Beginning in August 2017, I took on the role of Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology, and this fall began as permanent Chair. It has been an ideal time to be the Chair of the Department with new hiring initiatives, increased funding for faculty salaries, expansion of our course offerings, development of a new undergraduate track (in Behavior Analysis) within the major, several new funding awards for research, and perhaps most importantly, generous new gifts from our alumni and supporters that foster graduate student research and professional development. And of course, last year was the year that the University of Florida was recognized as a Top 10 best public university by U.S. News and World Report.
Amidst the flurry of activity and new initiatives, here are a few highlights:
As part of the University-wide hiring initiative, we welcomed several new faculty members this semester.
- Dr. Della Mosley joined our Counseling area as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Her research considers several dimensions of identity (i.e.., intersectionality) including the role of Black Activism on health and well-being as well as studies of gender and sexuality.
- Dr. Nicole Gravina joined our Behavior Analysis area as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Her primary interest is in using behavior-based techniques to create positive change in organizations.
- Dr. Christy Alligood joined our Behavior Analysis area as an instructional faculty member. She brings expertise in human and animal behavior as well as development and coordination of internship programs.
- Dr. Ryan Mears, already a regular contributor to our Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience area, became a full-time instructional faculty member. He will continue to provide a key role in our advanced lab training and foundational courses for the BCN track for majors.
- Dr. Feihong Wang joined our instructional faculty. She is a Developmental Psychologist by training with expertise in different instructional modalities (online, classroom based).
- We are currently conducting five new tenure track searches and two lecturer searches for Fall 2019.
Our current faculty continue to make substantial and important contributions to our understanding of Psychological Science. They not only publish extensively and present on their work nationally and internationally, they use this science to inform the public in order to improve the well-being of children, families, and community members across our global UF community. It has been a spectacular year! High impact research findings have been picked up by national media outlets, our faculty accomplishments have been recognized by UF and national awards, our students have also been recognized by UF and national awards—if you have missed any of these, check out the department on Twitter and Facebook as well as our UF website (which has a new look).
As indicated, our alumni and supporters continue to play an integral role in our success.
- Over the past few years, generous gifts from the Rubow family, the Chui family, and Phyllis Levitt have sponsored new and continuing student awards recognizing outstanding achievements in research and practice for graduate and undergraduate students. Continued gifts to these funds are increasing the longevity of these awards along with our endowed award funds.
- Generous gifts from our faculty and Psychology community have also allowed us to sponsor and co-sponsor department and university-wide events—the Gierach Roundtable in the Wrongful Conviction Speaker series, the Goldman speaker series in Developmental Science, our graduate student organization, Diversity Awareness and Affirmation luncheon discussion, our annual Spring Awards Banquet honoring our graduate students, and many, many more.
- In summer 2018, we launched the UF Sources of Strength program which is supported by a new gift from Dr. Kathy Fields. Under the direction of Dr. Dorothy Espelage, Psychology is leading an initiative to improve well-being for undergraduate students at UF.
- In addition, Dr. Trish Ring continued her generous support of our graduate training program with a major gift to support graduate student research and professional development.
- Moreover, Dr. Ring has made a $1 million gift to establish an endowed graduate fellowship. As I noted in the press release:
“The Trish Calvert Ring Dissertation Fellowship is a life-changing opportunity for our most outstanding graduate students, affording recipients support to focus on research while completing their doctoral degrees. The impact of Dr. Ring’s gifts begins with doctoral student research and professional development but will be expressed throughout their subsequent careers in their future research, teaching, practice and outreach. Our program, as a whole, benefits immensely from having these prestigious awards, raising our profile in line with being a top psychology department.”
Thanks to all of you who have provided support to our department this past year and throughout! As I indicated, these awards, at all levels, are life-changing for our students and sustain the success of our department.
Our future development goals include maintaining the strong support of our students and increasing supports for our faculty via endowed professorships. If you are interested in being a part of these initiatives, please feel free to reach out to me at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org) or make a donation online.
It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve as the Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Florida. Go Greater!