By Kelly R. Young
Patrick Dwyer, Ph.D., went to college to study math before becoming hooked on studying human nature through the scientific method, going on to earn his doctorate in social psychology at the University of Minnesota.
In 2017, he joined the faculty at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy as an assistant professor of philanthropic studies after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Through his research–and with the students he teaches–Dwyer is seeking answers to the questions of why people help others, and when and why they look the other way. What are the benefits of gratitude, and is it ever a bad idea to say “thanks”? His research focuses on motivation, emotion, and social action.
Dwyer is a sought-after premier researcher in philanthropic studies. In his classroom, he educates his students on the deeper understanding of what makes donors tick and what drives their giving while motivating them to think deeper as well. He has profound knowledge on the art of philanthropy, combining motives of giving with practical strategies that result in helping donors engage in meaningful ways that sustain over time.
Dwyer inspires his students to appreciate the complexity of gratitude; how it is expressed and received. One theme in all his courses is motivation, and the idea that there are several kinds of motivations that can underlie someone’s philanthropic activity. He uses research findings and research-based strategies to encourage students to think of philanthropic concepts in new ways.
In and outside of the classroom, Dwyer continues to focus his research efforts on gratitude and the influence of expressions of gratitude on people’s behavior. This is a relatively new area of research. He is driven by the exploration of both the positive and negative aspects of gratitude expressions, along with the dynamics of other emotional expressions in people’s everyday interactions.
Dwyer believes there are a variety of expressions and emotions of gratitude, which is something he likes to analyze with his students. He has written about gratitude and the implications of saying “thank you,” and how it can be studied from three different perspectives: the individual perspective, relationship perspective, and group perspective. Dwyer helps his students–and others–put the “you” in “thank you” by understanding the multiple expressions of gratitude.
Kelly Young, president of Baise Communications, is an award-winning public relations counselor with 25+ years of experience in working with nonprofit and small businesses. She has worked in nearly every capacity of public relations throughout her career and has a proven track record of success in media relations, social media, brand management, communications planning, and community relations. She has built a strong reputation within the community and is sought after for her industry expertise and thought leadership. Kelly is a natural storyteller and an enthusiastic advocate for causes.