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Pamela A. Morris

Professor of Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology


Pamela Morris is a Professor of Applied Psychology at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and an Affiliated Professor at the NYU School of Global Public Health.  An interdisciplinary scholar, Morris conducts research at the intersection of developmental psychology, suicidology, education, and policy in collaboration with economists, policy analysts, implementation scientists, behavioral pediatricians, and prevention scientists. In her two-decades long career largely focused on low-income and marginalized populations, she has secured more than $75M in funding and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers, book chapters, and policy reports.

Noteworthy current work includes: a) $5M IES-funded partnership with NYCs Department of Education to support their historic expansion of Universal Pre-k and understand the impact of differing approaches to teacher’s professional development on children’s learning and development; and b) a $5.5M NIH-funded randomized trial (an R01 competing continuation) of a tiered primary/secondary parenting intervention within the pediatric primary care platform, with promising effects recently published in Pediatrics on parents’ interactions with their infants.

Morris’ newest research addresses adolescent suicide from a developmentally-informed, population-health perspective. With the prediction of suicide barely better than chance, we focus on the places where adolescents are (schools, primary care) and leverage trusted sources of support (peers, parents, other adults). Our focus is to strengthen bridges, integrating prevention and intervention, within and across health and education systems, drawing from the “Swiss cheese model” for industrial accidents (recognizing that each layer has gaps but their integrated, misaligned layering can support more kids at risk than when each layer exists on its own). A suicide loss survivor (having lost her 17-year-old daughter to suicide in 2019), she brings lived experience to her work on youth suicide prevention.

Complementing her research activity with institutional leadership, Morris oversaw 300 faculty in 11 Departments as Vice Dean and Interim Dean at NYU Steinhardt from 2015-2020, overseeing a rise in annual research expenditures from $27 to $39M under her leadership and the transition of 7,000 students to remote instruction during COVID-19.

A former William T. Grant scholar, Morris served as lead editor of the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness and a member of the National Academy of Science’s Board on Children, Youth, and Families. She received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University.

Selected Publications

See my google scholar profile.

  • Bassok, D. & Morris, P. (in press). University-Agency Partnerships to Strengthen Preschool: Improving Preschool at Scale. Future of Children. Princeton, NJ: The Trustees of Princeton University. [alphabetic listing of authors to reflect equal contribution].
  • Roby, E., Shaw, D., Morris, P., Canfield, C., Miller, E., Dreyer, B, Klass, P., Ettinger, A., Miller, E., Mendelsohn, A. (in press). Pediatric primary care and partnerships across sectors to promote early child development. Academic Pediatrics.
  • Roby, E., Miller, E., Shaw, D., Morris, P., Gill, A., Bogen, D., Rosas, J., Canfield, C., Hails, K., Wippick, H Honoroff, J., Cates, C., Weisledere, A., Chadwick, K., Raaka, C., Mendelsohn, A. (in press). Improving parent-child interactions in pediatric health care: A two-site randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics.
  • Morris, P.A., Connors M., Friedman-Krauss, A. (and others) (2018). New Findings on Impact Variation from the Head Start Impact Study: Informing the Scale-up of Early Childhood Programs. American Educational Research Association Open. doi:10.1177/ 2332858418769287
  • Morris, P.A. (2017, August 14). Strengthening School Readiness in New York City's Pre-K for All. Education Week Blog.
  • Morris, P.A. & Connors, M.C. (2017). From the lab to the contexts in which young children live and grow: Historical perspective on the field. In E. Dearing & E. Votruba-Drzal (Eds.), The handbook of early childhood development programs, practices, and policies: Theory-based and empirically-supported strategies for promoting young children’s growth in the United States. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Morris, P. A., Aber, J. L., Wolf, S., & Berg, J. (2017). Impacts of Family Rewards on adolescents' mental health and problem behavior: Understanding the full range of effects of a Conditional Cash Transfer program. Prevention Science, 18 (3), 326-336. doi:10.1007/s11121-017-0748-6
  • Morris, P.A. & Reardon, S.F. (2017).  Moving education sciences forward by leaps and bounds: The need for interdisciplinary approaches to improving children’s educational trajectories. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 10(1), 1-6.
  • Eckenrode, J., Campa, M. I., Morris, P. A., Henderson, C. R., Bolger, K. E., Kitzman, H., & Olds, D. L. (2016). The prevention of child maltreatment through the Nurse Family Partnership Program: Mediating effects in a long-term follow-up study. Child Maltreatment, 1-8. doi:10.1177/1077559516685185.  (Received Best Paper of the Year Award 2017 by the Child Maltreatment Journal.)
  • Ganzel, B.A. & Morris, P.A. (2016). Typical and atypical brain development across the lifespan: Contributions to diathesis-stress models of psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti (ed.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
  • Hill, H.D., Gennetian, L.A., Morris, P.A., Wolf, S., & Tubbs, C. (2013). On the consequences of income instability for child well-being. Child Development Perspectives, 7(2), 85-90.
  • Duncan, G., Morris, P.A., & Rodrigues, C. (2011). Does money really matter?  Estimating impacts of family income on children’s achievement with data from social policy experiments. Developmental Psychology, 47 (5), 1263-1279 [alphabetic listing of authors to reflect equal contribution].
  • Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P.A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In R. M. Lerner and W. Damon (Ed.), Theoretical models of human development. Vol. 1 of the Handbook of child psychology (5th ed.) (pp. 793-828). New York: Wiley.
  • Morris, P.A., Duncan, G., & Clark-Kauffman, E. (2005). Child well-being in an era of welfare-reform: The sensitivity of transitions in development to policy change. Developmental Psychology, 41 (6), 919-932.


Human Development Research and Policy

The Human Development Research and Policy program prepares students to pursue careers as research project directors, research coordinators, and more.

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Departmental Seminar: Theories of Change in Applied Psychology

Graduate seminar for students who are planning to teach or do research in psychology. Aims and objectives, content, methods of instruction, preparation and use of materials for evaluation, and a survey of research, literature, and methods.
Course #
APSY-GE 3009
Applied Psychology