Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., Director

About the Lab

The Rutgers Social-Emotional Learning Lab is dedicated to conducting action-research in public, private, and religious school settings for the purpose of building children’s skills for facing the tests of life, and not a life of tests. The RU-SELL focuses on understanding the relationship of academic achievement, social-emotion competencies, and the development of character and a core set of life principles, and the development of school-based interventions to strengthen social-emotion skills , character, and one’s Laws of Life, and prevent bullying, violence and victimization, substance abuse, and related problem behaviors.

Projects of the RU-SELL focus on students and their school, family, and community environments. We employ a project-based, constructivist and inquiry-oriented social-learning approach to pedagogy and a development ecological-community psychology approach to understanding settings and designing, delivering, and evaluating interventions. In addition, we carry out applied research related to bullying/youth violence, victimization, character development and identity, spirituality, purpose, and forgiveness, social-emotional and social decision making skills, social support, classroom organization, management, and discipline, test anxiety and motivation, menschlekheit development in schools and families, Jewish education, emotional intelligence, and the design, implementation, and sustainability of preventive interventions.

Current Projects

Listed below are the current projects of the lab, along with key collaborators.

Developing Safe and Civil Schools Initiative

Principal Collaborators: CASEL Metro Leadership Team (Janet Patti, Linda Lantieri, Marcia Knoll, Norris Haynes, Ed Dunkelblau)

Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving Curriculum and Computer Lab in Highland Park, NJ

o Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving Program

o Bartle School, Highland Park, NJ

Principal Collaborators: Vicki Poedubicky, Linda Bruene-Butler and the UMDNJ Social Decision Making/Problem Solving Unit

Jewish Adolescent Identity Project

Principal Collaborator: Jeffery Kress, Jewish Theological Seminary

Laws of Life in the Schools: A Longitudinal Action-Research Project

Principal Collaborator: Gina Ogburn-Thompson, Claudine Lewis

Talking with TJ Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum for Urban Youth

Principal Collaborator: Eloise Tinley

Implementation and Sustainability of School-Based Interventions

Principal Collaborator: Patricia Galiotos

Click here to download a Word file of Elias & Kamarinos's 2003 APA poster on sustainability.

Kress, J. S., & Elias, M. J. (2006). School based social and emotional learning programs. In K. A. Renninger & I. E. Sigel (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol.4. Child psychology in practice (6th ed., pp. 592-618). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. Click here to download pdf version of article.

Emotionally Intelligent Parenting

Principal Collaborators: Steven Tobias, Brian Friedlander

Lab Personnel

Maurice J. Elias, Director

Graduate Students:

Sarah Parker, Jennifer Rosenblatt, Dena Klein, Yoni Schwab, Linda Cedeno, Megan Kash


Research Coordinator :

Alexandra Ho


Research Assistants :

Eric Wiltshire, Laura Reyes, Brenda Reyes, Melanie Carger, Andrew Meillier, Heather Bozza