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Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Samuel Meisels Richard D. Holland Presidential Chair in Early Childhood Development, Professor and Executive Director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Ed.D., Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, 1973
Ed.M., Harvard University, Graduate School of Education, 1969
A.B., University of Rochester, philosophy, 1967

Dr. Samuel J. Meisels is the Founding Executive Director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska. He is also professor of child, youth, and family studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and holds courtesy appointments as professor of public health (College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center), education (College of Education, University of Nebraska at Kearney), and public administration (College of Public Affairs, University of Nebraska Omaha).

A former preschool, Kindergarten, and first grade teacher, Dr. Meisels was senior advisor in early childhood development for the Developmental Evaluation Clinic of Boston Children’s Hospital. Prior to that appointment, Dr. Meisels was a professor in the Department of Child Study at Tufts University and director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School. For 21 years, he was a faculty member at the University of Michigan’s School of Education and a research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development, where he is now professor and research scientist emeritus. In 2002, Dr. Meisels became the president of Erikson Institute, the nation’s leading graduate school in child development.

During the 11-plus years that Dr. Meisels led Erikson, the Institute made major commitments to applied research for the Chicago Public Schools, expanded clinical programs for children and families, added community-based interventions for children from birth through age 8, initiated online and in person professional development programs for PreK through Grade 3 throughout the Midwest, and built a new campus in Chicago. When Dr. Meisels left to start the Buffett Institute in June 2013, he was named president emeritus at Erikson.

A leading authority on the assessment of young children, Dr. Meisels has published nearly 200 research articles, books, monographs, and assessments, and is co-author of the Work Sampling System, the Early Screening Inventory, and the Ounce Scale. He is also co-editor of The Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention. His research focuses on the development of alternative assessment strategies for young children, the impact of high-stakes testing on children and teachers, and developmental screening in early childhood.

Dr. Meisels graduated magna cum laude from the University of Rochester and received master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He holds an honorary doctor of humane letters from Roosevelt University in Chicago.

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Professional Highlights

Honors and Recognition
2013, President Emeritus, Erikson Institute2012, Sylvia Cotton Founder's Award, Illinois Action for Children2010, Doctor of Human Letters, honoris causa, Roosevelt University2005, Dale Richmond-Justin Coleman Award, Section on Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics2005, Outstanding Service to Young Children Award, Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children2002, Professor of Education Emeritus and Research Scientist Emeritus, University of Michigan2000, Parenting Shelf Award Winner, Winning Ways to Learn, Parents’ Choice Foundation2000, Ferguson Award for Leadership in Early Childhood Education, National-Louis University, Evanston, IL1999, Sunny Days Award, Sesame Street Parent’s Magazine, Children’s Television Workshop1985-86, Mary E. Switzer Distinguished Fellow in Handicapped Research, National Institute of Handicapped Research, U.S. Department of Education1982-83, Faculty Research Award, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies, University of Michigan
2013-present, Founding Executive Director, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, University of Nebraska2002-13, President, Erikson Institute, Chicago, IL1986-2001, Professor, School of Education, University of Michigan1986-2001, Research Scientist, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan1992-95, Associate Dean for Research, School of Education, University of Michigan1980-86, Associate Professor, School of Education, University of Michigan1983-86, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan1980-83, Program Director for Special Education, Institute for the Study of Mental Retardation and Related Disabilities [ISMRRD], University of Michigan1979-80, Senior Advisor in Early Childhood Development, Developmental Evaluation Clinic, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Boston1973-78, Director, Eliot-Pearson Children's School, Department of Child Study, Tufts University1972-80, Instructor to Associate Professor, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study, Tufts University (on leave 1979-80)1970-72, Lecturer in Education (part-time), Wheelock College, Boston1971-73, Lecturer in Teacher Education (part-time), Simmons College, Boston1970-72, Teacher, Runkle School, Brookline, MA Public Schools Kindergarten and Kindergarten-First Grade1969-70, Science Coordinator and Teacher, Cambridge Montessori School, Cambridge, MA. Preschool-Grade 31968-70, Teaching Fellow in Education, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University
American Educational Research AssociationNational Association for the Education of Young ChildrenNational Society for the Study of EducationSociety for Research in Child Development