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Kevin Tan

Associate Professor

headshot of Kevin Tan


Kevin Tan received his PhD from the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He received his Master’s in Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, and his Bachelors in Social Work (Honors) from the National University of Singapore. He has worked as a school social worker in Singapore. He also worked in a suburban school district in the St. Louis, Missouri area. While there, he developed a district-wide universal screening approach for identifying and monitoring groups of high school students for related interventions.


Professor Tan’s research focuses on understanding profiles of youth risk and protective factors, developmental patterns of problems behaviors, and their social contextual influences. Based in a person-oriented developmental psychopathology perspective, his work focuses on interventions that target pattern-specific developmental risk. He has published work in the area of youth risk and protective factors, family influences, and school social work practice. The goal of Professor Tan’s work is to promote the implementation of prevention research in school settings. Professor Tan teaches courses in Social Work Practice with Children and Adolescents and Program Evaluation.

Professor Tan and his research team are examining developmental patterns of social-emotional learning (SEL) needs among high school students. Professor Tan has received campus funding and his work is currently funded by the Spencer Foundation. Based on schools in Central Illinois and New Jersey, Professor Tan tracks patterns of students’ SEL needs and monitors the influence of school, family, and peer factors on students’ academics and behaviors. Findings from Professor Tan’s projects are used to develop systematic and scientific approaches to designing appropriate school-based interventions that serve students according to their individual needs. Professor Tan works with administrative and teacher teams to understand SEL data, and he promotes strategies to support the social, emotional and behavioral health of students, families, and their communities.

Latest news

  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Research,
  • Community Impact

Kevin Tan and IHSI’s Brandi Barnes Team up to Combat Community Violence in Danville 

September 11, 2023

IHSI website

photo of Hope Center students in Illinois Social Work classroom
  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Community Impact

Excellence in Public Engagement Award Recipients 

June 01, 2023

Illinois News Bureau

headshot of Sara Benson, Tracy Dace and Kevin Tan
  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Research,
  • Community Impact

R3 Program Grant Funds Research Project Aimed at Improving SEL in Danville Schools

February 15, 2021

blue graphic promoting R3 state grant
  • Faculty & Staff

Tan Wins National Award for School Social Work

January 13, 2021

Kevin Tan - professor of social work
  • Faculty & Staff,
  • Research,
  • Community Impact

Projects Explore Role of Social-Emotional Learning in Healing Racial Wounds

January 06, 2021

Shown with Professor Kevin Tan are, from left: director of instruction Nicole Rummel and superintendent Lindsey Hall, both of Mahomet-Seymour CUSD No. 3.
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