Social psychologist George R. (Al) Goethals joined the Jepson School faculty in 2006 as holder of the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professorship in Leadership Studies. Previously 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 Department of Psychology, 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. He also introduced Goethals to the Jepson School, which he had helped shape during its formative years.
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. Goethals's recent research has focused on heroism and presidential leadership. His courses explore theories of leadership, presidential leadership, and Civil War leadership.
He has published numerous textbooks, scholarly books, chapters, and refereed articles in scholarly journals and has 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. He has also received support from the Mellon Foundation for his research on the economics of higher education.
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 and the International Leadership Association.
Goethals, G. R. & Bradburn, D. (Eds.) (2016). Politics, Ethics and Change: The Legacy of James MacGregor Burns. London: Edward Elgar.
Allison, S. T., Kocher, C. T. & Goethals, G. R. (Eds.) (2016). Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership: Discovering the Better Angels of Our Nature. 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.
Allison, S. T., & Goethals, G. R. (2016). Hero worship: The elevation of the human spirit. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 46, 187-210.
Goethals, G.R., & Allison, S.T. (2012). Making Heroes: The Construction of Courage, Competence, and Virtue. In J.M. Olson & M.P. Zanna (eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Volume 46. San Diego: Elsevier/Academic Press. Pp. 183-235.
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