Jennifer Crocker is a Professor and Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology at the Ohio State University. Dr. Crocker received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University in 1979. She began her career as an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University. In 1985 she moved to the State University of New York at Buffalo, becoming a full professor in 1989. In 1995, she moved to the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the psychology department as well as a research professor at the Research Center for Group Dynamics and the University of Michigan Depression Center. In 2006 she was named the Claude M. Steele Collegiate Professor of Psychology. She moved to the Ohio State University in 2010.
Dr. Crocker has won numerous awards for her scholarship, including an Independent Scientist Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2000, a Distinguished Lifetime Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity (ISSI) in 2008, and the Scientific Impact Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) in 2014. Dr. Crocker has given many years of service to the field of social psychology, serving on the executive committees for SESP, SPSSI, ISSI, SPSP, and APA, being a member of many grant review panels for the NIH, and as associate editor for the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, for Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and for the American Psychologist. Dr. Crocker has been president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the International Society for Self and Identity, and Divisions 8 and 9 of APA.
Dr. Crocker has made seminal contributions in two distinct research fields within social psychology: Social Stigma and work on Self and Identity. These areas are linked by Dr. Crocker’s focus on how people strive to gain and maintain self-esteem and the ensuing consequences of these strivings. Her work on social stigma opened social psychologists’ minds to the idea that members of stigmatized groups are not simply passive recipients of prejudice but are active agents, making sense of their social worlds and coping with discrimination. Her 1989 Psychological Review paper with Dr. Brenda Major, “Social stigma and self-esteem: The self-protective properties of stigma,” has been cited almost 4000 times and is considered a modern classic. Dr. Crocker’s work on self initially focused on contingencies of self-worth, showing that what people base their self-worth upon has consequences for affect and goals. She has more recently focused on the role of self-goals in dyadic relationships, finding that people who have compassionate goals -- are more oriented towards others’ needs -- rather than focusing on their own self-image goals have happier, more secure relationships.
- Jenny has been an amazing mentor to me. From my time in graduate school, to the tough years of assistant professorhood, to our current work together, Jenny has always been incredibly supportive. She is always quick to answer questions and give advice. She is funny and thoughtful. Her ideas are expansive and she is not afraid to cross intellectual domains and follow her own curiosity. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have Jenny as my role model.
- Jenny has had a tremendous influence on my career and my life. I remember the first time meeting Jenny while taking her Advanced Social Psychology class at Michigan over a decade ago. Something about the way she thought about and talked about social psychological research really resonated with me. Since then, I have had the great fortune of collaborating with Jenny on many ideas, projects, and papers on contingencies of self-worth and the pursuit of self-esteem that have challenged and inspired us. As a scholar, Jenny encourages those around her to “think big” and to ask the “so what?” question. As a mentor, she is generous with her time and talents; I remember her going out of her way to introduce me to colleagues at conferences, and giving me opportunities to work with her on research, grants, and papers. I have not even begun to touch upon Jenny’s long list of intellectual achievements and service to the field. I just want to take this opportunity to honor her for the wonderful mentor, collaborator, and friend that she is to me. I am deeply grateful for all that she has taught me over the years, and can’t wait to learn more from her as a scholar, leader, and role model for our field for years to come.
- Jenny Crocker has made major contributions to the field of social psychology in the domains of stigma, self-esteem, and interpersonal goals. The theoretical frameworks she has introduced have challenged assumptions about the nature of the social self and have pushed the field to come to a deeper and more complex understanding. In addition to her commitment to advancing social psychological science through research, Jenny is an exceptional teacher and mentor who has transformed countless lives. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Jenny was my honors thesis advisor, and it was this experience that prompted me to pursue a career in social psychology. Her mentorship style provided me with a perfect combination of support and freedom; it allowed me to experience the thrill of conducting independent research without feeling lost or overwhelmed. During that time, and during the two years when I continued to work with Jenny after graduating, I was struck by her commitment to the personal and professional growth of her students and staff. She helped us recognize and overcome psychological obstacles to our ability to do our best work, such as fear of failure and negative evaluation. Jenny's compassionate approach was a refreshing antidote to the often cut-throat, high-pressure environment typical of graduate school, and it really worked: her students have gone on to be very successful and to make important contributions of their own. I knew at the time that Jenny's lab was special, but looking back now it has become increasingly apparent to me how much it shaped who I am as a researcher and how I approach mentorship myself. I feel beyond fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Jenny.
- I've appreciated Jenny's support as a mentor, colleague, and friend from when I first met her applying to graduate school when she was at Northwestern, to when I have been making transitions in my roles as a professor. I've told my students, for example, something she told me, when I was pre-tenure and concerned about whether my research would seem programmatic enough. She said, not to worry, that when I looked back and reflected on what I did, the path I was on would be more obvious. She was right. Her calm, reasonable, and positive support has provided reassurance and direction through out my career.
- Jenny changed my life. It sounds cliche but it is true. There are just those people you meet at the right time who put you on the right path, and Jenny was one of those important people for me. She is the kind of mentor that stays with you through the hard times and rejoices with you during the great times. She taught me how to think and write like a scientist and how to remember what was important. I still use so many of the tools she gave me ...when I give a research talk, when I contemplate work/life balance concerns, when I approach a new research question. I am honestly not sure where I would be today (or where the field would be today) without her. Thank you, Jenny
-Diana T. Sanchez
- One of the things I valued most about my relationship with Jenny is that she had faith in me. She believed in my potential as a researcher. Her prediction that I would find an area of research I felt passionate about further along in my career has come true. She saw -and valued- my potential as an educator. Her belief that I could accomplish great things held me up during the (many) crises of confidence I faced during graduate school. Her support was a critically important start to the fulfilling and successful career I now have. I hope I am as good of a mentor for my students as she was for me.