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About Us

Our Mission

The Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning is a leading university-level research center that produces rigorous, innovative, and actionable knowledge in order to ensure that all children get a strong start and continuous support for excelling in school and life.

Our Vision

The Picard Center aims to:

  • be a key partner to local, regional, state, and national government and non-profit agencies in developing knowledge-based policy and practice that is fair and sustainable.
  • grow its research portfolio funded by regional and state partners and diversify its funding through national foundations and federal agencies.
  • ensure its work directly and rapidly informs regional, state, and national practice and policy and is published in leading scholarly journals.
  • collaborate with increasing numbers of faculty, post-doctoral fellows, staff, and students from across the UL Lafayette campus whose research aligns with the Picard Center mission.
  • consistently conduct its work with integrity, excellence, and transparency.
  • welcome collaborators from all disciplines, methodologies, and epistemologies.
  • have an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion among its staff/research, at the university, and in its external partnerships.

Our Research

The Picard Center’s current research portfolio emphasizes two broad substantive areas:

(a) early childhood education from birth to school entry, with holistic consideration of children’s cognitive, behavioral, mental, social, and physical health and the systems that support them, and,

(b) healthy lifespan development, from infancy through young adulthood, synergistically considering transdisciplinary perspectives in areas such as mental and behavioral health, social-emotional development, positive youth development, school counseling, and clinical and community psychology.

The Picard Center also serves as a research incubator for faculty and students across the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in these two substantive focal areas and related social/behavioral, educational, and health sciences topics.

In its methodological approaches, the Center emphasizes efforts to ensure public dollars are invested in ways that are fair and sustainable, including through supporting researcher-practitioner-policymaker partnerships, using leading-edge open data science strategies, and ensuring modern testing theory and data visualization techniques are accessible to non-experts.

The Picard Center is always working diligently to stay at the forefront of research in order to better the lives of children and strengthen their families and communities across Acadiana, Louisiana, and the U.S. The Picard Center consistently generates over $3 million annually in external grant funds.