Jon Korfmacher, Ph.D., named director of Erikson’s child development doctoral program

Jon Korfmacher, Ph.D., has worked at Erikson Institute for nearly 20 years, with experience teaching master’s and doctoral courses, conducting research here and abroad, and serving as chairman of doctoral dissertation committees. He now assumes a new role as director of Erikson’s Ph.D. in Child Development program.

“Erikson’s doctoral program offers students an opportunity to study with a focus on applied research in settings where children and families live,” Dr. Korfmacher says. “As director, I want to build on the hard work my predecessors have done to ensure that the experience students have in the program and the knowledge they acquire prepare them for their professional endeavors.”

Jon Korfmacher, Ph.D., works with Erikson master’s student Lis Guimaraes in his office. Korfmacher was recently named director of Erikson’s Ph.D. in Child Development program.

Jon Korfmacher, Ph.D., works with Erikson master’s student Lis Guimaraes in his office. Korfmacher was recently named director of Erikson’s Ph.D. in Child Development program.

Dr. Korfmacher’s teaching and research background is an important asset to a program in which students are required to complete two internships that focus on teaching, research, or both, says Jie-Qi Chen, Ph.D., the former director of the doctoral program who now serves as Erikson’s senior vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculty. Dr. Korfmacher also is a recognized leader in home visiting research, as he has worked to measure the effectiveness of programs that serve families with young children.

In his teaching, Dr. Korfmacher is committed to ensuring that students have high quality, real-world experiences that that prepare them for leadership roles in the field. For example, one of his doctoral students’ major assignments is to write a proposal for grant funding, a critical skill for graduates as they move into research fields and work to secure funding for their work.

“As director, Jon brings a deep understanding of Erikson and an extensive research background,” Dr. Chen says. “He also brings international experience, having conducted research and consulted on home visiting programs in South America and Europe, which brings a global perspective to the work Erikson does.”

Established three decades ago, Erikson’s Ph.D. in Child Development program places an emphasis on applied research, academic study that aims to find solutions to practical problems. Students examine the impact cultural and socio-economic factors have on children’s development, as well as how policy and societal institutions like schools and intervention programs affect children’s growth and well-being. The program is a partnership with Loyola University Chicago, giving students the benefit of having access to the specialization of Erikson’s faculty and staff and the resources of a large university.

At Erikson, doctoral students complete coursework focused on child development while assisting with research, teaching master’s courses, and organizing several child development seminars each year. Through Loyola, which awards the degree, students gain an understanding of research design and can take additional courses in policy and leadership. The university also offers dissertation assistance through a student support center and an intensive six-week boot camp devoted to dissertation writing.

In addition to working with faculty, students in Erikson’s doctoral program receive the benefit of working closely with staff members, who have ties with children, families, and other institutions in the Chicago area. In working with staff in addition to faculty, students benefit from hands-on learning experiences in the field, an important part of understanding child development and applied research.

“Our doctoral program is an integral part of the community, and the community is an integral part of our program. Through his leadership, Jon will help strengthen the relationship between the two,” Dr. Chen says.