Kurt Fischer, Ph.D.

Charles Bigelow Professor of Human Development and Psychology and Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Kurt Fischer, Ph.D., is Charles Bigelow Professor of Human Development and Psychology and Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. As a student of human development from birth through adulthood, Kurt’s work focuses on the dynamic organization of behavior and the way it changes, especially cognitive development, social behavior, emotions, and brain bases. In his approach, dynamic skill theory, he aims to integrate organismic and environmental factors. His research analyzes change and variation in a range of domains, including early reading skills, problem solving and co-construction, concepts of self in relationships, emotions, child abuse, and brain development. Kurt’s new research directions include mathematical models of the dynamics of development. One product of his research is a single scale for measuring learning, teaching, and curriculum across domains, which is being used to assess and coordinate key aspects of pedagogy and assessment in schools.

Kurt is the author of “Dynamic Development of Action, Thought, and Emotion” in the Handbook of Child Psychology (Volume 1), Human Behavior and the Developing Brain, Mind, Brain, and Education in Reading Disorders, and a dozen other books, as well as more than 200 scientific articles.

Dr. Fischer has been visiting professor or visiting scholar at University of Geneva (Switzerland), University of Pennsylvania, University of Groningen (Netherlands), Nanjing Normal University (China), and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford). Leading an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education, he is founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and founding editor of the new journal Mind, Brain, and Education.

Dr. Fischer earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Yale University. He also holds a masters degree and a doctorate in Social Relations, both from Harvard University.

Kurt lives with his wife, Jane T. Haltiwanger and is the proud father of four children.