Office of Child Development Names New Director

Four adults standing and smiling

On July 1, 2018, the Office of Child Development named Shannon Wanless, PhD, its new Director. Wanless has been involved with the School of Education since 2011, when she started as an Associate Professor in the Department Psychology. She is also the Associate Director of Research at the Office of Child Development, where she has overseen more $1 million in grants and sponsored research since taking on the role in 2017.

“I am honored to serve as the next Director of Pitt’s Office of Child Development,” Wanless said. “Drs. Groark and McCall have developed a team that already does so much to improve the lives of children and families and OCD is well-poised to take that work to the next level. With the support of Dean Kinloch and in collaboration with our outstanding university and community partners, this is truly an exciting time for OCD.” 

Wanless’ work has consistently focused the intersection between scholarship and practice. She explains “the translation from research findings to implementation can raise new issues that require the expertise of practitioners and policy-makers to adapt and transform recommendations to be successful in real-world contexts serving a wide range of people. In return, it is necessary to gather this collective wisdom and bring it to researchers to inform future questions and study designs so they are increasingly relevant to practice.” 

University + Early Childhood
She has a hand in almost all Early Childhood happenings within the University of Pittsburgh. Wanless is an editorial board member in Early Childhood Education, School Psychology Review, and Early Education and Development. She also is a founding member of the University of Pittsburgh’s Early Childhood Collaborative (UPECC). 

Teaching + Mentoring
Wanless is also committed to teaching and mentoring students.  She is the director of the SEED Research Lab (Supporting Early Education and Development). She is a First Experience with Research Mentor at the University, and is an advisor to many doctoral and master students.  

In addition to being widely known in the academic community, Dr. Wanless also has a national presence. She has been an invited member of the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning (CASEL) since 2015.