. and other countries and is frequently called to provide U.S. Congressional testimony and briefings on issues related to early care and education.

Education & Training

PhD University of Kentucky (1996)
MSEd University of Kentucky (1993)
Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Yale University School of Medicine
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology Yale University School of Medicine
Internship in Clinical Psychology Yale University School of Medicine

Honors & Recognition

  • First for Kids Award, Priscilla Canny Research AwardConnecticut Voices for Children (2008)

  • Grawemeyer Award in EducationGrawemeyer Committee, University of Louisville (2008)

Professional Service

  • (2011 - Present) Journal of School Psychology

  • Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet, Connecticut Governor’s State Advisory Council (SAC) (2011 - Present) Data Systems Workgroup

  • National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) (2010 - Present) Board Member

  • (2009 - Present) NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field

  • National Research Council, National Academies (2008) Review Committee, Developmental Outcomes & Assessments for Young Children

  • Office of the Provost (2008 - Present) Advised Office of the Provost regarding university child care

  • National Association for the Education of Young Children (2007 - 2009) Advisor

  • U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (2007) Early Childhood Technical Working Group

  • Connecticut Early Childhood Research and Policy Council (2007 - 2009) Appointed by Governor Rell to the Connecticut Early Childhood Research and Policy Council

  • (2006 - Present) Topics in Early Childhood Special Education

  • (2006 - Present) Early Childhood Research Quarterly

  • (2005 - Present) Infants and Young Children

  • Connecticut Association for Human Services (2003 - Present) Board of Directors

  • Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute (2000) Yale National Initiative to Strengthen Teaching in Public Schools


  • Early Education Policy China (2011 - 2011)

    Consultation with Ministry of Education regarding national early education policy

  • Early child development and education policy Israel (2009 - 2010)

    Invited presentation

  • Early Childhood Education Policy Singapore (2009 - 2009)

    Invited presentation at the National Child Education Conference and Exposition

  • Early Child Development Policy Consultation Bulgaria (2008 - 2009)

    Consultation regarding national policies to support young children's development

  • Early Education Japan (2008)

    Release of the book, A Vision for Universal Preschool Education, in Japanese

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Contact Info

Walter Gilliam, PhD
Mailing Address
Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy310 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511

The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

Research Image 1

Prekindergarten Expulsion Rates by State