A Russian American psychologist, Urie Brofenbrenner was born on April 29, 1917 to Dr. Alexander Brofenbrenner and Kamenetski Brofenbrenner. At the age of his 6, his family relocated to United States. For a short period of time, they settled Letchworth village in Pittsburgh where his father worked as a research director and clinical psychologist. Broferbrenner attended Cornell University after his graduation from Haverstraw High School and by 1938; he completed his double major in psychology and music. Then he completed his M.A at Harvard University and in 1942, completed his PhD from the University of Michigan. Just shortly after that, he was hired as a psychologist in the army doing many assignments for the Office of Strategic Services and the Army Air Corps. In the administration and research, he worked as an assistant chief psychologist before he accepted the offer from the University of Michigan to work as an assistant professor in Psychology. In 1948, he accepted an offer from Cornell University as a professor in Human development, family studies and psychology. He also served as a faculty member in the board of trustees in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Urie is admired all over the world to develop the innate relationship between research and policy on child development. He was of the view that child development is better applicable when institutional policies motivate studies in a natural environment and theory is best suited in a practical application when it is relevant.
He is most renowned for his Ecological System Theory and co-founder of the Head Start programme situated in United States that provides education to under privileged children. He has segregated four types of systems in the ecological theory i.e. microsystem that deals with family or classroom, mesosytem that consists of two types in interaction, the exosystem which are the external environments that have an impact on the development and the macrosystem that involves a socio-cultural context. In addition, he incorporates a fifth system which is the Chronosystem which are the external systems that evolve over time. Each of these systems has some defined norms, role, and rules that bring about the shape in development. These systems have a striking resemblance to the approach of social networks by James Comer who the pioneer to put forward the idea of social reform that came out as the Social Development Program which describes how children are taught and nurtured in environments that are nested.
Urie Bronfenbrenner received many awards for his work and dedication such as The James McKeen Catell Award from the American Psychological Society and award for lifetime contribution to Developmental Psychology in the service of science and society. His wife was Liese Urie Borfenbrenner with whom he had 6 children. At the age of 88, he died on September 25, 2005 in Ithaca, New York at him home due to diabetes.