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Bryan W. Sokol, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Experimental Program: Developmental
Department of Psychology

Courses Taught

General Psychology; Developmental Psychology; Advanced Special Topics; Ignite Seminar (“Mind at the Museum”)


Ph.D., University of British Columbia

Research Interests

Bryan's research and teaching interests focus on positive youth development and moral character, particularly as young people grow in their empathy, agency, meaning-making, and creativity. He holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada, where his studies concentrated on young people’s social cognition and understanding of selfhood, including cross-cultural differences in conceptions of self-continuity. His academic training, coupled with leadership roles at SLU in the Center for Social Action, have shaped the trajectory of his current scholarship investigating the psychological foundations of activists and social change leaders – people who are “difference makers” in their communities. Bryan is presently working on a book-length treatment of this topic, arguing that effective social change happens when individuals feel connected to others, are empowered to act, share a deep sense of purpose, and unleash their imaginations.

Areas of scholarship:

  • Positive Psychology (in applied contexts)
  • Moral Character and Leadership
  • Empathy and Agency
  • Culture and Identity
  • Experiential- and service-learning

Publications and Media Placements

Select Publications:

  • Sokol, B. W., Hammond, S. I., McEnerney, K., Apprill, M. A., & Berkowitz, M. W. (2023, in press). Integrating the contours of character: From moral self to moral exemplar. In T. Lovat, R. Toomey, & N. Clement (Eds.), International Research Handbook on Values Education and Student Wellbeing, Second Edition. New York: Springer.
  • Sokol, B. W., Apprill, M. A., John, L. D., & Peterson, A. (2021). Enriching the vision of Campus Kitchen: A recipe for justice. Experiential Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Special Issue: Justice Education), 4(2), 18-28.
  • Sokol, B. W., & Marle, P. D. (2019). Civic and faith life in college: A two-part investigation of university students’ political and spiritual engagement. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 56(5), 550-563.
  • Sokol, B. W., Chandler, M. J., Hammond, S., McEnerney, K., & Marle, P. (2018). The “spaces in-between”: Applying relational developmental systems theory to identity and moral character. In A.S. Dick & U. Müller (Eds.), Advancing Developmental Science: Philosophy, Theory, and Method (pp. 235-248). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Sokol, B. W., Donnelly, K. G., Vilbig, J. M., & Monsky, K. (2017). Cultural immersion as a context for promoting global citizenship and personal agency in young adults. In L. M. Padilla-Walker & L. J. Nelson (Eds.), Flourishing in Emerging Adulthood: Positive Development during the Third Decade of Life (pp. 285-298). Oxford University Press.