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Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving for Middle School Students

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Dr Maurice J. Elias, Ph.D., is a professor and the director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, USA; academic director of Rutgers' Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnerships Program (; coordinator of Rutgers' Internship Program in Applied, School, and Community Psychology; past president of the international Society for Community Research and Action/Division of Community Psychology (27) of APA; director of Rutgers' Social-Emotional Learning Lab; coordinator of Improving School Climate for Academic and Life Success at Rutgers' Center for Applied Psychology; and founding member of the leadership team for the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning ( He has been elected as a fellow in five divisions of the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. Dr. Elias is a past winner of the Lela Rowland Prevention Award, the Ernest McMahon Class of 1930 Award for service to New Jersey, and the American Psychological Association/Society for Community Research and Action's Distinguished Contribution to Practice and Ethnic Minority Mentoring awards. He lectures nationally and internationally, has been featured on numerous television and radio programs, and is frequently sought out as an expert for articles in magazines and newspapers. He has written an award-winning weekly parenting column, most recently for the Sunday Newark Star-Ledger's Family Accent section. His books include Research Press's Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving Curricula for Elementary and Middle School Students, Emotionally Intelligent Parenting (Random House, 2000), Bullying, Peer Harassment, and Victimization in the Schools: The Next Generation of Prevention (Haworth, 2003), (Research Press, 2006), The Educator's Guide to Emotional Intelligence and Academic Achievement: Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom (Corwin, 2006), Bullying, Victimization, and Peer Harassment: A Handbook of Prevention and Intervention (Taylor & Francis, 2007), Urban Dreams: Stories of Hope, Character, and Resilience (Hamilton Books, 2008,), and School Climate: Building Safe, Supportive and Engaging Classrooms and Schools. (National Professional Resources, 2011). He writes a blog on social-emotional and character development for the George Lucas Educational Foundation at

Linda Bruene Butler, M.Ed., has worked on the development of school-based programs in social and emotional learning for three decades. Currently, she is director of the Social Decision Making/Social Problem Solving (SDM/SPS) Program at the Behavioral Research and Training Institute of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, USA University Behavioral HealthCare's Behavioral Research and Training Institute. She has also served as adjunct faculty for courses in the area of social- emotional learning at the Department of Psychology, Rutgers University; Teachers College, Columbia University; and the Department of Psychology, University of Illinois. Ms. Bruene Butler has published and lectured extensively in the area of social-emotional learning and has trained many others to become SDM/SPS consultants and trainers. Her current area of interest is exploring ways that computer-assisted technologies can enhance the individualized depth and differentiation of SEL instruction, educator training, and the ability to share and evaluate innovative methods for promoting social-emotional learning.

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