Edward Zigler, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Emeritus Faculty; Director, Emeritus, The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development & Social Policy

Departments & Organizations

Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy: School of the 21st Century


Edward Zigler received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1958. He joined the psychology department at Yale in 1959 and also served on the faculty of Yale’s Child Study Center. He founded and is Director Emeritus of Yale’s Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, one of the first centers in the nation to combine training in developmental science and social policy construction. He is currently Sterling Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, but remains active in his scholarly and social policy endeavors. In addition to being one of the founders of the field of applied developmental psychology, Dr. Zigler pioneered the discipline of developmental psychopathology as well as the developmental approach to mental retardation and adult psychopathology. He conceptualized the School of the 21st Century, which has been adopted by more than 1,300 schools in 20 states. Working with state governments and private foundations, he has played a central role in generating the momentum toward establishing universal preschool education. He is past president of two divisions of the American Psychological Association and the American Orthopsychiatric Association.

Dr. Zigler helped to plan several national projects and policies, including Head Start, Early Head Start, and the Family and Medical Leave Act. In the early ‘70’s, he served as the founding Director of the U.S. Office of Child Development (now ACF) and Chief of the U.S. Children’s Bureau.

Dr. Zigler is the author, coauthor, or editor of over 800 scholarly publications and 40 books. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received several honorary degrees. He has served as a consultant to every administration since that of Lyndon Johnson.

Education & Training

PhD University of Texas , Austin (1958)
BA University of Missouri, Kansas City (1954)

Honors & Recognition

  • The Joseph E. Zins Lifetime Achievement Award for Contributions by a Researcher in Social and Emotinoal LearningCollaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning (CASEL) (2011)

  • Distinguished Service Award for Service to EducationNational Association of Secondary School Principals (2011)

  • Children’s Champion AwardCalifornia Head Start Association (2011)

  • Grawemeyer Award in PsychologyThe University of Louisville (2009)

  • Lifetime Achievement AwardAction for Bridgeport Community Development (2009)

  • California Head Start Association naming honor, “Edward Zigler Western Research InstituteCalifornia Head Start Association (2009)

  • Outstanding Lifetime Contributions to Psychology AwardAmerican Psychological Association (2008)

  • Blanche F. Ittleson Memorial Lecture AwardAmerican Orthopsychiatric Association (2006)

  • Exceptional Contributions to Early Childhood Development AwardCentre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development, Montreal, Canada (2005)

Professional Service

  • Smith Richardson Foundation, Board of Governors Member

  • Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families Member

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth and Families Consultant

Edit this profile

Contact Info

Edward Zigler, PhD
Mailing Address
310 Prospect Street
Rm 215

New Haven, CT 06511

Curriculum Vitae

Edward Zigler Center in Child Development & Social Policy