Laurel Joy Spindel, M.A., M.A.P.P. Associate Director
The Center for Human Potential and Public Policy (CHPPP) was founded in 1998 with an endowment from the Irving B. Harris Foundation and is located within the Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. It is a transdisciplinary research and training center whose purpose is to understand the human condition from before birth to old age and identify the public policies and technologies that support achievement and improve health and well-being across the lifespan. Directed by professor Ariel Kalil, a developmental psychologist who studies how economic conditions and parents’ socioeconomic status affect child development and parental behavior, the Center advances the distinction of Chicago Harris among public policy schools for its interdisciplinary perspective on child and family policy.
While research on children’s achievement is often focused on the school setting, CHPPP broadens the scope of inquiry to include early childhood development in the context of the family and home environments. Doing so provides a multi-faceted picture of the context for growth and development. Here, the influence of policy is less defined and the outcomes of intervention less certain, making it fertile ground for research and the discovery of new approaches to answering fundamental questions about human potential.
The Center’s activities are concentrated in three areas:
-Research that contributes new insights and knowledge.
-Training master’s, PhD, and postdoctoral students to help launch the next generation of child-and-family policymakers and scholars.
-Creating forums for debate and innovation across research fields and communicating important findings and perspectives to a wider audience of policymakers and the public.
Three cross-cutting program areas serve to cultivate student and faculty research across a broad spectrum of interests at Chicago Harris and the University.