APA grants Department of Psychology prestigious award

Psychology faculty honored with departmental award plaque from the American Psychological Association.

September 29, 2011

By Brigitte Graf ’13

The American Psychological Association (APA) has awarded the Department of Psychology the Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences. This honor, which includes $5,000 to be used for departmental activities, recognizes departments that have a firm commitment to the development of the service aspect of the field of psychology.

“The award recognizes a department’s service to the discipline of psychology,” Dr. Derek Montgomery, chairperson for the Department of Psychology, said. “In some ways it means giving back to the community. In addition to that, it’s about drawing students into that culture so that they learn how to give psychology away.”

The department has taken the initiative to incorporate a number of different activities and programs to develop a culture of service among students and faculty. One of these programs involves the participation of upper-classmen in the freshman-level course EHS 120.

Along with having developed a particular section of this course for freshmen in the Department of Psychology, upper-classmen are brought into the class to participate in peer-mentoring.

“We join these peer mentors with the incoming freshmen so that the upper-classmen can help the freshmen learn about discipline from the student perspective,” Montgomery said. “It’s also a win-win kind of situation; it helps the peer mentors to focus on certain things as well, such as career goals and what is important about psychology.”

The department also encourages students to get involved in the Peoria community by performing philanthropic types of services. Many activities are organized with the department’s honor society (Psi Chi).

In looking toward the future, the Department of Psychology plans to stand firm in its commitment to the development of its students and faculty.

“I think this award, in part, motivates us to keep doing what we are doing,” Montgomery said. “We are going to continue to stay on this path.  It’s very important to let our students know what is important to us and to get them involved in this culture, a culture of service, as soon as possible.”