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20062021

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Personal profile

University profile

Jennifer Brown Urban, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University where she also co-directs the Institute for Research on Youth Thriving and Evaluation (RYTE). Dr. Urban is trained as a developmental scientist with specific expertise in youth character development and program evaluation. One of her primary research strands focuses on the development, testing, and implementation of a systems science approach to program evaluation and planning to enhance internal evaluation capacity particularly for youth program practitioners and evaluators.

Dr. Urban is an Associate Editor of Child Development and served on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee on Defining and Measuring Character and Character Education. She is the Principal Investigator on several grant-funded projects including:“Boy Scouts of America National Character Initiative” funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Character Virtue Development Evaluation Capacity Building Initiative” funded by the John Templeton Foundation, and “Evaluating STEM Scouts: The Design of a Comprehensive Evaluation Plan and Feasibility Study” funded by the National Science Foundation. She has also published in venues such as the American Journal of EvaluationEvaluation and Program Planning, and the Journal of Mixed Methods Research. She co-wrote the book, Designing and Proposing Your Research Project with Dr. Brad van Eeden-Moorefield (2018) and co-edited the book, Building a Career Outside Academia: A Guide for Doctoral Students in the Behavioral and Social Sciences with Dr. Miriam Linver (2019). She has also guest edited three journal volumes: Research in Human Development (2018, 2011) and New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development (2011).

Research interests

Focuses on the development, testing, and implementation of a systems science approach to program evaluation and planning to enhance internal evaluation capacity particularly for youth program practitioners and evaluators.

Scholarly Interests

•Applied Developmental Science
•Character Development
•Positive Youth Development
•Social Emotional Development
•Developmental Systems Theories
•Out-of-school Activity Involvement and the Impact on Positive and Negative Indicators of Development
•Ecological Factors as Context for Development
•Effective Means of Integrating Research and Practice
•Evaluation and Program Planning Particularly for Character Development/Positive Youth Development Programs and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Programs
•Evaluation Capacity Building
•Relational Systems Evaluation

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

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