Angela Duckworth Headshot
August 03, 2017

Angela Duckworth to Present: What is Character?

Expert on Character Development, ‘Grit’ to Visit PA Sept. 13
by Jenny Corke

Register now to join us for a community address and discussion on “What is Character?” with Angela Duckworth, PhD, bestselling author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, University of Pennsylvania professor, and Character Lab Founder and CEO. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, September 13, at 6:30 p.m., in the Chapel, 2 Chapel Ave, Phillips Academy Andover, with a Q&A and book signing to follow. Copies of Grit will be available on site for purchase.

Hosted by the Head of School’s Office and the Tang Institute with the generous support of the Marla Glanzer & Lawrence H. Curtis Family Fund. The event is free and open to all community members.

What is Character?

Aristotle defined character as the intentions and actions that benefit the individual and society at large. Character is not one thing—it’s many. In her talk, Duckworth will explain the importance of three different kinds of character strengths:

  • Interpersonal strengths, such as gratitude, enable harmonious relationships with other people.

  • Intrapersonal strengths, such as grit and self-control, enable achievement.

  • Intellectual strengths, such as curiosity, enable a fecund and free life of the mind.

To develop any of these character strengths requires motivation and skill. Using grit as a case study, Duckworth will show how young people can learn both. Learn more on the Character Lab site and view the organization’s annual letter.

About Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also the founder and CEO of Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.

Duckworth studies grit and self-control, two attributes that are distinct from IQ and yet powerfully predict success and well-being. Previously, Angela founded a summer school for low-income children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2012, celebrated its twentieth anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a math and science teacher. She completed her undergraduate degree in Advanced Studies Neurobiology at Harvard and earned an MSc in Neuroscience from Oxford University and a PhD in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Duckworth’s first book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, debuted May 3, 2016, as an immediate New York Times best seller.

Related Work on Campus

This event is part of a significant body of work being done at the Institute and across the Academy on topics related to developing meta-cognition skills in students–or how we can best support students in learning about and understanding their own learning. Of particular note is the work Noah Rachlin is doing to help students cultivate a “learning disposition” and see failure and challenge as natural parts of the learning process. Biology instructor Christine Marshall-Walker’s project, “Scientific Learning,” is focusing on identifying and nurturing specific attitudes and behaviors that promote academic maturation in students while strengthening their love of learning. These ideas also resonate with work emanating from the Sykes Wellness Center, the Empathy and Balance curriculum, the work of the Dean of Students and Dean of Studies offices, various other Tang projects, and additional efforts.

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