Walter S Gilliam, PhD

Associate Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychology; Associate Professor of Psychology; Director, The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

Research Interests

Child Behavior Disorders; Child Development; Developmental Disabilities; Child Rearing; Consultants; Education; Parents; Primary Prevention; Mental Disorders Diagnosed in Childhood; Resilience, Psychological

Research Organizations

Child Study Center: Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy | NIMH Research Training Program in Childhood-onset Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Research Summary

Dr. Gilliam's research involves early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, and the impact of early childhood education programs on children's school readiness. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. Dr. Gilliam has led national analyses of state-funded prekindergarten policies and mandates, how prekindergarten programs are being implemented across the range of policy contexts, and the effectiveness of these programs at improving school readiness and educational achievement, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental studies on methods to improve early education quality. Dr. Gilliam actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers. His work has been covered in major national and international news outlets for print, radio, and television.

Extensive Research Description

Dr. Gilliam's research involves early childhood education and intervention policy analysis (specifically how policies translate into effective services), ways to improve the quality of prekindergarten and child care services, and the impact of early childhood education programs on children's school readiness. His scholarly writing addresses early childhood care and education programs, school readiness, and developmental assessment of young children. Dr. Gilliam has led national analyses of state-funded prekindergarten policies and mandates, how prekindergarten programs are being implemented across the range of policy contexts, and the effectiveness of these programs at improving school readiness and educational achievement, as well as experimental and quasi-experimental studies on the effectiveness of various methods to improve early education quality. Dr. Gilliam directs The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. Its mission is to create and disseminate research that can be used to inform legislative and other policy efforts on behalf of children and families and to train future generations working at the intersect of research and policy development. Dr. Gilliam actively provides consultation to state and federal decision-makers, and his comments on early education are sought frequently by national and international news reporters. Additionally, Dr. Gilliam provides clinical supervision in the early childhood section of the Child Study Center (providing developmental evaluations of children birth to 5-years old) and in the Newborn Follow-up Clinic, for premature and low birth weight infants. Dr. Gilliam holds a joint appointment with the Psychology Department at Yale University.Dr. Gilliam is PI on the National Prekindergarten Study, the first study to examine the relationship between state-level early education legislation and policy and classroom-level implementation.

Dr. Gilliam is conducting a series of statewide random-controlled trials, examining the effectiveness of mental health consultation infused into child care and early education systems.

A series of studies examining preschool expulsion rates and practices are currently underway.

Selected Publications

  • Gilliam, W.S. & Frede, E. (in press). Accountability and program evaluation in early education. In R.C. Pianta, L. Justice, W.S. Barnett, & S. Sheridan (Eds.), Handbook of early education. New York: Guilford Publications.
  • Gilliam, W. S., & Sosinsky, L. S. (in press). Measuring the environments of early care, education and intervention programs for children in poverty. In L. C. Mayes & M. Lewis (Eds.), A developmental environment measurement handbook. New York: Cambridge Un
  • Zigler, E., Gilliam, W.S., & Barnett, W.S. (Eds.). (2011). The pre-k debates: Current controversies and issues. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
  • Frede, E., Gilliam, W. S., & Schweinhart, L. J. (2011). Assessing accountability and ensuring continuous program improvement: Why, how and who. In E. Zigler, W. S. Gilliam, & W. S. Barnett (Eds.), The pre-k debates: Current controversies and issues (pp. 1
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2011). Preschool programs should be coordinated in the public schools with supports from Head Start and child care. In E. Zigler, W. S. Gilliam, & W. S. Barnett (Eds.), The pre-k debates: Current controversies and issues (pp. 120-126). Bal
  • Sosinsky, L. S., & Gilliam, W. S. (2011). Child care: How pediatricians can support children and families. In R. M. Kliegman, B. F. Stanton, J. St. Geme, N. Schor, & R. E. Behrman (Eds.), Nelson textbook of pediatrics (19h ed.) (pp. 45 + online continuati
  • Sosinsky, L. S., & Gilliam, W. S. (2011). Assistant teachers in prekindergarten programs: What roles do lead teachers feel assistants play in classroom management and teaching? Early Education and Development, 22, 676-706.
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2010). Coordinating America’s highly diversified early childhood investment portfolio. In R. Haskins & W. S. Barnett (Eds.), Current issues in child care and early childhood education (pp. 89-96. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution &
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2010). Blueprint for a more efficient NAEYC program accreditation system. Young Children, 65(3), 64-66.
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2009). Preschool promises: An introduction, commentary, and charge. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 10(2) i-v.
  • Zigler, E. F., & Gilliam, W. S. (2009). Science and policy: Connecting what we know to what we do. Zero to Three, 30(2), 40-46.
  • Britto, P. R., & Gilliam, W. S. (2008). Crossing borders with Head Start - Commonalities and differences between Head Start and early childhood programs in developing countries. Infants and Young Children, 21, 82-91.
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2008). Head Start, public school prekindergarten, and a collaborative potential. Infants and Young Children, 21, 30-44.
  • Gilliam, W. S., & Mayes, L. C. (2007). Clinical assessment of infants and toddlers. In A. Martin & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Lewis’s child and adolescent psychiatry: A comprehensive textbook (4th ed.; pp. 309-322). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins
  • Gilliam, W. S., Zigler, E. F., & Finn-Stevenson, M. (2007). Child and family policy: A role for child psychiatry and allied disciplines. In A. Martin & F. R. Volkmar (Eds.), Lewis’s child and adolescent psychiatry: A comprehensive textbook (4th ed.; pp. 3
  • Gilliam, W. S., & Shahar, G. (2006). Prekindergarten expulsion and suspension: Rates and predictors in one state. Infants and Young Children, 19, 228-245.
  • Zigler, E., Gilliam, W. S., & Jones, S. M. (2006). A vision for universal preschool education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Gilliam, W. S. (2005). Prekindergarteners left behind: Expulsion rates in state prekindergarten systems. New Haven, CT: Yale University Child Study Center.
  • Gilliam, W. S., Meisels, S., & Mayes, L. (2005). Screening and surveillance in early intervention systems. In M. J. Guralnick (Ed.), A Developmental Systems Approach to Early Intervention: National and International Perspectives (pp. 73-98). Baltimore, MD
  • Gilliam, W. S., & Zigler, E. F. (2001). A critical meta-analysis of all impact evaluations of state-funded preschool from 1977 to 1998: Implications for policy, service delivery and program evaluation. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15, 441-473.

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Contact Info

Walter S Gilliam, PhD
Patient Care Location
Nieson Irving Harris Building
230 South Frontage Road, Ste G01

New Haven, CT 06519
Lab Location
310 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Office Location
Nieson Irving Harris Building
230 South Frontage Road, Ste G02

New Haven, CT 06519
Mailing Address
Yale Child Study CenterPO Box 207900
230 South Frontage Road

New Haven, CT 06520-7900

Curriculum Vitae

The Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy