New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has named J. Lawrence Aber, an expert on children, poverty, and public policy, the inaugural Albert & Blanche Willner Family Professor in Applied Psychology and Public Policy and an NYU University Professor. Aber’s inaugural lecture is slated for Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the Greenberg Lounge located within the NYU School of Law.
“NYU prides itself on its top-tier research faculty, and Professor Aber is a shining exemplar,” said NYU President John Sexton. “The NYU community heartily congratulates him on his recent honors.”
The Willner Family Professorship was established with a gift from Dr. Albert Willner, who graduated from NYU’s Washington Square College in 1939. Willner was president emeritus of the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science and a retired orthopedic surgeon. He passed away in November 2011.
In addition, Aber has been named as a University Professor by NYU. The title of University Professor is a university-wide award conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary nature of their work. There are currently 40 University Professors at NYU.
“I am humbled by these extraordinary honors, the highest NYU can bestow on its own faculty, and I pledge to use these honors to improve my work at the intersection of developmental science and public policy,” said Aber. “Furthermore, I aim to support the next generation of NYU scholars devoted to the use of psychological and educational sciences to advance child development in this country and throughout the world.”
Aber, an internationally recognized scholar for his research on children and poverty, joined the Steinhardt faculty as Professor of Applied Psychology and Public Policy in 2004. His work, which centers on social, emotional, motivational, and behavioral development of high-risk children and youth, integrates basic and applied research with public policy.
Aber has examined the effects of family and neighborhood poverty, exposure to violence, abuse and neglect, and parental psychopathology on child and youth development. In addition, he has studied the effectiveness of programs and policies, including welfare-to-work programs, comprehensive service programs, and violence prevention programs.
Frequently invited to testify before Congress, Aber has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles and book chapters, edited several ground-breaking volumes on child development, and served as the principal investigator on more than 20 externally funded projects.
Prior to coming to NYU, Aber was a professor of population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where he also directed its National Center for Children in Poverty. Aber received a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Yale University.
“Professor Aber is a highly respected scholar and researcher in the areas of human development and public policy,” said Mary Brabeck, dean of NYU Steinhardt. “He is deserving of such distinguished honors and we are deeply proud to have him as part of the Steinhardt community.”
The Willner family has attended NYU for three generations. Willner’s son and daughter-in-law, Joseph, ’70, and Judith Willner, ’71, are graduates of the School of Medicine; his daughter, Jane Bloomgarden, received a Ph.D. in 1971 from NYU’s Graduate School of Arts and Science and is a member of the NYU Steinhart Dean’s Council. Jane’s husband, David, is an alumnus of the School of Medicine, and their son, Zachary, earned both his BS and MA from Steinhardt’s Department of Applied Psychology.