Susan L. Engel

Susan Engel

Senior Lecturer in Psychology; Senior Faculty Fellow, Rice Center for Teaching; The Class of 1959 Director of Program in Teaching

Wachenheim Science Center Rm 223


B.A. Sarah Lawrence College (1980)
Ph.D. City University of New York, Developmental Psychology (1985)

Areas of Expertise

The development of curiosity and invention, children’s ideas, the impact of college, school reform.



Children's Minds (not offered 2024/25)


Critical Issues in Learning and Teaching (not offered 2024/25)


The Psychology of College (not offered 2024/25)

Scholarship/Creative Work

Selected Publications
  • Engel, S.L. (2021). The Intellectual Lives of Children. Harvard University Press.
  • Engel, S.L. (2018). The Children You Teach: Using a Developmental Framework in the Classroom. Heinemann Pubs.
  • Engel, S.L. (2018). Why We Say “Why” When We Do. Essay for IEEE CIS Newsletter on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, P.Oudeyer (Ed).
  • Engel, S.L. (2017). The Problems of Play. Chapter in Cambridge Handbook of Play P.Smith and J.Roopnarine (Eds), Cambridge University Press.
  • Engel, S.L. (2017). Teaching Today’s Kids to Spot Tomorrow’s Fake News. Bloomberg View.
  • Engel, S.L. (2016). A School of Our Own: The Story of the First Student Run High School (coauthored with Samuel Levin). The New Press.
  • Engel, S.L. (2015). The Hungry Mind: The Origins of Curiosity in Childhood. Harvard University Press.

Current Committees

  • Standing Grievance Panel


Advising for all Williams students interested in studying education and/or pursuing a career in teaching. The program also offers a wide range of education related activities. Please feel free to contact me to find out more about these activities.

Co-founder and educational advisor to the Hayground School, Bridgehamptyon, NY. Responsible for supervision of teaching, curriculum development, assessment, and advising for parents, children and special events.