Vicki Zakrzewski (zahk-shef-skee), Ph.D., is the education director of the Greater Good Science Center.
In her role as education director, Vicki writes a blog that provides science-based ideas for promoting the social and emotional well-being of students, teachers, and administrators, as well as methods for creating positive school cultures. She also gives talks and workshops, and leads the GGSC’s Summer Institute for Educators—an annual multi-day event in which educators from around the world learn how the science of compassion, empathy, gratitude, awe, and other social-emotional skills can enhance their own lives and the lives of their students.
In addition to her writing and workshops, Vicki consults with organizations on how to incorporate the science of well-being into their work. Recent collaborations include those with the Mind and Life Institute (of which she is a fellow) on their Ethics and Education in Students and Teachers project and the Jim Henson Company on a new television show for preschoolers.
A former teacher and school administrator, Vicki earned her Ph.D. in Education and Positive Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. In her doctoral research, Vicki spent two months in India at a school awarded the Peace Education Prize by UNESCO and the Hope of Humanity Award by the Dalai Lama, researching their methods for developing teachers’ ability to create caring relationships with students.
Stories by Vicki Zakrzewski
Articles: What’s Wrong with Grit?By Vicki Zakrzewski | March 20, 2014
Schools are exploring how to foster—and even grade—perseverance and passion. But before we take grit too far, we need to remember how little we know about it.
Articles: Three Ways to Foster a Forgiving SchoolBy Vicki Zakrzewski | February 5, 2014
Research suggests that forgiveness might be an unexpected but powerful way to enhance school culture
Articles: What Makes a Teacher Lose It?By Vicki Zakrzewski | January 30, 2014
Recent research suggests that teachers' attachment styles—how their childhoods shape adult relationships—may influence their work in the classroom.
Implementing the Common Core doesn’t mean educators have to abandon SEL—in fact, just the opposite might be true.
A new scan of teacher education programs reveals that very few teachers receive training in social-emotional learning.
Articles: How to Foster Generosity in StudentsBy Vicki Zakrzewski | December 18, 2013
Science-based suggestions for keeping your students’ holiday spirit going throughout the year.
According to the research on failure, students may need more than just grit to succeed.
Articles: Gratitude Activities for the ClassroomBy Vicki Zakrzewski | November 19, 2013
Looking for some ways to bring gratitude into the classroom this Thanksgiving season? Here are some ideas to get you started.
Articles: How to Support Stressed-Out TeachersBy Joyce Dorado, Vicki Zakrzewski | October 30, 2013
Teachers who work with traumatized students may suffer from chronic stress and vicarious trauma—without even realizing it. Here are some things school leaders can do to help them.
Exposure to chronic trauma is having tragic effects on some of our students. How can educators help?
Articles: Can Mindfulness Make Us Better Teachers?By Vicki Zakrzewski | October 2, 2013
A new study suggests that training teachers in mindfulness not only reduces burnout but also improves their performance in the classroom.
Articles: How to Create a Positive School ClimateBy Vicki Zakrzewski | August 21, 2013
Three practical, research-based suggestions for one of the most effective and important things school leaders can do.
By developing social-emotional skills, teachers can rediscover the joy of teaching.
Slide Presentation: Cultivating a Meaningful LifeBy Vicki Zakrzewski | August 3, 2013
Workshop on the science and practices of a meaningful life (including awe, hope, mindfulness, and gratitude) for homeschooling parents to apply with themselves and their children.
Slide Presentation: The Science of a Meaningful LifeBy Vicki Zakrzewski | August 3, 2013
Keynote address on social-emotional learning and the science of a meaningful life (including empathy & compassion, altruism, forgiveness, and play) for homeschooling parents.
Articles: July Education NewsletterBy Vicki Zakrzewski | July 30, 2013
Insights from the 2013 Summer Institute for Educators.
Articles: A New Vision of Teacher EducationBy Vicki Zakrzewski | July 18, 2013
Lessons learned from the GGSC's inaugural Summer Institute for Educators.
Videos and Podcasts: Vicki Zakrzewski on the Role of Social-Emotional Learning in EducationBy Vicki Zakrzewski | June 29, 2013
A presentation by Vicki Zakrzewski on the concept of social-emotional learning and its importance in education, given June 29, 2013, at the first annual Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.
Articles: June Education NewsletterBy Vicki Zakrzewski | June 11, 2013
From how to help students develop purpose to an interview with the creator of the World Peace Game, here's a round-up of our recent education content.
In a new installment of our Mindful Monday series, we talk with researcher Rimma Teper about how mindfulness helps improve executive function.
What does it take to foster compassion in men? To find out, Kozo Hattori interviewed scientific and spiritual experts.
Greater Good Events
Take a Greater Good Quiz!
How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!» TAKE A QUIZ
Dr. Christine Carter's blog on the science of raising happy kids.» READ MORE
Watch Greater Good Videos
Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.Watch
Greater Good Resources
- "Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior"
Finds that feeling gratitude produces kind and helpful behavior, even when that behavior is costly to the individual actor.
- "Compassion: An Evolutionary Analysis and Empirical Review"
Compassion evolved as a distinct affective experience whose function is to enable cooperation and protection of those who...
- "From Jerusalem to Jericho"
This article on bystander intervention in emergency situations suggests that we are likely to help a “shabbily dressed”...
- Center for Investigating Healthy Minds
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, runs a state-of-the-art neuroscience...
- Northeast Foundation for Children
Northeast Foundation for Children is a non-profit educational organization that offers educators the Responsive Classroom...
- Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship
Based at the University of Michigan Business School, this is a networking community for researchers and practitioners...
Book of the Week
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SponsorsSpecial thanks to
The Quality of Life Foundation for its support of the Greater Good Science Center
Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program