Institute for Positive Psychology & Education

Professor Herb Marsh presented keynote address at the 2018 APS (Australian Pyschological Society) Congress

Our very own Professor Herb Marsh (BA Hons, Indiana Univ, MA, PhD, UCLA; Dsc UWestSyd; HonDoc, Ludwig Maximilians Univ Munich) has presented his keynote address at the 2018 Australian Psychological Society (APS) Congress in Sydney on Saturday 29th September 2018 as the winner of the 2017 Distinguished Contribution to Psychology Society Science Award.  The Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award acknowledges distinguished theoretical or empirical contributions to psychology by psychologists.  In electing candidates for the award, the Selection Committee considered; the level of quality, innovation and significance of the Candidate’s research, the level of visibility of the Candidate’s research both within Australia and internationally, the Candidate’s level of demonstrated leadership and exceptional service in the field of psychology and scientific research, the impact of publications by the Candidate, as well as the other grants and prizes received by the Candidate.

Professor Marsh has also been recognised as the most productive educational psychologist in the world.  From 2006–2011 he was Professor of Education at Oxford University where he holds an Emeritus Professorship.  He coined the phrase ‘substantive-methodological research synergy’, which underpins his substantive and methodological research interests.  Professor Marsh founded the SELF Research Centre where he served as Director of for 20 years.  The centre has over 500 members and satellite centre at leading Universities around the world.  He was elected as President-Elect of the International Positive Psychology Association in 2015 and, in addition to the Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Science Award by the APS, was awarded a Career Achievement award by the American Educational Research Association in 2017.

Professor Marsh’s keynote address was on “Academic self-concept: Cornerstone of a revolution in the positive psychology of education”.  Professor Marsh’s self-concept research programme represents a substantive-quantitative synergy, applying and developing new quantitative approaches to better address substantive issues with important policy implications.  Self-concept is a multidimensional hierarchical construct with highly differentiated components such as academic, social, physical and emotional self-concepts that cannot be understood from a unidimensional approach that considers only self-esteem.  Particularly in educational psychology, self-concept is both a highly desirable goal and a means of facilitating subsequent academic accomplishments. Furthermore, self-concept is also an important mediating factor that facilitates the attainment of other desirable outcomes.  However, the benefits of feeling positively about oneself in relation to choice, planning, persistence and subsequent accomplishments, transcend traditional disciplinary and cultural barriers.  Perhaps more than any other areas within educational psychology, there is extensive international cross-cultural tests and support for the generalisability of the major theoretical models in the discipline.  Professor Marsh’s purpose provides an overview of his self-concept research in which he addresses diverse theoretical and methodological issues with practical implications for research, policy and practice.

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