Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School
Master of Applied Positive Psychology, University of Pennsylvania ‘18
Juris Doctor, George Washington University Law School ‘95
Bachelor of Arts in History and East Asian Studies, University of Pennsylvania ‘92
“One of the great things about Penn is the focus on learning to improve the world in some way,” says John Hollway (MAPP ’18). “Applied learning is an important tenet of the Master of Applied Psychology (MAPP) program at Penn, and it's also something that we focus on at the Quattrone Center.” An organization established to research and redress criminal justice errors, the Quattrone Center applies procedural justice to investigate and improve accuracy and fairness in the system. “In fields such as industrial safety, the data is clear: if you create an environment where people evaluate their errors and learn from them, you reduce errors and improve safety over time,” explains John. “I asked myself how I could help criminal justice organizations have these difficult conversations.”
The question led John to the Positive Psychology Center (PPC) at Penn. “When I learned that the inventors of the field were a block away and that I could learn from global leaders in positive psychology data and techniques, it was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” says John, who completed the Master of Applied Positive Psychology while maintaining his leadership role as Executive Director of the Quattrone Center. “It’s definitely a challenge to balance the academic and the professional—but if the subject matter speaks to you, then it doesn’t feel as much like work,” he reflects. “The opportunity to learn from these people, the opportunities to put that learning into action and the relationships that you build with your classmates make it an extraordinary experience.”
John applied his capstone research to benefit the Quattrone Center and other criminal justice agencies: defining techniques to improve relationships and create environments where stakeholders feel comfortable sharing information and working together to solve problems. He is also working on projects to bring similar principles to a police force in the United Kingdom and a large global law firm and is collaborating with PPC to expand positive psychology training for Penn staff and students. “The tools of positive psychology have almost universal application in our lives,” says John. “This is scientifically driven and supported by data, and it's there to help you maximize your life in ways that are important to you.”
Visit the Penn Library's Scholarly Commons website to read John's final capstone project, Legal Optimism: Restoring Trust in the Criminal Justice System Through Procedural Justice, Positive Psychology and Just Culture Event Reviews.