He is best known for his work on stereotype threat and its application to minority student academic performance. His earlier work dealt with research on the self (e.g., self-image, self-affirmation) as well as the role of self-regulation in addictive behaviors. In 2010, he released his book, Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us, summarizing years of research on stereotype threat and the underperformance of minority students in higher education.
He holds B.A. in Psychology from Hiram College, an M.A. in Social Psychology from Ohio State University, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Statistical Psychology from Ohio State University.
He is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Board, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society.
He currently serves on the board of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the board of Scripps College, and the SFJazz board. He is just retired by term limit from the Russell Sage Foundation Board of Directors, after being Chair for ten years. Professor Steele is a Fellow for both the American Institutes for Research and the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab.
He has served in several major academic leadership positions as the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at UC Berkeley, the I. James Quillen Dean for the School of Education at Stanford University, and as the 21st Provost of Columbia University. Past roles also include serving as the President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, as the President of the Western Psychological Association, and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Society.
Professor Steele holds Honorary Doctorates from Yale University, Northwestern University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, DePaul University and Claremont Graduate University.
In 2020 he received the Legacy Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP). The SPSP Legacy honors luminary figures whose seminal career contributions have shaped the field.
- Stereotype Threat and Identity Threat: The Science of a Diverse Community
Drawing on stereotype threat and social identity threat research, this talk will address the why, what and how of diverse learning communities: why they are important, a working hypothesis about what is critical to their success and what research reveals about how to achieve that success. The talk’s practical aim is to identify features of diverse learning communities—schools, universities and academic disciplines—that while good for all students, are especially helpful for minority students generally, and for women in STEM fields. The talk will also explore the psychological significance of community and its role in learning.