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Yale-China Faculty

  • Co-Director

    Professor Adjunct in the Child Study Center

    Walter Gilliam is the executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and the Richard D. Holland Presidential Chair in Early Childhood Development at the University of Nebraska. He is a tenured professor at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, and a professor adjunct at the Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, where he previously was the Elizabeth Mears & House Jameson Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology and director of Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy.

    He is vice president of ZERO TO THREE; a past president of Child Care Aware of America; board treasurer for the Irving Harris Foundation; a director for First Children’s Finance, All Our Kin, and the National Workforce Registry Alliance; a former senior advisor to the National Association for the Education of Young Children; and a senior fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Gilliam was co-recipient of the prestigious 2008 Grawemeyer Award in Education for the coauthored book, A Vision for Universal Preschool Education. His 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, as well as issues of COVID-19 transmission, vaccination, and health and safety promotion in early childhood settings. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children.

    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). Gilliam has actively provided consultation to state and federal decision-makers in the United States and other countries (such as the People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates) and frequently provides testimony and briefings before Congress on issues related to early care and education.

  • Co-Director

    Research Scientist; Co-Director, Yale-China Program on Child Development, Child Study Center

    Dr. Liu is Co-Director of the Yale-China Program on Child Development and a research scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. A leading scholar in cross-cultural research, she also served as full-time professor for 17 years in early childhood education at Hebei University, China. Dr. Liu’s research focuses on social-emotional learning (SEL), parenting/parent education, and early educators’ mental wellbeing in both Asian and Asian-American communities, as well as comparative education between China and the US. Her research aims to promote and advance mutual respect, trust, and collaboration across cultures, particularly between China and the US, through cross-cultural research, training, and curriculum development.

    Under her leadership, the Yale-China Program on Child Development has been actively and successfully serving as a bridge between China and the US through collaborative research and academic exchange in the fields of education, psychology, and family studies. Dr. Liu’s cross-cultural work encompasses mental health support research for Asian American early educators, evidence-based parent education training for Chinese parents, SEL curriculum and assessment development for Chinese preschool children, mentoring students and scholars, and more. Her academic contributions have been covered in national and international news outlets and podcasts.

    Dr. Liu is a warm, trustworthy, and supportive colleague and mentor. She has cultivated strong collegial relationships within and beyond Yale University, including with faculty members, students, staff, program partners, donors, policymakers, as well as key figures in early childhood education in the greater China region, the US, Israel, the UK, Germany, and Australia.