Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Fall 2016 Newsletter — Welcome from the Chair

Thu, December 15, 2016
Fall 2016 Newsletter — Welcome from the Chair
Department Chair Jacqueline Woolley

Welcome to the Eighth Edition
of the Psychology Department Newsletter


Fall 2016 has been an unusually active semester for the Psychology Department.

We’re in the midst of recruiting some stellar new faculty, are beginning a visionary review of our undergraduate curriculum, and have sent a large number of both graduate and undergraduate students to present their work at conferences, both national and international. Donations from many of you make a lot of these endeavors possible. Our students and faculty are world-renowned researchers and teachers and I want to begin by sharing some recent accolades with you.

Our Psychology undergraduates made us very proud this fall. Jessyca Turner and Alexa Hassein both received David Ivey Scholarships, and 8 students received Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarships for 2016-2017: Jasmine Bell, Neil Doughty, Jeannine Hightower, Elena Keltner, Abigal Newell, Henrikka Niemi, Delaney Rawson, and Amy Shoga. Our graduate students have received prestigious national awards this fall. Emily Wilhite received the American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Grant, and Kirsten Smayda was awarded a National Research Service Award from the NIH. Also, Nick Griffin and Stephanie Oleson both received Fikes Fellowships for Alzheimer’s/Dementia Research.

Not to be outdone by our students, our faculty have also received numerous awards. Cindy Meston was included in the BBC’s annual “100 Women” list of the most inspirational and influential women from around the world. Chris Beevers and Alison Preston were elected Fellows of the Association for Psychological Science. David Crews was awarded the D.O. Hebb Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the American Psychological Association, and Jacqueline Evans received the 2016 Department of Psychology Arnold Buss Teaching Award. Finally, and hot off the presses, David Yeager has been awarded the 2017 Society for Research in Child Development Early Career Research Contributions Award.

In this issue, you’ll read about David Yeager’s groundbreaking work on the forces that shape adolescent development. Dr. Yeager studies the effects on behavior of holding different “mindsets” about intelligence and personality. He finds that, by teaching children that intelligence and personality are malleable and can be improved, he can affect both physical and mental health, as well as school performance. His interventions have led, for example, to decreases in both bullying and the negative effects of bullying. This issue also features a story on the new Dell Medical School. Our department has been working closely with DMS to establish research collaborations, as well as joint hiring and teaching opportunities. Finally, we’ve included an update on our latest teaching innovation—the SMOC (synchronous massive online course). These classes are live-streaming and fully interactive versions of traditional courses like Introduction to Psychology and Abnormal Psychology. One of our original SMOC professors, Jamie Pennebaker, introduces us to Project 2021, a new university initiative aimed at rethinking our curriculum from the ground up.

In closing, let me reiterate that we always like to hear from our alums. Be sure to visit the Alumni pages of our website to find ways to stay in touch with the Department, and look for a new Alumni Survey on our website in the New Year that you can use to let us know what you’ve been up to and share your student experiences.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Jacqueline Woolley



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