The School of Psychological Sciences is the vibrant academic home to more than 600 students-undergraduate psychology majors and minors and M.A. and Ph.D. students in educational psychology. Many hundreds more take our courses to augment their training in other disciplines and to satisfy their curiosity about the science and practice of psychology. We typically offer more than 180 classes a year to over 5500 students.
The School is staffed by 19 full-time faculty members, two administrative assistants, and the School Director. With doctorates from institutions such as CU, CSU, Purdue, UCLA, Stanford, Harvard, Michigan State, Duke, and the Universities of Indiana and Minnesota, the faculty is comprised of exceptionally well trained teachers, advisors and scholars representing diverse perspectives in the psychological sciences.
High-quality instruction is our primary concern. We put tremendous effort into staying current with the latest research and designing and continually modifying educational opportunities that stimulate and challenge our students. Far from having a static curriculum, our instructors regularly develop new classes in their areas of expertise, such as Psychology of Autism, Death and Dying, Infant Cognition, Educational Assessment, Psychology of Obesity, Executive Functions and Development, Psychology of Addictions, Grant Writing, Cognitive Aging, Infant Perception and Brain and Education. Our students also have many opportunities to work individually with faculty in directed studies and practica. Frequently these are collaborations on research projects with the students receiving valuable mentoring and acquiring skills that will help them compete for jobs and acceptance to advanced-degree programs. Many of our students present their research at professional conferences and in recent years several have won awards for their work.
Our faculty is engaged in interesting basic and applied research leading to high-quality scholarly products such as books, chapters, conference presentations, grants, and articles in top journals. Among the current research projects of our faculty are studies of: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; the effects of age on neurocognitive processing speed; obesity stigma in children; the development of visual perception; care within Hispanic families for those with Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders; transformative learning in science education; harm-reduction strategies in injection drug users; jury decision making; fostering executive function skills in low-resource school children; face processing and the early detection of autism; and fostering conceptual change about child development in prospective teachers.
We also provide professional service at multiple levels. Our contributions tap our expertise as teachers and researchers, our passion for “giving away” the science of psychology to a broad audience, and our commitment to shared governance of UNC. Among our many service activities and accomplishments are: advising and supporting student groups such as the Educational Psychology Society and Psi Chi; participating on and providing leadership to important University Governance bodies such as the President’s Planning Council, the Faculty Research and Publications Board, the Institutional Review Board, and the Faculty Senate; consulting with local schools regarding curriculum issues and admission policies; working with high-school students through the Frontiers of Science Program; providing leadership for national and regional professional associations; and participating in the peer review process through extensive reviewing of manuscripts, grants, books, and conference submissions. In 2008 we received the University’s Award for School/Program Excellence in Service.
To learn more about our faculty, students, and programs, please visit the School of Psychological Sciences Web site.
Research in Action
Dr. Kristina Phillips, assistant professor in the School of Psychological Sciences, was recently awarded a two-year grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse for $377,000. The focus of this project is to establish a drug intervention to reduce high-risk practices among active drug injectors that lead to bacterial (e.g., skin abscesses, endocarditis) and viral (e.g., HIV, Hepatitis C) infections. Dr. Phillips is a clinical psychologist with interests in disease prevention and the application of public health and behavioral medicine to the treatment of substance abuse.