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Walter Gilliam, PhD

Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor in the Child Study Center and Professor of Psychology; Director, The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy



Walter S. Gilliam is the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson 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 President of the Board for Child Care Aware of America; a member of the board of directors for ZERO TO THREE, 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

  • Research Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Yale University School of Medicine (1999)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Psychology
    Yale University School of Medicine (1997)
  • PhD
    University of Kentucky (1996)
  • Internship in Clinical Psychology
    Yale University School of Medicine (1996)
  • MSEd
    University of Kentucky (1993)


  • Early childhood development: An investment and an opportunity for Abu Dhabi
    Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2013-2016)
    Building a comprehensive early childhood development infrastructure for Abu Dhabi and the UAE
  • Early Education Policy
    China 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
    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

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
First for Kids Award, Priscilla Canny Research AwardConnecticut Voices for Children2008
Grawemeyer Award in EducationGrawemeyer Committee, University of Louisville2008

Professional Service

Journal of School Psychology2011 - Present
Connecticut Early Childhood Education Cabinet, Connecticut Governor’s State Advisory Council (SAC)Data Systems Workgroup2011 - Present
National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA)Board Member2010 - Present
NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Childhood Field2009 - Present
National Research Council, National AcademiesReview Committee, Developmental Outcomes & Assessments for Young Children2008
Office of the ProvostAdvised Office of the Provost regarding university child care2008 - Present
National Association for the Education of Young ChildrenAdvisor2007 - 2009
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education SciencesEarly Childhood Technical Working Group2007
Connecticut Early Childhood Research and Policy CouncilAppointed by Governor Rell to the Connecticut Early Childhood Research and Policy Council2007 - 2009
Topics in Early Childhood Special Education2006 - Present
Early Childhood Research Quarterly2006 - Present
Infants and Young Children2005 - Present
Connecticut Association for Human ServicesBoard of Directors2003 - Present
Yale-New Haven Teachers InstituteYale National Initiative to Strengthen Teaching in Public Schools2000

Departments & Organizations