NEWS: Adler Named 2024-25 Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Humanities

May 30, 2024

Professor of Psychology Jonathan Adler has received a prestigious fellowship from Wellesley College’s Suzy Newhouse Center for the Humanities. He will serve as the Mary L. Cornille Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Humanities while on sabbatical from Olin during the 2024-2025 academic year.

At the Newhouse Center, Adler will work on a book project aimed at a popular audience. The book will work to revise contemporary notions of selfhood, embracing the insights from both the psychological science of identity and the humanistic study of identity from critical and disability-focused perspectives.

As part of his residency, Adler will run faculty research seminars during the academic year and deliver a public lecture to the Wellesley community. Adler’s interdisciplinary approach to the topics is thus a perfect fit for the Newhouse Center’s 20th anniversary theme: Radical Futures.

Jonathan M Adler, Professor of Psychology

I am deeply honored to receive this appointment from the Newhouse Center and excited to begin the residency

This fellowship is in the humanities, and I am a social scientist, making this a highly unlikely combination, as the humanities and social sciences do not always play well together. I think it speaks to Olin’s deep integration across arts, humanities, and social sciences disciplines, that we see AHS disciplines as in dialogue with each other. It also highlights Wellesley’s commitment to fostering interdisciplinary work.

Jonathan Adler

Professor of Psychology

Adler is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research focuses on identity development and its relationships with psychological well-being. In the past seven years, Adler has focused especially on identity and well-being among people with disabilities, drawing on both psychological science and the humanistic discipline of disability studies.

In addition to his role at Olin, Adler currently serves as Editor of Personality and Social Psychology Review, the top-ranked journal in those fields, devoted to major advancements in theory. He is the first editor from a small college to helm the journal. For the past decade, Adler has served as chief academic officer of the Health Story Collaborative, a Cambridge-based non-profit that works to elevate personal stories in the fragmented and fragmenting healthcare ecosystem.

Adler is also a theater director and playwright. A play he co-authored with Jim Petosa (Boston University), Reverse Transcription, premiered Off-Broadway in July 2022 at The Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2, produced by PTP/NYC. His background in theater carries over to the Olin campus, where Adler teaches courses that integrate psychology and theater, directs plays, and co-directs two Story Slams each year with Olin colleague Gillian Epstein.

What began as an opportunity to shape a handful of student stories as an extra-curricular experience has blossomed into a core element of Olin’s culture. The Student Story Slam has become a regular piece of Olin’s admissions process, performed at Candidates’ Weekends. Over time, the Student Story Slam has become a Community Story Slam that includes personal stories shared by faculty and staff.