Ruth Kanfer

Professor, School of Psychology, Courtesy Appointment


Ph.D. (Psychology), Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
M.A. (Psychology, Arizona State University. Tempe. AZ
B.A. (Psychology) Miami University, Oxford, OH


Work motivation, engagement, environmental and ecological psychology, built environment, job affect, and health


Ruth Kanfer, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Work Science Center in the School of Psychology, is a leading scholar in work motivation, lifelong learning, and work transitions across the adult lifespan.

She has published extensively and is co-editor of four volumes on motivation and emotions related to work and the age-diverse workforce, including her latest edited book entitled “Facing the Challenges of a Multi-Age Workforce.”  She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Management, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Sciences, and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology.  Her research, supported by national agencies, foundations, and private organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Society for Human Resource Management, the Spencer Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE USA), examines how person, social, and environmental attributes interact to affect motivation and behavior in the context of learning, teams, and job performance. Recent research focuses on the identification of interventions to promote higher quality and longer working lives.  She serves on several advisory boards and has received multiple national awards for her work.  As Director of the Work Science Center, she participates in and facilitates multidisciplinary research on the effects of technology and the built environment on work identity, engagement, future time perspective, and career outcomes.