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Psychology in the News

Six Faculty Members Honored at Annual Faculty Awards Banquet

Six Faculty Members Honored at Annual Faculty Awards Banquet

Each year, faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences are recognized for their contributions to the college, the university, and the impact of their teaching and research at the annual faculty awards dinner. Six members of the Department of Psychology received awards at this year’s event, which took place Thursday, December 1, 2016.

The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes the extraordinary efforts of a staff or faculty member to support the college’s and university’s commitments to diversity. This year, Leticia Flores, associate professor and director of the Psychology Clinic, received the award for her efforts to help graduate students develop strong clinical, research, and advocacy skills in the area of LGBT issues. Training clinical psychology graduate students to work with LGBT individuals and families in a culturally sensitive manner has become a major goal for Professor Flores since the passage of the 2016 state legislation that enables counselors to refer out LGBT patients if they violate the counselor’s sincerely held principles. Flores also leads a specialty group supervision team for LGBT-focused therapy cases and has presented at local and national conferences on her work with LGBT clients.

Professors Helen Baghdoyan and Ralph Lydic received the Interdepartmental Collaborative Scholarship and Research award for their work with Shawn Campagna, associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. The psychology/chemistry collaboration uses state-of-the-art chemical techniques to identify known and unknown brain molecules that regulate naturally-occurring and drug-induced states of consciousness. The long-range goal is to establish causal relationships between specific molecules and behavioral states and physiological traits. Their collaborative research will quantify the effect of different drug classes on different brain regions and further our basic science knowledge of brain function.

The Excellence in Teaching awards recognize faculty members’ excellence in teaching at the junior and senior level. Jennifer Bolden, assistant professor in the psychology department, received a junior-level award at this year’s banquet for her innovative teaching that extends beyond the classroom and impacts students in their future endeavors. Her nominator remarked on her highly-engaging and conversational lecturing style that engages students in discussions and activities. By integrating useful clinical examples in her lectures, Bolden highlights the real-world relevance of the course material. Many of her students also present work from her research course at professional meetings and end up going on for advanced degrees. Katie Rowinski, lecturer and adjunct clinical supervisor in the department received the Excellence in Teaching Award as a lecturer. Rowinski is a very popular instructor in psychology. Her nominators remarked she “has distinguished herself as one of, if not the, most sought-after instructors by our undergraduates.” Enrollment in her course is 110 percent of capacity. According to student nominators: “She is by far the most captivating, relatable teacher I have ever had here at UT in any department.”

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes extraordinary service in advancing the mission and goals of the college. This year, Erin Hardin, professor in the psychology department, was awarded for her work to increase interest in post-secondary education in rural Appalachian communities. She is the co-PI on a team that received a $1-million-dollar Science and Education Partnership Award from NIH for PiPES, which stands for Possibilities in Post-Secondary Education and Science. Teams of graduate and undergraduate students from UT deliver a multi-week, in-school intervention curriculum in three nearby high schools in Union and Campbell Counties. In the first year of the grant, the teams delivered the intervention to over 600 students. By the end of the five-year grant period, Hardin and her team anticipate providing this critical service to over 3,000 high school students. In addition, Hardin implemented a science-in-action project and ambassador mentoring program. Thanks to PiPES-provided resources and support, students in these rural Appalachian schools are working on projects to help their community, including everything from water testing to addressing opiate addiction.

Congratulations to all our award winners!

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