Kessler-Freedheim Lecture Series

Photograph of Dr. Jane Kessler and Dr. Donald Freedheim, professors emerita of CWRU

Inaugurated in 2017, the annual Kessler-Freedheim lecture honors Dr. Jane Kessler, Professor Emerita of Psychology and former director of the Mental Development Center, and Dr. Donald Freedheim, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and former Director of the Schubert Center. We deeply mourn the loss of Dr. Freedheim (1932-2023), whose visionary leadership and dedication to child psychology will forever be remembered.

"The series helps us recognize the distinguished history of research and work with children on our campus," said Jill Korbin, the Lucy Adams Leffingwell Professor of Anthropology and Senior Advisor to the Schubert Center.

How Teen Brain Research Shaped and Continues to Impact Juvenile Justice Reform

Speaker:  Dr. Laurence Steinberg, Distinguished University Professor, and Laura H. Carnell, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Temple University.

Major findings in developmental neuroscience over the past couple of decades have shed new light on our understanding of adolescence.  In particular, the prefrontal cortex part of the teen brain, which controls executive function, and its connectivity with the limbic system, is still developing through late adolescence and into young adulthood. Dr. Laurence Steinberg, an expert in adolescent development, will discuss how these developmental characteristics of adolescence make teens different from and less culpable than adults in the criminal justice system.  Dr. Steinberg will explore how this research has led to transformative change in the U.S. legal system and juvenile justice policy over the past 20 years as well as implications for future youth justice reform efforts.

Date: March 21, 2024       


View our event brief:  The Impact of Adolescent Developmental & Brain Research on Juvenile Justice Reform


Please read more about this event, register, and save it to your calendar here. 

Integrating early care, education, and poverty reduction:  A three-pronged approach to supporting child development at scale [2022-2023 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture]
Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa photo

Speaker:  Dr. Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Courtney Sale Ross University Professor of Globalization and Education at NYU Steinhardt

Date:  April 25, 2023



Please read more about this event, register and save it to your calendar here. 

The changing landscape of youth suicide and suicidal behavior: An examination of racial differences and risk factors [2021-2022 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture]
Photograph of Arielle Sheftall, a Black woman with closely cropped hair and glasses, wearing a gray suit and smiling at the camera

Speaker: Dr. Arielle Sheftall, Assistant Professor, and Principal Investigator at the Suicide Prevention and Research Center at Nationwide Children's Hospital

Date: November 3, 2021

Resources:   Black Youth Suicide - A Growing Crisis


Anti-racist, Inclusive, and Resilient: Pitfalls, lessons and advances in research strategies concerning Black youth in the U.S. [2020-2021 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture]
Photograph of Dr. Dexter Voisin

Speaker: Dr. Dexter Voisin, Dean, Professor & Chair of Social Work, University of Toronto

Date: April 21, 2021

Resources: Getting Started: Embedding Child & Youth Research with an Anti-Racist Frame; Anti-Racist Research Principles - Resource List 

Photograph of David Mandell

Disparities in the Diagnosis and Care of Children with Autism [2018-2019 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture]

Speaker: Dr. David Mandell, Kenneth E. Appel Professor of Psychiatry, the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Date: February 26, 2019

Resource: Disparities in Diagnosing and Caring for Children with Autism

Photograph of panelists seated onstage during the Kessler Freedheim lecture

Finding a Path to Equity: Media’s Role in Advocating for Cleveland’s Youth [2018 Kessler-Freedheim Keynote Forum]

Co-hosted by The City Club of Cleveland


Date:  May 4, 2018

Photograph of Richard Settersten

Making the Slow Transition to Adulthood: Lessons in Experience, Identity and Inequality [2017 Kessler-Freedheim Lecture] 

Speaker:  Dr. Richard Settersten, Jr., Director of Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families at Oregon State University

Date: March 7, 2017