Social psychologist George R. (Al) Goethals joined the Jepson School faculty in 2006. Before joining the Jepson faculty as holder of the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies, he held academic and administrative appointments at Williams College, and visiting appointments at the University of Virginia, Princeton University, and Amherst College, among others. At Williams College he served as the Chair of the Psychology Department for 8 years, Acting Dean of the faculty, Provost, and finally founder and Chair of the Program in Leadership Studies.
Starting in 1970, Goethals began a collaborative relationship with Dr. James MacGregor Burns, whose book Leadership became a seminal text in leadership studies. Burns provided encouragement for Goethals to initiate the program in leadership studies at Williams.
In addition to his collegiate appointments, he has served as an editor or on the editorial board of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, The Leadership Quarterly, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.
Dr. Goethal's research has focused on social comparison processes, psychological approaches to understanding the economics of higher education, presidential leadership, peer interaction and performance, and heroes. His most recent book, co-authored with University of Richmond professor Scott Allison and published on Oxford University Press, is Heroes: What They Do and Why We Need Them.
He has published numerous textbooks, chapters, and refereed articles in scholarly journals and received four research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health for his work on the studies of attribution theory and responses to social support and the role of similarity in social influence processes.
Dr. Goethals is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the Association for Psychological Science. He is also a member of the Society of Personality and Social Psychology.
Goethals, G. R., & McDowell, G. L. (Eds.). (2009). Lincoln's legacy of leadership. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goethals, G. R., & Wren, J. T. (Eds.). (2009). Leadership and Discovery. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Goethals, G. R., Sorenson, G. J., & Burns, J. M. (Eds.). (2004). Encyclopedia of leadership, vols. 1-4. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.