Northwestern University: Dan P. McAdams named interim dean of Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy

Dan P. McAdams has been named interim dean of Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced today. The appointment is effective May 16.

“My heart belongs to SESP because 30 years ago, SESP took a big chance in hiring me,” McAdams said. “I am honored to serve as interim dean, and I hope to advance our school’s matchless legacy of excellence in research, teaching and service to the world.”

McAdams, the Henry Wade Rogers Professor of Psychology and a professor of human development and social policy, joined Northwestern’s faculty in 1989 and has served as chair of the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychology and coordinator for SESP’s doctoral program in human development and social policy.

McAdams’ research focuses on narrative psychology and the development of the life-story model of human identity, which argues adults derive meaning and purpose in their lives by constructing self-defining life stories.


Dan McAdams
“We are all storytellers of the self, narrating our lives as we live them,” McAdams said. “I look for patterns in the stories people tell about their lives, and I explore how those patterns may either enhance or undermine our psychological and social well-being.”

Additional information will be forthcoming about the search for a permanent dean to succeed Dean David Figlio, who is stepping down May 15 to become provost at the University of Rochester.

McAdams received his bachelor’s degree from Christ College, Valparaiso University’s Honors College, and his Ph.D. in psychology and social relations from Harvard University.

He is the author of more than 300 scientific articles and chapters and eight books including “The Strange Case of Donald J. Trump: A Psychological Reckoning” and “The Redemptive Self: Stories Americans Live By.” He also is the author of a leading college textbook in personality psychology, “The Person: An Introduction to the Science of Personality Psychology.”

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