Robert W. Roeser is the Bennett Pierce Professor of Caring and Compassion in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Development, at Penn State University. His PhD is from the Combined Program in Education and Psychology at the University of Michigan (1996), and he also has master’s degrees in religion and psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical social work. Rob has been a William T. Grant Foundation Scholar (1999-2004), a United States Fulbright Scholar in India (2005, 2017), and the Senior Program Coordinator for the Mind and Life Institute (2007-2010).

His main research interests focus on child and adolescent development; school as a primary sociocultural context of holistic human development; and student motivation, learning and broader well-being and self/identity development. More recent work has focused on the role of contemplative practices that cultivate qualities like mindfulness and compassion in education in relation to educators’ and students’ social-emotional wellbeing, health, ethical development, and teaching and learning.

His laboratory is devoted to the creation of new forms of mindfulness and compassion training in education, as well as to the evaluation of such programs with regard to individual outcomes and the promotion of more equitable and compassionate communities of learning in schools (see

This profile was last updated on September 1, 2022

Mind & Life Connections


2018 Summer Research Institute Session

Interdisciplinary Panel From Becoming Human to Dehumanization

Moderators: Carol Worthman
Panel: Lasana Harris, Polly Young Eisendrath, Robert Roeser, Carol Worthman

2018 Mind & Life Dialogue XXXIII Session

Ethics and Compassion in Education Research

Daniel Goleman, Robert Roeser, Matthieu Ricard, Sona Dimidjian

Topics: Compassion & Empathy | Contemplative Wisdom | Education | Interconnection | Mindfulness | Self & Other


Mind & Life Videos

ISCS 2016 – Master Lecture – Robert Roeser

Mind and Life Institute • November 12, 2016

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Education | Mindfulness | Social Change

2016 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies Session

Master Lectures: School Systems, Educational Reform and Mindfulness Training

Robert Roeser

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Education | Mindfulness | Social Change


2014 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies Session

Concurrent Session 3 – Innovations in Mindfulness for Educators: Complementary Approaches and Outcomes

Mark Greenberg, Alexis Harris, Patricia (Tish) Jennings, Robert Roeser, Kimberly Schonert-Reichl

Topics: Compassion & Empathy | Education | Mindfulness