January 15, 2020
Brittany Zaring-Hinkle, a third year student in the Psychology Ph.D. program, was selected for the Frontiers in Addiction Research and Pregnancy (FrARP) training course at San Diego State University in San Diego, CA. This NIH sponsored advanced training course provides skills development, hands-on laboratory research taught and mentored by addiction research leaders, and ongoing mentoring resulting in comprehensive, sophisticated training in clinical and translational strategies for addressing the current challenges in addiction during pregnancy and for designing better therapies for the future. Additional information regarding the FrARP training course can be found at http://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R25-DA043880-01A1.
October 10, 2019
Office hours for the current semester can be found here.
October 10, 2019
Volunteers from Student Psychological Association did a wonderful job of representing the Psychology Department at the Fall into your Major event held on 10/9/19 in the HEB ballroom. This annual event offers UTSA students a chance to explore academic options across campus.
More information about Fall Into Your Major can be found here https://www.utsa.edu/today/2017/10/story/fallintoyourmajor.html.
The University also holds March Into Your Major each spring.
August 15, 2019
The 2019 American Psychological Association Conference was held in Chicago, IL on August 8-11. The APA convention is where the world’s largest gathering of psychologists, psychology students and other mental and behavioral health professionals meet to explore the most compelling issues in the discipline.
The Psychology Department is pleased to announce our student and post-doctoral winners in the Division of Addiction Psychology poster competition. Dr. Gallegos was also awarded an NIH travel grant for his poster.
1st Place: Asheley Roberts, Brittany Zaring-Hinkle (doctoral students), Martin Gallegos (Postdoctoral Fellow)
3rd Place: Jessica Perrotte (doctoral student)
Dr. Martin Gallegos & Dr. James H. Bray (Psychology Dept. Chair) Dr. Martin Gallegos, Jessica Perrotte, Dr. Jen Buckman (President of the Division), Asheley Roberts, Brittany Zaring-Hinkle
July 24, 2019
In memoriam: UTSA professor Robert W. Fuhrman passes away.
Watch tributes to Dr. Fuhrman
June 24, 2019
Amanda Jones-Rincon, a first year doctoral student in Dr. James Bray's Family Health research lab, was accepted to attend an Advanced Training Institute hosted by the American Psychological Association. The training, titled "Research Methods with Diverse Racial and Ethnic Groups," shares innovative methods and statistics used to include ethnic minority groups in psychological research. The resources provided by the training will be implemented in future research conducted by Amanda and the Family Health lab.
For more information on the training, visit https://www.apa.org/science/resources/ati/res-diversity
June 7, 2019
June 7, 2019
Martin Gallegos, a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. James Bray’s Family Psychology Health Lab, received a 2019 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) R13-funded travel award to present a research poster, “Latent growth curve analyses of adolescent substance use, peer alcohol use, and individuation” at the upcoming American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention in Chicago, IL, August 8-11, 2019. Dr. Gallegos and Dr. Bray are the poster's authors. The R13 award poster session is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), NIAAA, APA Division 28 (Psychopharmacology and Drug Abuse) and APA Division 50 (Addictions). Recipients of the $750 R13 travel award are also encouraged to attend a career development panel discussion hosted by the NIAAA-funded R13 award at the upcoming APA Convention.
For more information on this award, visit https://addictionpsychology.org/soap-box/2018/fall/early-career-travel-awards-2019-apa-convention
March 21, 2019
(March 19, 2019) -- Dr. James H. Bray, professor and chair of the UTSA Department of Psychology, is working on a research project with agencies in Houston to train first responders in how to detect prescription opioid overdoses and provide life-saving outreach services.
Bray is working with the Houston Health Department, Houston Fire Department (HFD), Houston Recovery Center (HRC) and Baylor College of Medicine to teach first responders how to recognize overdoses and misuses of prescription pain relievers, heroin and fentanyl and how to properly administer naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.
Full UTSA Today story can be found here.
March 19, 2019
UTSA has launched an online tool to make the transfer process easier for undergraduates across the nation. The new UTSA Transfer Credit Calculator allows prospective students to quickly verify how many of their college credits will transfer to UTSA.
UTSA’s online calculator is the only resource of its kind in San Antonio and in South Texas and is one of few that is available at any university in Texas. The calculator offers personalized information for each student’s major and lets prospective students record every college credit they have earned from the institutions they have attended.
Full article with instructional video can be found here.
February 26, 2019
Alexis Blessing, a third year doctoral student in Dr. Sandra B. Morissette’s Trauma and Health Research in Veterans’ Experiences (THRIVE) Lab, received a 2019 Psychological Science Research Grant awarded by the American Psychological Association for Graduate Students (APAGS). The $1,000 grant provides support for innovative psychological research projects designed by graduate student members of APAGS. Alexis’s project concerns utilizing self-compassion to combat the public stigma of military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
For more information on this grant, visit https://www.apa.org/about/awards/apags-science
January 29, 2019
The Department of Psychology invites Undergraduate and Graduate psychology majors to apply for either the Richard M. Wenzlaff Endowed Scholarship in Psychology or the Pauline W. and Samuel W. Cochran Endowed Fellowship in Psychology. Eligibility requirements and applications can be found here.
January 11, 2019
August 29, 2018
The Psychology Department is pleased to announce the academic appointments of two of our summer 2018 Ph.D. graduates.
|Rebecca A. Thomas, Ph.D., has accepted a competitive 3 year post-doctoral position at Oregon State University. Her position will be in the Ecampus Research Unit that was created by OSU in 2015 with a focus on online education research. The post-doc position is a particularly good fit for Dr. Thomas, enabling her to apply her training and experience in study design, participant recruitment, and dissemination obtained at UTSA in combination with her previous graduate work on student success at Brigham Young University. Dr. Thomas successfully defended her dissertation on partner violence in friends with benefits relationships in July 2018.||Monica C. Yndo, Ph.D., successfully defended her dissertation in August 2018, and will begin a position as an Assistant Professor at Concordia University in Austin, TX this fall. She will be a Psychology faculty member in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Yndo is excited about the opportunity to teach undergraduates and looks forward to the small class sizes Concordia is known for. She also looks forward to continuing to develop her program of research on the role of communication in intimate partner violence with the assistance of undergraduate scholars.|
April 25, 2018
Mary McNaughton-Cassill, a clinical psychologist and a professor at UT San Antonio, studies how the news affects our stress levels and our well-being.
Full article and podcast on HurrySlowly can be found here.
April 24, 2018
Two Psychology Department faculty members were honored at the University Excellence Awards ceremony held April 19, 2018.
|Dr. Michael Baumann received the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for University Service. This award recognizes tenured and tenure-track faculty who are exemplary in their commitment to service within the university and whose service has had major impact on the opportunities, lives and future of UTSA students by providing leadership in critical areas such as advising students; student, department, college and university committee service; and/or creating new student programs and opportunities.||
Dr. Ann Eisenberg received the Howe Excellence in Service to Undergraduate Students Award. This award was established in 2002 through a gift to the university by Mrs. Walter W. McAllister Jr. and is named in honor of longtime engineering professor Richard S. Howe. It is presented to faculty or staff members who have shown exemplary commitment towards UTSA undergraduates. The recipients of this award have demonstrated a strong commitment to teaching and/or service to undergraduate students, served as an advocate for undergraduate education and engaged in activities to promote student access and success.
April 19, 2018
Meghan Crabtree, a third year doctoral student, has accepted a competitive 2 year post-doctoral position at Colorado State University starting Fall 2018. She will be working with Dr. Randy Swaim at the The Tri-Ethnic Center for Prevention Research that is located within the Department of Psychology and the College of Natural Sciences. The department of psychology at CSU has an emphasis on applied social/health. This is an excellent fit for Meghan, whose research program applies advanced methodological and statistical methods to the study of self and social factors impacting psychological and health-related risk and resiliency. She will defend her dissertation on June 1, 2018.
April 19, 2018
Charles Renshaw, an undergraduate psychology major, was one of eight undergraduates selected to present his paper at the annual convention of the Southwestern Psychological Association's Student Research Competition in Houston. His paper, The effects of intimate partner violence on anxiety and depression, won the prize for Best Undergraduate Paper. Charles is supervised by Rebecca Thomas, a third year doctoral student, and Dr. Rebecca Weston.
February 12, 2018
We are pleased to announce that Tiffany Berzins, PhD (2016) will be an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Columbus State University beginning in Fall 2018. Since graduating from UTSA in 2016, Dr. Berzins has been a postdoctoral fellow at Kent State University. Her new position in the Applied Psychology program at Columbus State University is an excellent fit for Dr. Berzins, allowing her to develop a program of research on relationships and health and to teach courses in Health Psychology, Social Psychology, and Quantitative Research Methods. She looks forward to collaborating with students and faculty in the Psychology and Health Professions programs to explore how close relationships influence physical health outcomes. Like UTSA, Columbus State University is designated as a Military Friendly Institution given it's proximity to Fort Benning. Thus, Berzins will have the opportunity to work with the local community and Fort Benning to expand her research program on the health and well-being of military families.
February 9, 2018
Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill, professor in the department of psychology, is a recipient of a 2017 Piper Professor Award. The award annually recognizes 10 college professors in Texas for their academic, scientific and scholarly achievement.
January 31, 2018
All students enrolled in PSY 1013 Intro to Psychology are required to participate in illustrative research through SONA. The SONA Studies Research Participation System is now open. All students currently enrolled in PSY 1013 classes have been sent an email on how to access the SONA sign-up system. If you did not receive an email, contact Janice Marshall at (210) 458-6582 or Wanda McNair at (210) 458-4372.
Those making up incompletes will not receive further email notifications as we have no means for separating out those with incompletes from other students within the SONA system. If you need to make up an incomplete and do not have your login information, call Janice Marshall at (210) 458-6582 or Wanda McNair at (210) 458-4372 to have it emailed to you.
January 19, 2018
The UTSA Career Center & Social Sciences Advising Department has scheduled five workshops for the Spring 2018 semester. Space is limited, so reserve your spots soon.
November 15, 2017
(Nov. 15, 2017) -- Meet Shon Brewington. This first-generation senior hopes to one day impact education policy with the cognitive psychology knowledge he gained at UTSA.
Read full story on UTSA Today
November 6, 2017
Jessica Perrotte, a PhD student in UTSA’s Psychology Department, was recently awarded a multi-year research training fellowship from NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) through the Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award program (F31). These are highly competitive awards. According to NIH’s RePORT tool, Perrotte is only the 4th student in any college of UTSA to receive a NIH F31 award since 2001, and is the first to ever receive such an award from COLFA. Ms. Perrotte also recently won an American Psychological Association Dissertation Award to help support her research in this area.
As part of her appointment as a fellow, NIAAA will provide Perrotte with a stipend, partial tuition support, and discretionary funds for the period of the award while she completes her doctoral degree. During this time, she will engage in multiple research projects and training activities, including her dissertation project. This training plan was one of the many strengths of the application noted by the reviewers. In addition, reviewers were enthusiastic about the range of expertise represented by her mentorship team (primary mentor, Dr. Michael Baumann, and co-mentors, Drs. Sandra Morissette and Ray Garza of UTSA’s Psychology Department, and Dr. Suzy Gulliver of Baylor Scott & White Health and Texas A&M Health Science Center), as well as consultants (Drs. Byron Zamboanga of Smith College, Kim Fromme of UT Austin, and Rebecca Weston of UTSA’s Psychology Department) she assembled to guide her training.
Perrotte’s main interests concern changes in behavior during early adulthood, particularly those experienced during college. Research suggests the habits formed during this period of life have a large impact on downstream health and happiness. The primary research project Perrotte proposed for the award follows a cohort of college students during their first year. She aims to examine the extent to which changes in students’ endorsement of certain cultural beliefs and behaviors, particularly Latina/o students, relate to changes in alcohol use. This goes far beyond existing research, which has mostly kept to very general beliefs or behaviors and single-questionnaire approaches. By identifying specific beliefs and behaviors, Perrotte’s work will provide a more detailed and nuanced understanding of alcohol use among college students. Also, by following people over time, she will be able to better tease out which behaviors and beliefs precede changes in drinking and which result from it. These are issues of key concern to NIAAA as well as to universities. Furthermore, Perrotte’s focus on Latina/o students is particularly important to universities with large Latina/o enrollments, such as UTSA.
Alcohol use researchers have long been calling for studies like Perrotte’s to better understand the development of drinking behavior during college and related downstream health problems. This award will help Perrotte – and UTSA – heed that call.
November 2, 2017
The members of the Student Psychology Association at UTSA were pleased to host Dr. James H. Bray at their monthly luncheon on November 1st. Dr. Bray spoke about his experiences as a researcher and professor and SPA looks forward to working with him in his future endeavors here at UTSA.
July 25, 2017
James H. Bray, Ph.D. will join The University of Texas at San Antonio as Chair of the Psychology Department in August 2017. Dr. Bray will establish the UTSA Family Psychology Health Laboratory to continue his research on the impact of family transitions and relationship factors on children, adolescents and adults. He will also pursue continued work on psychosocial and family factors associated with adolescent substance use and abuse.
Dr. Bray is currently an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Dr. Bray serves on the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association for the Division on Addictions. He was the 2015 President of the Texas Psychological Association and the 2009 President of the American Psychological Association. His presidential themes were the Future of Psychology Practice and Science and Psychology’s Contribution to Ending Homelessness. He is also president of the Division of Professional Practice of the International Association of Applied Psychology. Dr. Bray’s NIH funded research focuses on adolescent substance use, divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies. He has published over 200 articles in major journal and books. He was the director of a federal HRSA faculty development program for physicians and was the director of the SAMSHA funded project on screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) project. He is a pioneer in collaborative healthcare and primary care psychology. He has presented his work in 20 countries. He also maintains an active clinical practice focusing on families and health psychology.
June 30, 2017
A large percentage of college students juggle classes and employment during the school year. Recently, a team of researchers at UTSA (led by David Oviatt, a graduate of our PhD program and his advisor, Professor Michael Baumann) looked at various health-related behaviors associated with being employed during the school year. Specifically, they looked at how reported conflict between the demands of work and school related to drinking (i.e., alcohol use), marijuana use, and cigarette smoking, and how each of these related to depressive symptomology and physical health. The more work school conflict people reported, the more they reported drinking and marijuana use, the more likely they were to be a smoker, and the worse their (self-reported) physical health. Each of these relationships was mediated by depressive symptomology. That is, work-school conflict led to depressive symptomology, which in turn led to these behaviors or health.
However, most of these variables were not associated with working. That is, the results suggest the problem isn’t having a job while in school, but instead having one that conflicts with school.
The full article can be found here.
Oviatt, D.P, Baumann, M.R., Bennett, J.M., & Garza, R.T (2017) Undesirable Effects of Working While in College: Work-School Conflict, Substance Use, and Health. The Journal of Psychology, 151(5), 433-452.
May 11, 2017
This week, more than 4,400 Roadrunners will cross the Commencement stage at the Alamodome to receive their degrees. They'll join a network of 116,000 alumni, business and civic leaders, scientists, engineers, teachers and artists who are changing the world.
Meet Miguel Gonzalez, a father of two who left the workforce to study psychology through the RISE program. His story can be found here.
February 16, 2017
Melina Acosta, a psychology major at UTSA, is breaking mental health stigmas with the help of the Great Conversations! Scholarship. Full story here.
December 16, 2016
The Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that recent doctoral alumnus David Oviatt has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship position in curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston. As part of his appointment, he will be conducting various research projects on classroom management, person-centered learning, and expert teaching methods, along with a meta-review of the impact of current K-12 classroom management interventions. David is also consulting with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), coaching executive leaders within the Department of Veterans Affairs, and participating in several research projects related to human performance within the military.
December 16, 2016
Thomas Coyle, professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Liberal & Fine Arts, has been appointed the new Director of Undergraduate Research in the Office of the Vice President of Research, effective December 1, 2016.
December 1, 2016
On November 18th, students from UTSA, Northwest Vista College, and the University of the Incarnate Word competed in the Intercollegiate Roadrunner Brain Inventory, a friendly jeopardy-style competion testing their knowledge in psychology. Students from the UTSA Psych Club and Psi Chi were the winners and their prizes included scholarships for GRE course prep work and materials from The Princeton Review.
November 29, 2016
The Psychology Club has announced the winners of the SPSP Conference grants. As representatives of the UTSA Student Psychology Club, each student will receive a $185 grant to attend the 2017 Social Personality and Social Psychology Conference to be held January 19-21 in San Antonio. http://meeting.spsp.org/general-info
From left: Pearl Gonzalez, Tanya Herrera, Arlett Zamarripa, and Valerie Reyes
September 12, 2016
All students enrolled in PSY 1013 Intro to Psychology are required to participate in illustrative research through SONA. The SONA Studies Research Participation System is now open. All students currently enrolled in PSY 1013 classes have been sent an email on how to access the SONA sign-up system. If you did not receive an email, please contact Janice Marshall at (210) 458-6582 or Wanda McNair at (210) 458-6582 to have your login information emailed to you.
May 31, 2016
The Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that Tiffany Berzins, a member of our second cohort of students, has been offered a competitive position as post-doctoral research associate in Psychological Sciences at Kent State University. She will be working under the supervision of Drs. Manfred Van Dulmen, Judith Gere, and John Updegraff, who are Social and Health faculty. Berzins' role will be to collaborate with her mentors on projects that explore the mechanisms connecting dyadic bonds to physical health outcomes. Drs. Van Dulmen, Gere, and Updegraff are all highly productive in their individual areas of expertise and in quantitative research methods. The position will therefore provide Berzins additional training in both statistics and Social and Health Psychology. Berzins is scheduled to defend her dissertation on June 30, 2016. She will be the first member of the second cohort to defend.
April 5, 2016
Roadrunner Brain Inventory (RRBI) is a jeopardy-style competition between the Psychology Club at UTSA and Psi Chi Psychology Honors Society on psychology trivia. The winner of RRBI Spring 2016 was the Psychology Club.
Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill and the winners team: Brittany Alexandra Edwards, Brynne Alexander, Nour Rafati, and Isabel Smith
Saifa Pirani (President of Psychology Club) and Ellie Mandavi (Vice President), along with members of the winning team.
March 11, 2016
The Psychology Department is pleased to share the news that the final member of our inaugural cohort, Kristen Rosen, has been offered a postdoctoral position with Dr. Bonnie J. Spring at Northwestern University. Dr. Spring is at the Feinberg School of Medicine, among the top medical schools in the country. She is a highly productive, well funded, and internationally recognized expert in health behavior change and a great fit with Rosen’s training at UTSA. On April 1st, Rosen will defend her dissertation examining the effectiveness of her app-based mindfulness training program for women with breast cancer, for which she received funding from the ThriveWell Cancer Foundation. Congratulations to Kristen and her advisor, Dr. Jennifer Sharpe Potter.
February 15, 2016
UTSA was strongly represented at this year’s meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego. The findings of 10 separate research projects, featuring the collaborative efforts of 6 Psychology faculty and 13 Psychology students, were presented at the conference. Notably, there were as many UTSA faculty and students involved in SPSP this year as faculty and students from nationally known psychology programs such as University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, University of Washington, Texas A&M, and University of Massachusetts (Amherst). Approximately 2600 social and personality researchers from more than 700 colleges, universities, and research institutes around the world presented at this year’s meeting, and SPSP estimated that 4100 people were in attendance.
The UTSA research projects presented at this year’s SPSP are listed below alphabetically by first author. Current and former PSY-B.A. students are indicated with a “1”, current and former PSY-M.S. students are indicated with a “2”, and current and former PSY-Ph.D. students are indicated with a “3.”
Title: The Effects of Alcohol and Fertility on Women's Sexual Decision Making
Authors: Altgelt, Emma2, Zawacki, Tina, Fernandez, Andrea1, & Wang, Alexander2
Abstract: This experiment examined the effects of intoxication and fertility status on women’s perceptions of men during speed-dating interactions. Fertility status and manipulated alcohol condition influenced women’s relationship interest in and sexual risk assessment of interaction partners. These findings hold implications for alcohol myopia and evolutionary theories of sexual risk behavior.
Title: Comfort or Affiliation? Behavioral Preferences Following Pain, Failure and Thwarted Belongingness
Authors: Bennett, Janet3 & Baumann, Michael
Abstract: Researchers assessed interest in comforting solitary and comforting social behaviors in response to vignettes representing pain, failure and thwarted belongingness. Results suggest previous findings of increased affiliation following thwarted belongingness may be related to the restriction of behavioral choices in the experimental design.
Title: Comparing the Influence of Social Networks and Social Media on Personal Attitudes Toward Flu Vaccines
Authors: Berzins, Tiffany3, Fuhrman, Robert, & Haider, Rida1
Abstract: Following a health behavior framework, this project investigated whether social networks and social media use would contribute separately and uniquely to undergraduates’ vaccine-related attitudes. Our results indicate that both social networks and social media influence attitudes but social networks also influence immunization intent.
Title: Development and Validation of a Measure of Facebook Self-Presentation Strategies
Authors: Crabtree, Meghan3, Hernandez, Lauren2, Hale, Willie3, & Pillow, David
Abstract: This study represents the first stage in development of a measure of Facebook users’ self-presentation strategies. Exploratory factor analysis of the self-presentation items yielded a three-factor solution: Strategic control, disclosure ease and ambivalent utilization. Future research will focus on confirmation and validation of the measure’s factor structure.
Title: Effects of Alcohol Consumption and Sex-Related Alcohol Expectancies on Women’s Self-Reported Assertive Condom Negotiation
Authors: Fernandez, Andrea1, Altgelt, Emma2, Wang, Alex2, & Zawacki, Tina
Abstract: This experiment examined the influences of drinking (alcohol, no alcohol, placebo) and sex-related alcohol expectancies on women’s self-reported assertive condom negotiation. Only for intoxicated women, assertive condom negotiation was lower among women with high expectancies, compared to women with low expectancies. Results hold implications for risky sex prevention efforts.
Title: A Comparison of College Students’ Commitment and Investment in Romantic Relationships and Friendships
Authors: Fuhrman, Robert & Berzins, Tiffany3
Abstract: Previous research has found that behavior expectations about romantic partners are usually higher than expectations about friends. Our first study replicates this finding and extends the pattern to measures of relationship commitment and investment. The second study offers a conceptual replication with reports of support provided by friends and partners.
Title: The Mediating Role of Depressive Symptomatology Between Neuroticism and Somatization with Additional Focus on Insomnia and Gender
Authors: Knight, Cory2, Orihuela, Catheryn2, Perrotte, Jessica3, & McNaughton-Cassill, Mary
Abstract: College students who score high in neuroticism typically exhibit additional depressive symptomatology and have co-occurring somatic symptoms. A complex relationship exists, one that beckons further investigation. Depressive symptoms substantially mediated the relationship between neuroticism and somatization. Researchers also found a significant three-way interaction at the second stage of the mediation.
Title: The Role of Ethnoracial Collective Self-Esteem and Latino Values in Risky Behavior
Authors: Perrotte, Jessica3, Garza, Raymond, & Baumann, Michael
Abstract: Two studies examine the gender-distinct associations between collective self-esteem (CSES-ER), traditional machismo and caballerismo, and various health risk behaviors (e.g. alcohol and drug use) in Latinos. Subscales of the CSES-ER negatively predicted many risky behaviors, but tests of moderation indicated this relationship is largely influenced by traditional cultural values.
Title: Effects of Self-Monitoring on Perceived Authenticity in Dyads
Authors: Stetler, Jessica3, Hernandez, Lauren2, Hale, Willie3, Crabtree, Meghan3, & Pillow, David
Abstract: The present study examines how a target’s level of self-monitoring influences perceptions of that target’s authenticity. Researchers analyzed Data using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model for indistinguishable dyads, and found that persons higher in the other-directness component of self-monitoring are perceived by their acquaintances as lower in authenticity.
Title: The Mediational Role of Rejection Sensitivity in Traumatic Childhood Experiences and Sexual Communication
Authors: Wang, Alexander2, Fernandez, Andrea1, Altgelt, Emma2, & Zawacki, Tina
Abstract: The present study examined the direct and indirect influences of childhood trauma and rejection sensitivity on effective sexual communication among 168 women recruited from a large, Southwestern community. Path analyses revealed that childhood trauma was significantly negatively associated with effective sexual communication; however, rejection sensitivity mediated this association.
November 30, 2015
Saifa Pirani, UTSA psychology major, recently presented "Reasons Young Adults Give for Not Killing Themselves: Development and Properties of the Reasons for Living Inventory in Young Adults-II (RFL-YA-II)" at the 2015 SACNAS National Conference in Washington, D.C.
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. This year, the National Conference gathered over 3600 students and professionals. Taking place over three days, the conference showcased both undergraduate and graduate student presentations, offered scientific symposia, keynote addresses, professional development sessions, and a grand exhibit hall in which students interacted with over 300 exhibitors representing colleges and universities across the nation. In addition to these activities, the conference was also an opportunity for students to present their research in a professional setting. This year, over 800 posters and oral presentations were delivered at the conference.
The judges recognized Saifa's work as a standout among the student presentations and selected her to receive one of the 2015 SACNAS Student Presentation Awards. Saifa is president of the Psychology Club and is a member of the Department of Psychology Chair's Student Advisory Council. Congratulations to both Saifa and her research mentor, Dr. Augustine Osman.
October 6, 2015
The Psychology Department congratulates the summer 2015 doctoral graduates:
Miranda C. Richmond, working under Dr. Thomas R. Coyle's supervision, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "g and non-g influences on GPA for Hispanics and Whites: A structural equation modeling (SEM) approach to Spearman's Law of Diminishing Returns (SLODR)." She has since secured a postdoctoral position at Vanderbilt University where she is working with Dr. Laurie Cutting on cognition and reading comprehension.
Kristin Wilborn, working under the supervision of Dr. Deborah Mangold, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, “The effects of childhood trauma on symptomatology: An examination of the role of cortisol and emotion regulation." Kristin has accepted a postdoctoral position with Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, Director of the Hwemudua Addictions and Health Disparities Lab (HAHDL) at the University of Houston, whose current research focuses on measuring how the body reacts to environmental stressors.
September 23, 2015
Meet Kristen Rosen. A UTSA Department of Psychology Ph.D. candidate, she recognized that there was a lack of research on using technology to enhance the quality of life in breast cancer patients. And now, because of her, there’s an app for that.
Read full story by Marissa Villa here.
August 15, 2015
The Department of Psychology is saddened to have lost a good friend and colleague. Professor Emeritus Dorothy Flannagan passed away on Wednesday, July 8, of complications related to cancer. She was a gifted leader, an exceptional teacher, a talented researcher, and a generous friend to many members of the UTSA community. She enriched the lives of countless students and was a constant source of encouragement and support for all her colleagues.
An on-campus memorial service for her was held July 24 at 4:00 p.m. in the University Center Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02).
A scholarship has also been established to honor her and donations may be sent to:
The Dorothy Flannagan Scholarship Fund
c/o Office of External Affairs
The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, Texas 78249
Information about Dr. Flannagan’s highly successful career and her many contributions to the department and the university can be found through the following links:
I knew Dorothy for 18 years, but whether you knew her for much more or much less time we are all here because she made a difference in our lives. I know that her family knows this, but I hope you always remember how happy you made her. She absolutely loved talking about her son Mike’s achievements, sharing pictures of her granddaughter Katie, or talking about her sister and her family. One of the last emails I got from her focused on how much fun she was having helping to plan her niece Ann’s recent wedding. And she positively glowed when she talked about her husband Raymund.
But, we also want you to know how much of a difference she made here at UTSA. As soon as people heard that I would be speaking today they started emailing and telling me stories about their experiences with Dorothy. In fact, so many people wanted to share that I could have easily made this into a one-hour talk (but don’t worry, I won’t). However, we have decided to collect tributes to her on the Psychology Department Website.
As you might suspect most of the stories people are telling focus on Dorothy’s kindness, her love for her family, and how she was always the friend that had your back. When Ann Eisenberg’s husband Rich unexpectedly died Dorothy sat up with her until her parents got there in the middle of the night, and then returned the next day with groceries. When I was out of commission after neck surgery, she would pick up sandwiches on her lunch break, and drop by the house to eat with me. She hosted showers for weddings and babies, she brought gifts for people’s kids, and when one of our former junior faculty got sick she moved her into her own guest room until her family could travel to Texas. Back when we were still a division she initiated periodic women’s faculty luncheons, a tradition my colleague Stella Lopez has recently re-established, in her memory.
I also suspect that we will never really know how many students she influenced. Even after she became the Dean of the graduate school she continued to mentor students and I can’t even imagine how many letters of recommendation she wrote over the years. But, she wasn’t simply a kind person. She was also deceptively strong, persistent, and principled. Students always told me how much they liked her classes, despite their difficulty. To verify this I looked her up on that highly reputable source: Rate My Professor.com., where most of the quotes were similar to this one:
“As usual, an excellent course from this professor; tough, but you will learn a lot, and learn it well...I have taken only 2 of her courses, but based on the consistent high quality of her teaching, I recommend her for any class. “
I suspect that those of you who worked with her in her capacity as Graduate Dean might have similar things to say. There are multiple departments on this campus who owe their graduate and certificate programs to her tireless attention to detail, organizational skills, and persistence. Her own research on child development was also well respected, as was her passion for translating that knowledge into helping children and families. As my colleague Bob Fuhrman recently pointed out, she was particularly supportive of faculty who were balancing work with raising young families, and was a long time supporter of the charity Any Baby Can here in San Antonio.
She was also a kickboxing queen, who always stayed in amazing shape. I’m sure some of you have the same images I do of her swinging across campus on her crutches after she broke her foot, wearing a boot on the injured foot, and one of her trademark high heels, on the other. After she got sick she demonstrated almost superhuman strength, despite continuing to work while undergoing several years of treatment for her cancer. Clearly, she was an incredible role model. She demonstrated to many of us that you could be kind, polite, and well dressed even when facing opposition or unfairness. She set very high standards for students, but then helped them reach them through encouragement, not belittling their efforts. And, she never gave up or quit fighting for things she believed in. In short, she was the quintessential steel magnolia, with a big heart, and the will to match.
While we are always going to wish that we had had more time with her, there is a way we can always carry her spirit with us. I think we can honor her memory, by figuring out what we most admired about how she lived her life, and emulating her.
If she challenged or encouraged you academically, do that for someone else.
If she touched you by her kindness, pay it forward.
If you feel like giving up on something, remember her persistence.
In that way we can carry a bit of her within us, and continue her quest to help others reach their full potential.
I would like to close with a poem, written by Gregory Norbet, that I first heard at a funeral for someone who was very important to me, back in 1989. To my friend Dorothy:
I want to say something to you
Who have become a part
Of the fabric of my life
The color and texture
Which you have brought into
My being Have become a song
And I want to sing it forever.
There is an energy in us
Which makes things happen
When the paths of other persons
And we have to be there
And let it happen.
When the time of our particular sunset comes
Our things, our accomplishment
Won't really matter
A great deal.
But the clarity and care
With which we have
Will speak with vitality
Of the great gift of life
We have been for each other.
Department of Psychology, UTSA
Dr. Flannagan served as my advisor from 2011-2013 while I completed my Master’s degree. She received her diagnosis during that time, but being the consummate professional that she was, Dr. Flannagan elected not to share her medical struggles with me. She powered through her treatment with so much grace. We continued to have weekly meetings. She continued to edit draft after draft of my thesis. She continued to offer me support in both my personal and professional life. We discussed parenting struggles and research posters. During one of our meetings, Dr. Flannagan finally told me that she was ill and that her treatment would require her to travel. She didn’t want pity. She just wanted me to know that she would continue to honor her responsibilities as my advisor. I tried harder to make every new version of my thesis the last one, the perfect one. That final draft did not come for what seemed a very long time, but Dr. Flannagan was always kind.
I wasn’t able to choose a favorite memory of our time together before the memorial service. During the service, I listened to the recollections shared by friends and family, and I was finally able to decide on a memory that I feel truly reflects her empathy. I had just completed the first difficult year as a master’s student, and I was preparing to fly home in order to visit my goddaughter who had been born only a few days prior to our meeting. Of course, Dr. Flannagan wanted to see photos. The stress of graduate school, familial obligations, and the extended Texas allergy season had taken their toll. A trip to my regular physician, a dermatologist, and an allergy specialist had finally confirmed that I was experiencing severe urticarea, a condition commonly known as hives. Hives covered my face, neck, arms, and legs. Prescription antihistamines had not successfully cured my condition. I was itchy and miserable. I joked about being worried that the airline employees, believing me to pose a health risk, would prevent me from boarding the plane. In fact, I had already acquired a doctor’s note that explained the non-transmissible nature of my medical condition in the event that this actually did happen. Dr. Flannagan offered me a sweet smile and gave my hand a squeeze. She assured me that the hives were temporary. She said, “This must be a difficult experience, because you are so pretty.” She knew that sometimes a girl just wants someone to tell her that she is beautiful, and she looked past the Calamine lotion stained skin and red blotches to tell me just that. Ultimately, the comment revealed more about her beauty, her kindness, and her empathy than it did about my appearance.
M.S. in Psychology (2013) and current Ph.D. in Psychology student, UTSA
Dr. Flannagan was hugely influential in my life. I met her in the early 90s and quickly discovered what a treasure I had stumbled upon. I asked her permission to invite my younger sister to sit in on one of her classes to know what to expect when she became a university student. It seems in reading her tributes that she did for me what she did for so many others. She taught me. She had high expectations, yet would encourage and support to help get you to meet them. She sparked my excitement for research, along with Drs. Wenzlaff, Dykes, Pillow, and Fuhrman. She believed in me and helped me realize goals I did not originally have for myself. She helped guide me through meeting countless deadlines, revisions, and applications. I am proud to say that we met them-with her support and help (even when we did not originally believe that we could!). I am so proud to have worked with her. I am thankful for the things she taught me. I am thankful that our research was published. I am thankful that she helped guide me through my first graduate degree. I am a better person today because of her.
Dr. Flannagan was very important to me. I am so thankful she read scripture at my wedding. I was proud to introduce her to my husband and children. I am so thankful to have met Michael and know Katie a bit more. I was reading through her notes, cards, and emails recently and found the sweetest note about my daughter’s birth. She expressed her joy at Katie’s birth the following month in that card. Her joy was apparent and seen every time after when we could connect. Dr. Flannagan was one of the first I invited to our first home in 2002. She expressed how she saw the red tips growing to allow for more back yard privacy in the future. She was right, and I think about it every time I see them.
Dr. Flannagan was my first real university connection. She was my mentor and became my friend. I knew I was in the presence of greatness when I was with her, yet she remained approachable, real, and genuine. I am so thankful for all she has done in my life that it truly overwhelms me. However, she also created so much through UTSA that will strengthen generations. As I walked through UTSA to attend her service with my small children, I remarked at how much has changed. We were able to have a discussion about all the degrees potentially available to them when the time comes. I have always been so thankful for Dr. Flannagan; however, that moment with all the new buildings and possibilities for generations to come was poignant. What a lasting legacy! She is greatly missed.
I was blessed to know Dr. Flannagan in undergrad and graduate school. In undergrad she was inspiring and intimidating. She always had a smile on her face and had a grace about her that was captivating. As a professor she was smart and made me think. Her classes were never the "easy" ones, but they were the classes that made you a better person. When it was time to for my thesis committee for grad school she came highly recommended. I remember the day I walked into her office to formally ask her to be on my committee. I was so nervous, I was worried that my topic might not be of interest to her or that she would simply not like me or have the time. She said that my topic was not an area of expertise for her, but she might learn something new through the process. I walked out thinking how incredibly humble she was. Me teach her something....not likely. The day of my defense I walked in and she looked up from the table and gave me that amazing smile and said "it is okay, we just want to chat." I took a breath and made it through my defense. Dr. Flannagan made me a better teacher, a better researcher, a better person. I will be forever grateful for her influence on my life.
Jodi Moss Lyssy
PSY MS, 2001, UTSA
Upon learning of Dr. Flannagan’s passing, I feel a deep, deep emptiness in my heart, as if she is still part of my daily life, even though I haven’t seen her smiling face in years. I knew, from the moment Dr. Fuhrman introduced me to Dr. Flannagan in August 2001, that in addition to guiding my thesis research, this kind, warm person would have such a significant impact on my life. Dr. Flannagan took care of me, like only she could. In addition to weathering a daunting data collection, analyses, and draft after draft of my thesis, I had the treasured privilege of working alongside Dr. Flannagan in what was then the Office of Graduate Studies, as a work study student. Through it all, she always took care of me and I will forever be grateful. When I learned that she was no longer with us on this earthly journey, I craved a connection to her. I thumbed through my thesis copy and was touched to read the Acknowledgements section, where what I wrote about her then, still holds true today. It reads, “I would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank Dr. Dorothy Flannagan, who has been more of a blessing than I ever imagined a mentor could be. She has truly inspired my passion for research and helped me to realize my maximum potential as a graduate student through her dedication and faith in me.”
Rest peacefully Dr. Flannagan, your work will live on, transforming knowledge and lives because we will continue to do the work that you taught us to do.
Christina Hinojosa, MS, CCRP
Sr. Clinical Studies Coordinator
Department of Leukemia
I feel truly honored for knowing Dorothy Flannagan from different perspectives, and all of them demonstrate how loving and special she was. First, I knew Dorothy as a UTSA graduate student and as the Dean of the Graduate School. I have a very vivid memory of walking across the stage in December, 2008, and seeing tears in Dorothy’s eyes as she shook every students’ hands and congratulated them on their accomplishments. What struck me is that she was truly happy for every single graduate—not just her own students. She shared in the joy of each student, and I continue to find that to be a very special leadership attribute of hers.
I also knew Dorothy as a UTSA staff member who works specifically with graduate students. Though I did not work directly with Dorothy, many of her decisions impacted the policies and practices within our programs, and what I always found were decisions that made UTSA a better place for its graduate students. The growth at the graduate level that UTSA experienced under Dorothy’s leadership was unprecedented and no doubt an incredible testament to how hard she worked and advocated.
Dorothy was also an advocate for the programs she led—my decision to pursue my doctorate in Educational Leadership at UTSA was very much influenced by Dorothy’s praise of that program and its faculty. She ended up influencing a decision that was enormously beneficial for me, and I’ll always be grateful to her for steering me in the right direction. As a female who aspires to leadership in higher education, Dorothy continues to be an inspiration to me as someone who can competently lead with a strong sense of heart.
Last, I knew Dorothy as a member of my family. Dorothy and my uncle Raymund married in July 2012, and I cannot begin to express the gratitude I feel for her for the happiness she brought to my uncle’s life and to the rest of us in the Paredes family. My family and I were fortunate to get to know Dorothy, her son Mike, and her beloved granddaughter Katie. With the loss of Dorothy, my heart breaks for Katie who Dorothy always called her best friend. My heart also breaks for my uncle who called Dorothy the love of his life. I will always remember how hard Dorothy fought to live her life as long as she could, no doubt so she could have more time with Katie, Mike, and Raymund. Despite the odds, we were all given more time with Dorothy than we originally thought we would, but regardless, the loss for everyone who knew her is great.
I hope that all of us at UTSA who knew her will continue to honor her memory through our work with the students here who she loved so much.
Erin Doran, Ph.D.
Educational Leadership Program, UTSA
Dorothy was one of the first people I met when I moved to San Antonio to The University of Texas School of Public Health Regional Campus. She enthusiastically collaborated on developing a cross-campus doctoral program and facilitated many other discussions and partnerships. She was generous in spirit and was a model of collegiality. I so admired her intellect and it was an honor to have worked with her.
Sharon Cooper, Ph.D.
Professor of Epidemiology
UT School of Public Health
San Antonio Regional Campus
I was very sad to hear the news of Dr. Flannagan's passing. My heart goes out to her family, students, and the UTSA faculty. Dr. Flannagan was a wonderful mentor and support during my thesis project and during my two years at UTSA completing my master's degree. It was a rough time for me, moving across the country, my first attempt at graduate school (which can be a humbling experience) - and Dr. Flanngan had an incredible way of being both firm but supportive of students throughout the program. I appreciated the assistance and careful feedback she gave me throughout my thesis project and during my very first legitimate efforts at conducting research and statistical analysis. I'm certain I wasn't one of her best students - as the world knows I make a better clinician than I ever did a researcher, but to date, she was most certainly one of my best professors. It will be difficult to replicate the impact she has had on her students.
Kimberly D. Ernest, Ph.D.
Director of Outpatient Operations
Director of Crossroads
I remember Dorothy best from when I worked with her on the graduate degree proposals for the Political Science program and on the Graduate Council. She was unfailingly constructive and substantive and a pleasure to work with. One of the best leaders of the University administration in my experience.
Department of Political Science, UTSA
In 2011, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved a novel joint Translational Science PhD Program jointly sponsored by the University of Texas (UT) at San Antonio, the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, UT Austin (College of Pharmacy) and the UT School of Public Health (San Antonio Regional Campus). A diverse group of faculty and administrators worked together for 3 years to achieve this vision.
Dr. Flannagan was a key leader on this collaborative team. Her deep knowledge about graduate program development and higher education administration in Texas were invaluable in steering the program approvals through the schools, the UT System, and finally through the Coordinating Board. She was a master diplomat and consummate pro – the Translational Science PhD would not exist had it not been for her strategic thinking, calm presence, and wise counsel.
Now, as part of her professional legacy, this program is up and running with 14 very diverse talented students following individualized training schedules among the four campuses to tailor their education to their research needs. We’ve had our first two PhD graduates with several more advancing to candidacy.
I am grateful for Dorothy’s partnership in this endeavor.
Professionally, and personally, I miss her very much.
Michael J. Lichtenstein, MD, MSc
Director, Office of Research Education and Mentoring
Institute for the Integration of Medicine and Science (IIMS)
UT Health Science Center at San Antonio
People like Dr. Flannagan — Dorothy, as she’d probably want me to drop the formality — don’t come around often. I know we say that about anybody that has passed, but it’s the God’s honest truth when it comes to her. I have yet to encounter anybody else like her, anybody that even came close to paralleling her effortless eloquence, her spirit, her unapologetic dedication to her student, family, and institution. Her zeal, natural sense of joy, or her assumed sense of optimism cannot be faked and will be forever missed.
Shruthi Vale Arismendez
Research Projects Manager
UT Health Science Center San Antonio - ReACH Center
Dorothy Flanngan was a nationally- respected researcher and teacher in Psychology at UTSA and later the Graduate Dean of UTSA beginning in Fall 2002, serving until her illness, then intermittently until her death. She was first an outstanding scholar and teacher, as well as mother, but she had a natural gift for administration of a large, complex, and growing graduate degree program-building University, and a truly gifted sense of how to get the goals of UTSA accomplished both internally and externally. Sometimes the role and responsibilities of the Graduate Dean are not well-known, but the job includes many levels of membership in the system. Dorothy had an unusual gift in that she was absolutely sincere about anything she did, and those who interacted with her as friends and other colleagues will know exactly how powerful that gift was. I salute her in every sense.
Jeanne C. Reesman, Ph.D.
Professor of English, UTSA
I met Dr. Flannagan when I was a grad student at UTSA. Although I never had her for any classes, I admired her. As grad students, we had nicknames for some profs. Our nickname for Dr. Flannagan was "the cheerleader". Not just because she was just so darned cute, but because she was genuinely there for everyone, cheering them on. She was an amazing advisor to many of my friends. I am thankful to have known her, and so grateful for her example of what a mentor should be. Rest in peace, Dr. Flannagan. You are missed.
PSY MS Graduate 2004, UTSA
I first met Dorothy Flanagan when I was an MA student at UTSA back in the early 1990s. I cannot remember where I met her. It might have been at a Women's History Week event. Being a history student, I didn't have an opportunity to take any of Professor Flanagan's classes, but I would see her from time to time and she was always so kind and gracious. There was something special about her. I sensed that she cared very much about all students and not just those majoring in her field of psychology. I also knew that she was a much admired teacher and respected scholar, but at that point, I had no idea she had talents in administration. After I graduated from UTSA, I went on to earn a Ph.D. from Stanford University. With my education complete, I returned to UTSA to begin my teaching career. Once again, I was happy to see Professor Flanagan, only now she was Dean Flanagan who successfully operated an ever-expanding graduate school. My hunch about her was right on. She cared about all UTSA students and had taken her talents beyond her department, providing excellent service to our university by leading the charge in the creation of doctoral programs that add value to our community and the world. The Dorothy Flanagan I saw now was one of our leaders on our university's quest to achieve Tier One status. But for all the honor and responsibilities her position brought her, she remained the same humble and sweet person I remember from many years ago. A person who would lock eyes with you in a crowded room and smile, making you feel glad you were there. This is what she did for me at every graduation ceremony. From the stage party, she would find me sitting among the faculty and simply smile and with that kind gesture she made me feel cared for and welcomed at UTSA. Rest in peace, wonderful Dorothy Flanagan. You have earned heaven.
Gabriela González, Ph.D.
Department of History, UTSA
When I first meet Dr. Dorothy Flannagan it was the summer of 2007 and she taught a course of child and adolescent mental disorders, which I took as an undergraduate student. It was then that I noticed how kind, warm and approachable Dr. Flannigan was. A year later, I ended up being in her class as a master-level student in one of her master-level courses she taught and I found her to be much more than kind, warm, and approachable. She ended up being my favorite professor at UTSA because she was sincere…present…genuine…and real. Not only was she kind, warm, and understanding in both of my experiences with her but she was much more than what I expressed previously…she was inspirational.
Not only was Dr. Flannagan a great professor in the classroom and she was even great person in life. She shared part of her personal story with me and with others. She was encouraging when I needed it. When I struggles she told me that I could do it. I truly believe that I would not have pursued my dream of being a university professor without her. The last time I saw Dr. Flannagan was when I graduated with my master’s in community counselor. I gave her a warm embrace on stage knowing that I owed her so much. Months before I graduated she wrote my letter of recommendation for the doctoral program in counselor education which I am currently in. My biggest regret will always be not telling Dr. Flannagan how much she has helped me through all three pipelines of college academia (i.e., undergraduate, masters’, doctorates’). She will always be a part of my memories and experiences of UTSA.
Jamoki Dantzler, M.A., LPC-Intern
Doctoral Candidate, UTSA
My most poignant memory of Dorothy is when she officiated the awarding of the PhD in Computer Science to my wife Sandy. Kay Robbins, a long-time friend and mentor, did the hooding. I will never forget seeing the three of them together on the stage. We all know how tirelessly Dorothy worked for expanding the graduate programs at UTSA, but she also spent countless Saturday mornings encouraging Women in Science. Dorothy was a true trailblazer.
Psychology Dept, UTSA
PS Sandy’s most endearing memory is Dorothy giving gum to our kids.
I met Dorothy Flannagan some years ago when she was a graduate student at North Carolina State University. She and my former student and good friend, Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler, had bonded in their graduate program, and Maureen introduced us. They were like the Bobbsey Twins - such bright, inquisitive, delightful young women! Bursting with exciting ideas and full of energy for whatever they were doing, they always had new projects underway.
After Dorothy graduated from NCSU and moved to Texas, I was afraid I would not see her again, but that was a wrong assumption. Because our research programs were in similar areas of developmental psychology, we saw each other regularly at conferences. Dorothy was always a bright spot in those meetings! Dorothy, Maureen, and I spent many conference nights together discussing our families, our students, our courses, and our current research.
I was fascinated by Dorothy’s research with her clever yet pragmatic ideas and her eloquent conference talks and discussions. I loved Dorothy’s professional expertise, but I loved Dorothy the person more. She was a warm, intelligent, loving, elegant woman. She supported her students but had high expectations of them, and she could be appropriately tough if that was warranted. What a joy it was to watch her mature into a first-rate teacher-scholar professor, mentor, and administrator. And, she was always a treasured friend.
Several years after Dorothy crossed over to the administration, I was invited to be one of the outside reviewers for the UTSA Psychology Department Program Review. Dorothy was Associate Dean of the Graduate School at that time, but she was still involved in the department. It was such a pleasure to see her in her element. It was obvious that she had an excellent grasp of the current situation of the school and department, and she had many creative ideas for the future. It was also obvious that everyone I met had a great admiration for her as a professional and as a person. It is not surprising that she guided the creation of many new PhD and MS programs and led UTSA to the Carnegie Foundation designation as an intensive research university. What a long list of accomplishments! She loved UTSA and put her heart and mind into strengthening it.
We have lost a wonderful human being and a consummate professional. She enriched the lives of her many colleagues, students, and friends. She will be missed by all who knew her.
Deborah L. Best
William L. Poteat Professor of Psychology
Wake Forest University
Dorothy and I met when I attended UTSA as an undergraduate in 1995-1996. One of my first classes was with Dorothy. She was such a kind, brilliant individual and quickly took me under her wing. I wanted to attend graduate school with the goal of obtaining my PhD in Clinical Psychology. However, I was the first in my family to attend college and knew nothing about how to go about the process of achieving my goals. Dorothy helped guide me each step along the way. I entered UTSA Master’s program in Experimental Psychology the first year they started the program in 1996 with Dorothy as my advisor and mentor. She believed in me, pushed me to do better, and was an amazing role model. She was brilliant, lovely, and had a great sense of humor. She provided guidance as I applied for my PhD program. We kept in touch and each year would send Christmas cards to one another. I loved receiving her letters in her beautiful hand writing telling me about her sweet family and her life. She was there for me at such a pivotal time in my life and I really feel I owe such a debt of gratitude for all she did for me. I have had a lot of wonderful people touch my life, but few had the impact that Dorothy Flannagan had for me.
PSY Master’s student 1998, UTSA
As Dean of the Graduate School, Dorothy Flannagan guided me during almost four years in which the geography MA proposal was crafted from a skeletal outline into a fleshed out program statement fit for evaluation by the academic bodies that would pass judgment on it. She offered treasured advice on goals of the program, the market for it, number of course offerings, program requirements, commitment of the faculty to the program and maintenance of a strong undergraduate program, and the very important budget and its justification. She made time for many meetings with me in her office and was always ready with specific recommendations. She chaired the Graduate Council meeting in spring 2013 where the proposal was approved. The geography MA would never have been implemented without her help.
Dorothy was one of the most open and empathetic persons I have ever worked with in my thirty plus years at UTSA. I will miss the conversations we had about the importance of psychology to the field of behavioral geography, and specifically in my Human Geography course. I will miss her enthusiasm, fairness, cordiality, and professionalism. I don't know if we will ever again have someone as special as Dorothy Flannagan at UTSA.
Professor of Geography
Department of Political Science and Geography, UTSA
Dorothy made so many important contributions to the growth of the Department of Psychology and the University as a whole, but what was most special about her was that she was genuinely the kindest, most generous, most caring person I have had the pleasure of knowing in my lifetime. She was right by my side through all of the joys and challenges of my life, celebrating with me and helping me navigate difficult waters. She was the first person I called when my husband Rich Wenzlaff died, and she sat with me until 2:30 a.m. that morning when I could not sleep. She was right back first thing in the morning, bringing all the necessities no one else thought of – blankets for the out-of-town guests and paper plates, napkins, and silverware for all the food that was quickly accumulating. There are, of course, other awfully nice people on the faculty at UTSA and, for the past 25 years, when I would introduce a couple of them to other members of the UTSA community, I would introduce them as “the second nicest person at UTSA.” Naturally, one of the people I was introducing would ask, “Who is the nicest person at UTSA?” and when I would say, “Dorothy Flannagan,” the response was always, “Oh, of course.”
Befitting the Southern woman inside her soul, Dorothy’s signature phrase was “bless your heart” (sometimes “bless his heart” or “bless her heart”). While the expression “bless your heart” has multiple meanings for Southerners, some of them not quite so nice, Dorothy’s “bless your heart” was always meant to convey her most sincere sympathy or concern or her genuine congratulations and appreciation. She said it when people talked about getting a grant or a new job, a family member’s health struggles, or simply something awkward someone had done. Having the opportunity to know Dorothy blessed my heart and her memory will continue to bless my heart and the hearts of so many others for the rest of our lives.
Professor of Psychology, UTSA
Quite simply, Dr. Dorothy Flannagan changed the course of my life. I was a first generation college student and I attended UTSA starting in 1994. I was one of many fortunate students Dorothy took under her wing, which allowed me to thrive. I knew majoring in psychology I would likely need to go to graduate school. She served as my undergraduate mentor, helping guide my thesis, and we met frequently. She challenged me to think differently while being a wonderful cheerleader. She instilled a personal and professional confidence that profoundly impacted my development.
I remember one particular conversation about graduate school options and I wanted to research Masters programs. She asked me, "Why wouldn't you get your Ph.D?" I remember thinking, "You're right! Why wouldn't I get my PhD?" Given my background, that option wasn't on my personal radar. When people ask me how I decided to do what I do, that is always the story I tell (and coincidentally had just shared that story with an extended family member the day before Dorothy passed).
Without Dorothy, my academic and personal confidence would not have soared. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. My deepest sympathies go out to her family.
Dr. Anne Meyer
University of Missouri Counseling Center
I can never repay Dr. Dorothy Flannagan for all of the priceless gifts she bestowed on me, to include the honor of co-authorship on a publication, so I offer this tribute to her memory to demonstrate the impact one person can have in the life of another. i was quite saddened to hear of her passing because I remember her as a person so full of life. She was always so energetic, encouraging, kind, motivating, and generous. She was truly a unique individual and I'm so grateful to have experienced her influence in my life.
When I reflect on my college years, I remember Dr. Flannagan as a major contributor to my success. I was blessed to have known her as both an instructor and as a mentor. Entering into college, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. After the first four years, my vision had clouded a bit but I continued forward to work towards a Masters degree in Psychology. I am absolutely certain I would not have completed my degree without the encouragement and guidance Dr. Flannagan provided. Although she was a professor of psychology, I will always remember her for the many life lessons I learned under her mentoring as they have definitely shaped me into the person I am today. Every time I write a business policy, I remember sitting in her office and watching her red pen mark up what seemed to be the nth version of my thesis. Every time I have to give a public presentation, I remember her encouraging words when she recommended I teach one of the psychology labs after I confessed my tremendous fear of public speaking. Every time one of my plans does not come to fruition and I feel like I failed, I remember her calming spirit and matter of fact advice that I would have to create a new plan because it was not the end of the world. Every time I am faced with a task that seems too hard or impossible to achieve, I remember her sunny smile and advice to not give up. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. While I did not pursue a career in psychology after graduation, if I had not desired to study it in the first place, I would never have crossed paths with Dr. Flannagan nor would I have discovered that I could conquer my fear of public speaking, perseverance and discipline were attainable traits, criticism can be constructive, and I possess much more inner strength and determination than I thought.
Thank you Dr. Flannagan for everything but especially for being the wonderful and insightful person you were - while the world has been deprived of your gentle and beautiful soul, your spirit will live on in the memories and hearts of the individuals who were privileged to have known you. You will be greatly missed.
PSY MS 2003, UTSA
Dorothy Flannagan was always a bright beacon of light when faculty were called upon to build, refine or advance graduate programs. I recall so memorably, for example, several meetings with Dorothy, Joe Stafford, and others at various stages in the Social Work (MSW program) initiative. As a social scientist I could only understand but not fully imagine the program’s full parameters, needs, and disciplinary conventions. With clear vision, however, Dorothy understood that details sell themselves; convincing delivery mattered most. She could leap from her disciplinary training into arcane subject matter in so many different fields, emerging with the necessary language to put across the best features of a proposal. Her editorial genius was especially applied when she skillfully chose the kinds of words that reviewers at all levels of internal and System-level scrutiny would expect to read. No matter what collection of muddled ideas I drafted for her review in such areas as the Graduate Certificate in Security Studies, the Masters in Global Affairs, or the once-proposed Certificate in Language Studies (for military and intelligence professionals), Dorothy rose above jargon and peculiarities while taking direct aim at clarity of explanation. I can look back and say thanks for all that you did for all of us. Always a sharp eye for essential details, a truly eclectic mind, an accessible go-to person, a problem solver, she was a sincere friend and colleague. I will miss her big smile and her consistently engaging personality. I can only hope that her spirit will linger in our hallways forever.
James D. Calder,
Professor and Interim Chair
Department of Political Science and Geography, UTSA
Dorothy Flannagan was a smart, beautiful, compassionate friend, mentor, teacher-scholar and loving mother and grandmother. She was deeply committed to her family and friends, and I am incredibly fortunate to have known and loved her for the last 25 years. I have struggled to put the depth of my feelings for her into words.
Dorothy and I met in graduate school at North Carolina State University and immediately were friends who shared a love of children and developmental psychology, among many other things. Dorothy defended her dissertation first, and when I followed in her footsteps later that year she threw me a party. Then she and Mike left for Texas and she started her long, industrious career at UTSA. You were a very welcoming community for her, which she needed as a single mother who had just left all her friends and family behind on the east coast. Due to distance and limited funds for travel, we didn’t see each other nearly as often as we’d have liked. We reunited every year or two at our professional conferences, and these are the memories I will always treasure. It was like we’d never been apart. In between our conference sessions and in long talks into the night, we exchanged stories of family and friends, of joy and loss, and of the struggles of establishing our careers as women and mothers trying to balance it all. She was the best confidante and a deeply compassionate friend. Dorothy was delighted when I asked her to be my daughter Alex’s godmother, and the year I brought baby Alex to the conference I could hardly pry her out of Dorothy’s arms. Dorothy’s last email to me was entitled “beautiful wonderful Alex,” written in 2013 after Alex’s high school graduation. I don’t know how two years elapsed before I received the terrible news of her death, but I do know that she will live on in my heart and in the lives of her son and granddaughter, as well as through your memories and the memorial scholarship in her honor. I have no doubt that she was an exceptional teacher-scholar-mentor and role model, and her leadership on your campus speaks volumes about who she was and what she cared about. The last time I saw her, Dorothy looked as happy as I had ever seen her and especially when she talked about her adored granddaughter Katie. I’ll remember her that way, folding her legs beneath her to sit on the floor and talk for hours.
Professor of Psychology
Elon University, North Carolina
In May 2007, I wrote the following for my acknowledgements page of my Master's thesis, "I especially want to thank Dr. Flannagan. You showed a tremendous amount of confidence in me and helped make this process as painless as possible. Any future I have in this field would not have been possible without your guidance and involvement in my academic career. I am forever grateful. Thank you."
To this day I have never forgotten what Dr. Flannagan did for me. I still feel the same. The career I have today is because set me up to succeed.
I will always remember the sound of her high heels walking up to the classroom during my first semester at UTSA. I will always remember how she put me at ease just as I felt I was coming unraveled working on my thesis. The thing that I cherish the most is how she made me believe in myself and my abilities. I can never adequately express my gratitude for that priceless gift.
Masters of Science in Psychology, 2007, UTSA
Dorothy was my close friend and colleague for the better part of 25 years. She arrived at UTSA the year after me and we “grew up” together through the ranks. Dorothy quickly established herself as a top-rated teacher, a highly productive researcher, and the ideal department citizen. She worked hard to meet her own high self-expectations and she became my ‘pace’ car – the person who I instinctively looked toward when evaluating my own efforts and priorities. As the years went by, my respect and admiration for Dorothy grew even stronger as we began to collaborate on research projects, co-author manuscripts, and co-mentor students. She was always the voice of optimism and the source of renewed determination when a project didn’t go quite as planned. Her resilience proved especially important in helping us complete our last and largest project together – the planning and approval of the Psychology PhD program. It took 9 years and 5 major revisions and not once did Dorothy express doubts about us achieving a favorable outcome. Her optimism and efforts paid off this past May with the graduation of the department’s first doctoral student.
Dorothy valued family, friends, fairness, and “getting things done.” She dedicated her life to helping children and fiercely believed in the power of education to positively transform the lives of young adults. She was always generous with her time and support, and was one of the best friends I ever had. I am deeply saddened to lose her but I am extraordinarily grateful for having had the opportunity to work with her for over 2 decades. Thank you Dorothy – for everything you did to improve the lives of those who knew you and the lives of those who are still to come.
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Psychology, UTSA
Dr. Flannagan was an incredible mentor, excellent teacher, and amazing source of support. She consistently went beyond her role requirements to ensure my success, as she did with all of her students. I would not be who I am today were it not for Dr. Flannagan’s encouragement and patience. I treasure the time that I spent with her and miss her greatly.
PSY Dept Doctoral Student, UTSA
"Dorothy was such an important figure in so many people's lives. Devoted to her family, she also was a tireless institution builder at UTSA. And, to me, she was mentor, colleague, and friend. I am just one of many who will miss her terribly.”
Laura J. Levi
Anthropology Dept, UTSA
"My first encounter with Dean Flannagan was during my interview for the Director of Graduate Recruitment and Retention position at UTSA. Needless to say, she believed in me and offered me the position. I will never forget her words during the telephone job offer which were "I can promise you with the direction we are headed at UTSA to increase graduate enrollment, you will be in for a great challenge and you seem to be the right person for this challenge." I was sold. I am truly honored to have worked under the leadership of Dorothy Flannagan for the previous 10 years. She was the most diplomatic leader I have encountered and under her guidance UTSA and the Graduate School have grown tremendously over the past decade. She was personally and professionally supportive through good times and bad. She was one of the top reasons I decided to pursue my doctoral degree in Higher Education and served as one of my recommendations as she was confident in my leadership and academic abilities. The one regret I will have is she will not be the one to shake my hand when I am hooded at the graduation ceremony this year as she has with 100's upon 100's of graduate students at UTSA. I loved that we began every meeting with photos of her grand-daughter Katie which put things in perspective for me in balancing school, work, and my personal life. I will miss her dearly and my heart goes out to all who loved her who are mourning in this loss."
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Assistant Dean of Student Success
College of Education & Health Professions
I worked with Dorothy when I served as chair of the UTSA Graduate Council in 2011 - 2013. During that time, I learned a great deal about leadership by watching her navigate the ongoing challenges of being a Dean - and (let’s be honest) of being a woman in the Deanship.
Dorothy led with a consistent and unrelenting focus upon higher aims -- guided by ideas rather than ego; by purposeful deliberations rather than self-aggrandizement. Dorothy is - in my mind - a wonderful role model for other women leaders. She serves in that role for me. Dorothy was not a “shock and awe” type leader. Instead, she possessed a combination of deliberately applied intellect and quiet self-possession, two qualities that I - as a quiet person, myself - admire.
Dorothy cared about Graduate Council and ensured that the faculty voice was not lost as new policies and programs were vetted. She valued and respected the input that the Council offers - though she didn’t always agree with it. And that’s not an easy thing to do: to respectfully disagree.
Dorothy shared her cancer diagnosis with me during my last year as Council chair. She was making regular trips to Houston for treatment, and her energy level was in flux. She was still attending Council meetings when she could, and she maintained her support for the Council’s activities. She might have been feeling badly (an understatement, I’m sure), but she was strong and persistent. I admired her dedication to her work and vision.
Even when she was battling a frightening, devastating illnesses, Dorothy never lost sight of her higher aims.
Dorothy’s passing was a shock to me. I knew that she had stepped away from the Deanship to focus on her family and to continue her battle against the cancer. I had - on several occasions - wanted to send her a note to let her know how I appreciated the chance to work with her on Council. Regrettably, I never sent that note. Maybe this message will find its way to her.
COEHD Interdisciplinary Learning
Associate Professor, UTSA
Dorothy was an important part of my life in San Antonio from the beginning—a critical figure in many of my long-term memories, some awkward and some precious. It is so odd the things that stick out as rich memories. For instance, I have these vivid memories of getting on elevators with Dorothy either going or coming back from class. There was this old faculty member on campus who would often make little comments on my white sneakers, comments designed to leak his disdain for my lack of professional dress in the classroom. Of course, there’s no better way to highlight a standard being missed than to offer praise for another who meets it. And Dorothy definitely met the standard. Whenever Dorothy was in the elevator with us, he would look her up and down, maybe twice, and then note how nice her shoes looked. To make the comparison crystal clear for me, he would say something like, “There’s a psychologist who is dressed very nicely.” Yea, yea. I got the message. Still…to this day, I can’t decide which of his comments were more awkward—those subtly chastising me or those not subtly enough praising Dorothy’s shoes and clothing choices.
On the more serious side, Dorothy was there for me, providing support from the small things to those most important. When I got the job at UTSA, Dorothy was the first to offer me aid in finding a realtor. And when we moved into our first home, Dorothy volunteered her son to aid us in making the move. When I was learning to teach, Dorothy offered advice, sample syllabi, and shared ideas about test construction. When I was working for tenure, Dorothy came by my office and offered perhaps the most influential and best mentoring advice I got as an assistant professor: she told me that I was stretching myself too thin by tackling too many projects and challenged me to focus on my JPSP submission. I did just that and it paid off. When my kids were sick or had problems, Dorothy was there to offer comfort and to keep tabs on how my family was doing. Dorothy also joined me to write a grant proposal and she served as co-investigator for a grant that was funded. She led the way in submitting work from that grant that paid off in terms of publications. In short, Dorothy played an important role in helping me be successful, and she allowed me to be my authentic self, enabling me to feel as though I belonged in this place. And as the department grew, Dorothy played an important role in helping the department as a whole obtain and maintain the master’s and doctoral programs.
In the end, people tend to look back to the past as they sum up their lives. And we look back to the past to understand how they influenced us as we continue…as we should…to move forward. I remember that although Dorothy was bad with goodbyes, she was not bad with hellos. After being offered the job at UTSA, the first message I remember receiving was a hand written greeting card from Dorothy, letting me know that she was happy that I was joining the faculty and offering me aid in making the move. So I’ll close with my own note, and respect her aversion to goodbyes as best as possible in the process …
Thanks for being there, for all your help, advice, guidance, and hard work. You left a legacy that will transcend your life and professional work. It will continue in me, others, and in this place. I think now…you should feel free to relax and look back on the world you touched and left behind with contentment. I’m still moving forward for a while more; ready to face the challenges that lie ahead, taking a part of you with me—always inspired.
Namaste (i.e., “The Divine light that is within me recognizes the Divine light that is within you”),
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, UTSA
Every day, we interact with people. However, it is seldom that we interact with a person who has the ability to change the entire course of your life’s journey. This person does not have to give you tons of money; nor does this person have to remain in your life to make a significant impact. Sometimes, it just takes a thought, a gesture, or a simple action.
I am positive that Dr. Dorothy Flannagan did not know how much of an impact she has had in my life. I cannot blame her, because what she did was an automatic reaction for a person as caring and considerate as she was. For people like Dorothy, their good nature is just a natural reaction, but what they do not realize is how much their good nature actually changes the world.
We live in a country that promotes the ideology of people having the ability to change, whether it is changing our circumstance or changing our society. In fact, our current president stood on the platform that change in America is possible. Unfortunately, we also live in world that believes that the best predictor of someone’s future is their past. I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. I have grown from my mistakes and have paid my debt to those who were affected by my poor choices. I am one of those people who believe that we have the ability to change.
I promised myself and those who love me that I would change my life and become a person worthy of caring about. Where I am from, an 8th grade dropout who only has a G.E.D rarely makes it far in life. But, I vowed to change my life, and so I made my way through community college and ended up at UTSA, pursuing a B.A. in psychology. My dream has been to attain a doctoral degree. To fulfill that dream, one must be ready to conduct research. As such, I positioned to attain the necessary skills to be a student researcher. I applied to UTSA Summer Provost Program: a program that took undergraduate students and made them into young researchers. I was accepted into the program. But a week later, I was contacted by the receptionist who unhappily told me that I cannot participate in the summer program, because of my background check. I was devastated, but I was also used to hearing this news. I pleaded with the receptionist and asked if there was any way that I can somehow participate in this program unofficially. She replied, “No, I am sorry. It is out of my hands.” We hung up. No more than 30 minutes later, my phone rang. I answered the phone and said, “Hello.” The warm voice on the other end said, “Is this Mr. Delgado?” I said, “This is he.” The woman on the phone said, “My name is Dr. Dorothy Flannagan, and I am the associate dean of the graduate school. I hear that you want to conduct research.” I said, “Yes, I do, but it seems that my life cannot move forward because of my past.” She replied, “Well, I cannot speak about anything that you have done in the past, but from your application, I see that you have a bright future as a researcher. Please consider this call as an acceptance to the UTSA Summer Provost Program.” I cried and thanked her. She was modest and said that she is looking forward to seeing my research. That phone call was approximately 5 years ago. I saw Dorothy a couple of times after that phone call, as we crossed paths on campus.
I am positive that she had no idea how much that phone call meant to me; nor did she have a clue of the butterfly effect of her action. Today, I am researcher for a global research firm. I have presented my research at over 3 national conferences, and I have 3 3 manuscripts under review for publication. Being part of the UTSA Summer Provost Program prepared me with the skills to pursue my academic goals. However, the biggest thing that, in my opinion, contributed to my success is that someone believed in me. Dorothy truly believed that people can change. She believed in me. As result, I believed that I can have a future in academia.
July 13, 2015
The Department of Psychology is sad to have lost a good friend and colleague. Professor Emeritus Dorothy Flannagan passed away on Wednesday, July 8, of complications related to cancer. An on-campus memorial service for her will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, July 24th at the University Center in the Retama Auditorium (UC 2.02.02). A scholarship fund to honor Dr. Flannagan has been established and donations can be sent to the address listed below.
Dr. Flannagan earned her Ph.D. from North Carolina State University and joined the faculty in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at San Antonio in 1990. She was instrumental in developing the department’s Masters of Science Program (started in 1995) and the Doctor of Philosophy program (started in 2012). She was a nationally-recognized researcher who published extensively on topics related to parent-child interactions, the dynamics of adolescent friendships, and the behavioral expectations underlying romantic relationships in emerging adults. She received external funding to support her research from the Spencer Foundation, the Hogg Foundation, and the Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. Flannagan was also an excellent classroom instructor and won the Dean’s Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 1993. Outside the classroom, she worked with an extraordinary number of graduate and undergraduate students on research projects, and it is a tribute to her dedication as a student mentor that Dr. Flannagan consistently ranked at the top of the department in the number of M.S. thesis projects competed under her supervision. Her M.S. graduates included Cilla Stultz, Christina Perez, Lorena Bradley, Lea Conkright, Justin Wise, Christina Hinojosa, Dianna Marsh, Cherisse Lezama, Rochelle Sherrill, Cynthia Tarrillion, Livia Manning, Jennifer Gnepper, Sandra Castanon, Michael Matamoros, Megan Chance, Mercedes Vaughn, Sarah Frias, Tiffany Berzins, and Janet Bennett.
In addition to her contributions to the department, Dr. Flannagan made many important contributions to the college and university. She was appointed Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences in 1998 and as Associate Dean in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts in 2000. She assumed her role as Dean of The Graduate School in 2001 and was named Vice-Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies in 2009. Her administrative accomplishments were instrumental in moving UTSA closer toward its goal of becoming a research-intensive, Tier 1 institution. As Dean, Dr. Flannagan successfully supervised the development and implementation of 20 new PhD programs, 19 new Master’s programs, and 10 graduate certificate programs. At the state level, Dr. Flannagan served as president of the Association of Texas Graduate Schools and was a member of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Graduate Education Advisory Committee, the U.T. System Enrollment Management Committee, the Council of Southern Graduate Schools/Awards Committee, and the Institute for Integration of Medicine and Science Governance Advisory Council.
The Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and the San Antonio community have lost a gifted leader, an exceptional teacher, a talented researcher, and a generous friend. Dr. Flannagan enriched the lives of countless students and was a constant source of encouragement and support for all her colleagues. She will be greatly missed.
Donations to honor Dr. Flannagan can be sent to:
The Dorothy Flannagan Scholarship Fund
c/o Office of External Affairs
The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, Texas 78249
May 21, 2015
Kristen Rosen, 3rd year PhD student, recently received a 2015 Graduate Student Research Scholarship. She is advised by Dr. Jennifer Sharpe Potter at UTHSCSA and proposed her dissertation this semester.
The Graduate School received 24 Teaching Award applications and 34 Research Award applications. These applications were reviewed by a designated university committee. The committee members found the quality of the applicants’ work to be very impressive and the task of selecting award recipients a difficult one. The recipients of the spring 2015 Graduate Student Teaching and Research Scholarships are:
• Teaching Award
o Korin Bradley, Educational Leadership, Master’s
o Carl Larsson, Finance, Doctoral
o Jorge Pena Marin, Marketing, Doctoral
o Kallie Pfeiffer, Fine Arts, Master’s
o Sushilkumar Sreekumar, Physics, Doctoral
• Research Award
o Patrick Benavidez, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Doctoral
o Randi Holst, Music, Master’s
o Daniel Large, Public Administration, Master’s
o Matthew Martinez, Applied Demography, Doctoral
o Kristin Rosen, Psychology, Doctoral
May 12, 2015
The Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that our first doctoral student has graduated less than three years after starting the program. Dr.Willie Hale successfully defended his dissertation, An Examination of the Authenticity Construct, in April and graduated on Saturday, May 9, 2015. Congratulations to Dr. Hale and his advisor, Dr. David Pillow for their hard work.
Dr. Hale has accepted a postdoc position and will be working with Dr. Alan Peterson on STRONG STAR, a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research consortium led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
May 12, 2015
Kristin Wilborn, a third year doctoral student and member of the inaugural cohort of the Psychology PhD program, recently received UTSA's Presidential Dissertation Award. This competitive award for $2,000 will be used to fund Wilborn's dissertation research. Her study examines how a promising targeted Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction intervention may differentially reduce symptomatology associated with anxiety and mood disorders following exposure to adult onset trauma compared with exposure to childhood trauma in a sample of females residing in local San Antonio shelters for victims of domestic violence. Additionally, her dissertation proposes to expand current research by examining how the relationship between trauma, Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis dynamics and risk for symptoms of anxiety and mood disorders may be differentially mediated by emotional regulation following exposure to childhood trauma. Working with a community population in need of this targeted intervention will not only benefit the field of study, but will also contribute to the important relationship that UTSA has with the community.
May 7, 2015
Matthew Martinez, Kasey Girven, Victoria Barbosa Olivo, Rachel Hicks
Six colleges and 25 programs were represented in the Ready, Set, Research! Competition, where students are challenged to present their research in 3 minutes or less. This year, master’s students and doctoral students competed against other graduate students at their respective levels and across disciplines. This semester’s event was a huge success, and the competitors came prepared and ready to win.
We are pleased to announce the winners of the Spring 2015 Ready, Set, Research! Competition:
1st Place: Rachel Hicks, Music
2nd Place: Kasey Girven, Biology
3rd Place: Victoria Barbosa Olivo, Psychology
People’s Choice: Matthew Martinez, Social Work
May 7, 2015
Antonio "Tony" Garcia (Psychology) has been selected to receive a multi-year RISE PhD Fellowship. The RISE (Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement) program is currently funded and administered by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.
Tony, a doctoral candidate, is currently working with Professor Raymond T. Garza, a distinguished researcher and long-term faculty member of the Psychology Department. His primary research interest is the role of moral perception and affect in the etiology of psychosocial dysfunction in military veterans with a history of deployment to active conflict zones. His dissertation will focus on developing and testing a theoretical framework to help explain the life-long debilitating effects of military combat.
April 28, 2015
(April 23, 2015) -- Mary McNaughton-Cassill, professor of psychology in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts, was chosen for induction into the University of Texas System Academy of Distinguished Teachers. McNaughton-Cassill is one of four UT System faculty selected for membership in the Academy this year. The group will be inducted at a ceremony April 29 in Austin.
The Academy of Distinguished Teachers, the only system-wide academy of its kind, was created in 2012 to recognize the most outstanding educators at UT's nine academic institutions. Members of the Academy serve as an advocacy group dedicated to enhancing teaching, fostering innovation in the classroom and promoting interdisciplinary perspectives on education. McNaughton-Cassill is the first UTSA faculty member to be inducted into the Academy.
Read full story here http://www.utsa.edu/today/2015/04/mcnaughton-cassill.html
February 2, 2015
All students enrolled in PSY 1013 Intro to Psychology are required to participate in illustrative research through SONA. The SONA Studies Research Participation System in now open. All students currently enrolled PSY 1013 classes have been sent an email on how to access the SONA sign-up system. If you did not receive an email, contact Janice Marshall at (210) 458-6582 or Wanda McNair at (210) 458-4372.
Those making up incompletes will not receive further email notifications as we have no means for separating out those with incomplete from other students within the SONA system. If you need to make up an incomplete and do not have your login information, call Janice Marshall at (210) 458-6582 or Wanda McNair at (210) 458-4372.
December 4, 2014
Students may now visit the Independent Study Recruitment page for a listing of available independent study sections.
The Independent Study Program is an opportunity to earn course credit by working on a research project with a faculty member in Psychology. This experience not only sharpens your research skills, it also provides valuable faculty mentorship.
December 1, 2014
Dr. Michael Baumann, Associate Professor and coordinator of Psychology’s MS program, has been named Associate Editor for the journal Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice (a publication of APA Division 49). Group Dynamics has a particular emphasis on theoretically driven empirical studies, but also publishes theoretical analyses and literature reviews. Because research on groups spans disciplinary boundaries, authors published in Group Dynamics come from a range of disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, sociology, education, communication and business. The journal considers research on topics including group process and performance, naturally forming social groups, process and effectiveness of group therapy, and learning groups. Dr. Baumann’s primary areas of responsibility for the journal consist of the first two of these.
Several other department faculty currently serve or recently served as Associate Editors for scholarly journals, including Reed Hunt (Memory ), Augustine Osman (Psychological Assessment ), Rebekah Smith (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition ), and Tina Zawacki (Psychology of Women Quarterly ).
October 29, 2014
Kristin Wilborn, a member of the inaugural cohort of the Psychology Department’s doctoral program, has been selected to receive the Jennifer Ann Crecente Memorial Grant, awarded by the Texas Psychological Foundation.
The Jennifer Ann Crecente Memorial Grant is in memory of the first homicide victim in Austin in 2006, an 18 year old young woman whose plan was to study psychology in Texas.
This grant will provide up to $5,000 support for a currently enrolled psychology graduate student in good standing who is conducting research addressing potential causes and/or prevention of violence against women (and offered to a student in psychology whose research would contribute to understanding the causes and/or prevention of violence against women). The research should be in (partial) fulfillment of the requirements for the master thesis or doctoral dissertation as (having a proposal) approved by the student's research advisor (or committee) and department chairperson.
October 3, 2014
Dr. Alan Peterson, a professor in the UTSA department of psychology and director of both the STRONG STAR Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD, gave a lecture on PTSD and traumatic brain injury (TBI) to a group of UTSA students and faculty on Sept. 23.
August 7, 2014
A team of researchers led by UTSA Psychology faculty recently received funding from the United States Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. The three-year, approximately $640,000 project will focus on identifying variables likely to predict near and long term risk of violent behavior in military workplace settings as well as associated mental and physical health issues. Of particular interest to the researchers are how individual-level stability (or instability) in emotional experience and social behavior and unit/workgroup-level climate can be used to predict physical assault, bullying, and sexual harassment in military settings and participants’ overall levels of substance abuse, suicidal ideation, general well being, and engagement in domestic violence. The project is guided by the “I-cubed” model of aggression (Finkel et al., 2012). Following this model, the project treats aggression as a product of factors that impel individuals to aggress (e.g., “having a temper”), factors that instigate aggression (e.g., provocations), factors that either increase or decrease a person’s ability to inhibit aggressive urges (e.g., self-regulatory skills), and how these three kinds of factors interact with each other to predict violent behavior.
The full team consists of Drs. Michael R. Baumann (UTSA), Rebecca Weston (UTSA), Daniel J. Beal (formerly of UTSA and now at Virginia Tech), and Craig J. Bryan (University of Utah), and is overseen by Dr. Baumann.
June 26, 2014
People are often motivated by a combination of approach (e.g., seeking rewards) and avoidance (e.g., preventing loss) concerns. However, some people are very sensitive to rewards and all but ignore threats, whereas other people all but ignore rewards and are very sensitive to threats. A team of researchers led by Psychology faculty at UTSA recently conducted a study aimed at finding out how such individual differences relate to cigarette use. The researchers measured how motivated each participant was to avoid threats (“behavioral inhibition”), to experience new things (“fun seeking”), to experience positive outcomes (“reward responsiveness”), and to persevere in pursuit of outcomes they had chosen (“drive”). The team reasoned that each of these would influence a different aspect of deciding whether to try cigarettes, continue smoking, or quit, and therefore that the patterns would be different for different types of smokers and non-smokers. High inhibition would both motivate people to avoid trying cigarettes and give smokers a reason to attempt to quit (i.e., to avoid the health risk). Fun seeking would influence motivation to try cigarettes (a new experience), reward responsiveness would influence motivation to keep smoking once the newness wore off, and drive would influence whether people who attempt to quit overcome the obstacles to successfully quitting. Thus people who had never tried cigarettes were expected to be high in inhibition and low in fun seeking (i.e., more motivated to avoid the health risk than to approach something new). People who tried cigarettes but stopped before forming a habit were expected to be average on inhibition, relatively high on fun seeking, and average on reward responsiveness. Former smokers were expected to be average on inhibition and high on fun seeking, but also to be high on reward responsiveness and drive. Current smokers were expected to be relatively high on fun seeking and reward responsiveness but low on inhibition (giving them less reason to try to quit), low on drive (making them less likely to succeed), or both. Most of the profiles were as predicted. Interestingly though, current smokers were low on all four characteristics, suggesting neither approach nor avoidance concerns motivated them.
The full findings are published in a forthcoming article at Addictive Behaviors, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.05.028
Baumann, M.R., Oviatt, D., Garza, R.T., Lopez, S.G., Gonzales-Blanks, A., Alexander-Delpech, P., Beason, F.A., Petrova, V.I., & Hale, W.J. (2014). Variation in BAS-BIS profiles across categories of cigarette use. Addictive Behaviors, 39, 1477-1483
June 5, 2014
Dr. Jeff Temple, who received his B.A. in psychology at UTSA in 1998, has been named vice chairman of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission Task Force on Domestic Violence, the result of legislation signed into law in 2013.The law calls for measures to examine and address the impact of domestic violence on the health of women and children during pregnancy. He is currently an associate professor and director of behavioral health and research at UTMB.
June 2, 2014
April 17, 2014
Congratulations to our Psychology faculty members who were honored this year with University Excellence Awards in recognition of their extraordinary achievements:
April 7, 2014
Far right: Kristin Wilborn (People's Choice-Doctoral)
April 4, 2014
Willie Hale, 1st place, graduate division (Faculty Sponsor: David Pillow)
Ain’t nobody got time for that: Hypocrisy and message rejection
Trisha Hinojosa, 1st place, undergraduate division (Faculty Sponsor: David Pillow)
Does self-monitoring facilitate or impeded authenticity?
Lisa Oakes, 2nd place, undergraduate division (Faculty Sponsor: Michael Baumann)
Drawing on tattoos: Effect of a visible tattoo on impression formation of a female target
Danielle Chapa, 3rd place, undergraduate division (Faculty Sponsor: Stella Lopez)
Media internalization, body evaluation, and perceptions of attractiveness in Mexican-American women and men: Does acculturation matter?
April 3, 2014
Associate Professor Tina Zawacki was interviewed for an article in Scientific American on research addressing the role of alcohol in sexual aggression.
March 27, 2014
UTSA Psi Chi faced UTSA Psychology Club in friendly competition in this "Jeopardy!" style game.
Two members from each organization were not only competing for their names to be engraved on a plaque that is displayed in the Department of Psychology, but one member form the winning team also received the Dr. Mary McNaughton-Cassill Scholarship of Student Success and a 100% FREE Kaplan GRE test prep course (valued at $1,399)! Congratulations to UTSA Psi Chi for winning twice in a row and congratulations to Bryan Dimler, who received the scholarship!
January 14, 2014
Four Department of Psychology professors are featured in the latest edition of Ovations, the official magazine of the UTSA College of Fine Arts.
Dr. David Pillow, Dr. Mary McNaughon-Cassill, Dr. Stella Lopez, and Dr. Ray Lopez each had their research programs featured in an article entitled "Understanding Ourselves: Psychology Research Offers Advice for Life".
The article is online and may be accessed via http://www.utsa.edu/ovations/vol8/story/understanding.html
January 14, 2014
Congratulations to our faculty members who received University Excellence Awards.
November 18, 2013
Willie Hale, a member of the inaugural cohort of the Psychology Department’s doctoral program, won first place in the “Ready, Set, Research!” competition held November 13, 2013 on the UTSA campus. This competition involves “data-blitz” style presentations in which competitors must summarize their research in three minutes or less with no props or aides other than a single static Powerpoint slide (i.e., no animations, sound effects, etc.). Mr. Hale’s presentation, How Violations of Core Social Motives Influence Perceptions of Moral Hypocrisy, focused on factors influencing whether people view others as hypocritical. Mr. Hale’s data suggest that when a person’s deep social motives (e.g., belonging, trust) are challenged by the behavior of another, he or she is more likely to see that other as a hypocrite and less likely to accept lifestyle advice from that other. The findings have implications for the successfulness of health advocacy and health interventions.
October 16, 2013
Third from left: Viridiana Estrada; Far right: Willie Hale, Jr.
The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) annual conference commemorating the organization's 40th anniversary wrapped up over the weekend at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Nearly 4,000 participants from around the country attended sessions at the four-day event tailored to support undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and career professionals at each stage of their careers as they move toward leadership positions in the sciences. The activities included oral and poster presentations by 900 students representing universities throughout the United States and Puerto Rico.
Ninety students from the UTSA College of Sciences, College of Engineering and College of Liberal and Fine Arts made presentations, and 43 students represented the College of Sciences Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS-RISE) program, Minority Access to Research Careers - Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (MARC-U*STAR), Work Study Research Training Program (WSRTP) and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Bridge to the Doctorate Program (LSAMP-BD). The winning entries received an official certificate and monetary award.
Competition winners are:
"Synthesis of guanidylated amphiphiles and bolaamphiphiles for siRNA encapsulation in gene-silencing therapy"
Mentor: George Negrete
"Do we predict as we age? An event-related potential study of sentence processing in Spanish-speaking older adults"
Mentor: Nicole Wicha
"Modifying mechanical and bioactive properties of hydroxyapatite scaffolds via collagen coatings"
Majors: Biology and Physics
Mentor: Joo Ong
"Determination of the effects of hyperbaric conditions on CMRO2 in rats during forepaw stimulation using fMRI"
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Mentor: Timothy Duong (UTHSCSA)
"A structural analysis of twisted veins"
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Mentor: Hai-Chao Han
Willie Hale, Jr.
"That'll take them down a peg: Perceiving hypocrisy when threatened by others"
Mentor: David Pillow
October 10, 2013
By Christi Fish
Director of Communications
What is anger dysfunction? Who is at risk, and does it differ according to age, gender and culture? How can clinicians help patients struggling with anger?
These questions and others are examined in "Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations," a new book edited by UTSA clinical psychology scholar Ephrem Fernandez and published by Oxford University Press. The book, written for clinicians, researchers and students, examines the roots of dysfunctional anger, the variety of treatments available and the effectiveness of those treatments in particular populations.
Fernandez conceptualizes anger as a subjective feeling tied to perceived wrongdoing and a tendency to counter or redress that wrongdoing in ways that may range from resistance to retaliation. Apart from physical assault, perceived wrongdoing may be psychosocial as in insults, insensitivity, deception and betrayal, abandonment and rejection, breach of promise, ingratitude or exploitation.
"Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations" includes contributions from 29 anger management scientists and professionals across the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Collectively, the contributors examine treatments for anger related to trauma, combat and PTSD, substance abuse, intellectual disabilities, psychosis, borderline personality disorder, forensic settings and even road rage.
Treatments range from cognitive change to behavioral skills training to experiential psychotherapy. Fernandez points out the common ingredients in these scenarios as well as the unique features of these treatments. Also emphasized are the ways in which a patient's developmental stage, gender and culture are taken into account.
Fernandez notes that over the last few years, the topic of anger management has attracted interest in the mass media. More notable are the new developments in the science and application of anger treatment.
"The industry is now recognizing that, in many cases, dysfunctional anger is an underlying cause of many of the challenges patients face, so a thorough understanding of anger treatments is very beneficial, particularly in the clinical setting," said Fernandez. "It is our hope that this book helps clinicians, students and others understand that a variety of treatments are available to manage a patient's anger, and the best treatment may be one that takes the patient's developmental age, gender and culture into account."
Fernandez is a psychology scholar, consultant and practitioner who specializes in anger assessment and treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy, pain assessment and management, and psychosomatic processes. He has more than 70 scholarly publications. This is his third book. The others include "Anxiety, Depression and Anger in Pain: Research Findings and Clinical Options" and "Handbook of Pain Syndromes: Biopsychosocial Perspectives."
Fernandez joined the UTSA faculty in 2006 and currently serves as a professor of psychology. He has also held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University and the University of Queensland in Australia. Additionally, he has been a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, he has received teaching awards and delivered workshops and invited talks internationally.
Professor Ephrem Fernandez is available to speak about anger management. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210-458-5755 to schedule a talk.
Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations: Theory, Application, and Outcome, Edited by Ephrem Fernandez, UTSA Psychology Professor
Anger management has become a popular subject of selfhelp and entertainment, but until now no book has brought together the diversity and complexity of therapies used to treat anger in different populations.
Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations informs and instructs readers on empirically based regulation of anger in several clinical contexts including substance abuse, PTSD, the intellectually disabled, and borderline personality disorder. Chapters are devoted to developmentally, culturally, and gender-appropriate treatments of anger. An introductory chapter by the volume editor conceptualizes dysfunctional anger and offers a rationale for tailoring anger treatments to specific populations. In subsequent chapters, experts cover theory and research on the population and treatment of interest, findings on treatment efficacy, clinical procedure with reference to case vignettes, and emerging therapies. A concluding chapter identifies what is common and unique across anger treatments. This volume will be a valuable resource for clinicians, scholars, students, and researchers interested in anger.
October 2, 2013
Psychologists' research is pinpointing who is most at risk for drinking problems in college and developing more targeted, evidence-based interventions. The October issue of the APA Monitor includes a story featuring a video of Dr. Tina Zawacki's research at UTSA.
September 16, 2013
Academy of Management Journal will publish a paper co-authored by Dr. Daniel Beal, Associate Professor of Psychology.
Research Tidbit: Lunch Break Recovering or Fatiguing– Depends on How Much Control You Perceive to Have Over Your Lunch Break!
Lay wisdom suggests that socializing with others during your lunch break will replenish your energy, while continuing to work during the lunch break will deplete your energy. Not necessarily: it will depend on how much control you feel you have over your lunch break!
New research from Dr. Ivona Hideg (Wilfrid Laurier University), Dr. John Trougakos (University of Toronto), doctoral student Bonnie Cheng (University of Toronto) and Daniel Beal (University of Texas at San Antonio) shows that a key factor in whether employees’ lunch break activities are replenishing or fatiguing is whether employees perceive they have control over how their lunch breaks. The same activity we engage in during a lunch break may have opposite effects on our fatigue depending on whether we perceive that we had a choice over engaging in that activity or not. For example, this research showed that socializing or continuing to work during the lunch increased fatigue for employees who felt that they did not have a choice over their lunch break activities. By contrast, socializing and continuing to work reduced fatigue for employees who felt that they had a choice over their lunch break activities. This research has important implications for workplace and employees’ well-being, organizational culture, and HR practices and policies regarding lunch breaks.
Work recovery research has focused mainly on how after-work break activities help employees replenish their resources and reduce fatigue. Given that employees spend a considerable amount of time at work, understanding how they can replenish their resources during the workday is critical. Drawing on Ego Depletion (Muraven & Baumeister, 2000) and Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), we employed multisource experience sampling methods to test the effects of a critical boundary condition, employee lunch break autonomy, on the relation between lunch break activities and end-of-workday fatigue. Although specific energy-relevant activities had main effects on end-of-workday fatigue, each of these effects was moderated by the degree of autonomous choice associated with the break. Specifically, for activities that supported the psychological needs of relatedness and competence (i.e., social and work activities, respectively), as lunch break autonomy increased, effects switched from increasing fatigue to reducing fatigue. To the extent that lunch break activities involved relaxation, however, lunch break autonomy was only important when levels of relaxation were low. We conclude that lunch break autonomy plays a complex and pivotal role in conferring the potential energetic benefits of lunch break activities. Contributions to theory and practice are discussed.
Trougakos, J. P., Hideg, I., Cheng, B. H., & Beal, D. J. (forthcoming). Lunch breaks unpacked: The role of autonomy as a moderator of recovery during lunch. Academy of Management Journal.
The full article is forthcoming at the Academy of Management Journal.
September 9, 2013
Dr. Ephrem Fernandez, UTSA Professor of Psychology, was named one of four recipients of an International Initiative seed grant that fits into the wider plan to expand UTSA's global network. As part of this initiative, Dr. Fernandez is establishing research partnerships with faculty at two Australian universities. At present, the research deals with dysfunctional anger and comorbid problems in clinical populations including military personnel. This is intended to be a sustained effort with prospects for further national/international funding.
September 6, 2013
The Psychology Department is pleased to welcome our newest faculty member, Dr. Paul Romanowich. Dr. Romanowich received his PhD in experimental psychology in 2007 from UC San Diego, completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the UTHSC in San Antonio, and was previously an Assistant Professor of Psychology at California State University, Chico.
Dr. Romanowich has a strong record of research, publishing six peer-reviewed articles since 2007, five of which are first-authored. Most of these publications have centered on applying behavioral analysis methods to generate changes in health behaviors such as smoking abstinence. He has experience in applying for grants and currently has several under review. Dr. Romanowich has a great deal of teaching experience, primarily at the undergraduate level, but has also taught a graduate level survey course in psychology and supervised masters and honors thesis students.
September 5, 2013
Dr. Ray Lopez, a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded an SC13 Broader Engagement Program travel grant to attend the SC13 Supercomputing Conference in Denver, CO, from November 17 - 22.
The Broader Engagement (BE) Program’s goal is to increase the participation of individuals who have been traditionally under-represented in High Performance Computing (HPC). The program offers special activities to introduce, engage and support a diverse community in the conference and in HPC. The grants are competitive, and are available to support travel to and participation in the SC13 Technical Program.
Dr. Lopez has built neural networks to study the feedback mechanisms associated with motivated behaviors (e.g. hunger) and pain processing. His current research interests involve the use of massively parallel computer systems to simulate rudimentary consciousness in simple artificial life forms. The SC13 conference will allow Dr. Lopez to meet others in the field of supercomputing who are interested in simulating brain and behavioral activities.
September 2, 2013
News item in the San Antonio Express-News regarding the utility of Facebook in relationships includes an interview with Dr. Ray Lopez, Psychology Lecturer at UTSA.
August 21, 2013
Two-part podcast features UTSA professor, Dr. Ephrem Fernandez:
The Source: Working Free From Intimidation | Dealing With Anger
Anger can consume you, making it impossible to maintain relationships, hold a job, or function in society. Dr. Ephrem Fernandez edited "Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations," a new book on the subject of dealing with anger that comes out this month, and is a professor at UTSA. He joins us to talk about what the research shows and how people can deal with their anger. (second segment of podcast)
August 20, 2013
Alan Peterson, PhD, ABPP, is a board-certified clinical health psychologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Department of Psychology at UTSA. He was actively involved in the establishment of the Psychology PhD program at UTSA and teaches the core course in Military Health Psychology. Dr. Peterson continues to expand his expertise and San Antonio’s leadership in national efforts to help service members and veterans struggling with the psychological wounds of war. He is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who deployed while on active duty in support of Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. He is also director of the South Texas Research Organizational Network Guiding Studies on Trauma and Resilience, or STRONG STAR.
STRONG STAR is a multi-institutional and multidisciplinary research consortium led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Since its original funding with a $35 million grant from the Department of Defense in 2008, STRONG STAR has developed more than 20 studies focused on the detection, prevention, and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions in active duty service members and recently discharged veterans. The work involves the collaboration of over 100 expert civilian, military, and VA researchers and clinicians from more than 20 institutions, with studies ongoing primarily in the South and Central Texas areas.
Now, with the opportunity to build on the expertise and infrastructure already in place with STRONG STAR, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have announced the award of $45 million in funding to establish the STRONG STAR Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (STRONG STAR-CAP). Led by the UT Health Science Center and by the VA National Center for PTSD, this new consortium is part of a National Research Action Plan for Improving Access to Mental Health for Veterans, Service Members, and Military Families outlined by President Obama during his address to the Disabled American Veterans National Convention in Orlando, Florida in August 2013. Along with the new treatment studies for PTSD and co-occurring conditions that will be part of STRONG STAR-CAP’s research portfolio will be an increased emphasis on the biology and physiology of PTSD development and treatment response. Findings are expected to inform PTSD diagnosis, prognosis, prediction of treatment response, and new or improved prevention and treatment approaches.
The recent selection for funding of the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD brings the total DoD-funding for STRONG STAR to over $100 million. That will go a long way in helping an estimated 500,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who are believed to be at risk for PTSD and related conditions. It also will enhance the education and training of psychology PhD students at UTSA, who will have the opportunity to collaborate in various military health psychology research projects and interact with many of the nation’s top research investigators. For more information about STRONG STAR-CAP, visit www.strongstar.org.
July 29, 2013
Small Group Research has published "Member Awareness of Expertise, Information Sharing, Information Weighting, and Group Decision Making", a paper authored by Dr. Michael Baumann, Associate Professor of Psychology.
Groups who identify and make use of their experts drastically outperform groups who do not. Unfortunately groups aren’t very good at identifying their experts. This is a problem for many types of groups, including new groups and groups with changing membership. In such groups it is unlikely that all members know who the expert is, but it is possible that some subset of members knows. This led us to wonder how many members / what proportion of the group had to know who the expert was for the group to make optimal use of their expert. Our reading of the literature suggested a sudden shift in discussion and weighting might occur once a majority of members knew who the expert was. To test this, we assembled groups and had them perform a decision making task involving a fictional company. This allowed us to control what decision-relevant information each member knew prior to the start of discussion. In each group, we used that control to create an expert (i.e., one member with more information) and to manipulate the number of members aware of the expert’s identity prior to discussion.
We found that “who needed to know” the expert’s identity for the group to benefit from it depended on the benefit in question. The tipping point for improved discussion was half the group. Groups in which more than half the members knew who the expert was discussed the problem significantly more thoroughly than those in which half or fewer knew who the expert was. Things were more complex when it came to how groups use the information. Rather than one tipping point, the improvement appears to occurs in two steps. The first shift occurred when even one member entered discussion aware of expertise, and the second when a majority entered discussion that way. Interestingly, neither pattern was found for members’ ratings of expertise (i.e., explicit recognition).
These findings suggest not all members need to be aware who the expert is for the group to obtain the full benefits of recognition of expertise. They also raise the possibility that the processes leading to improved information sharing and weighting may differ from each other, and that explicit recognition may not be necessary for either.
The paper discussed above, “Member Awareness of Expertise, Information Sharing, Information Weighting, and Group Decision Making,” by Michael R. Baumann (UTSA) and Bryan L. Bonner (University of Utah) is forthcoming in Small Group Research and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.
July 9, 2013
The ThriveWell Cancer Foundation, a local foundation dedicated to cancer research and providing supportive care for patients and their families, recently announced the recipients of their Research 2013 Grant. Among the recipients are first year psychology doctoral student, Kristen Rosen, MPH, in collaboration with her research mentor, Jennifer Sharpe Potter, PhD, MPH, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio. The grant, titled "Using Mobile Technology to Enhance Supportive Care for Breast Cancer," will fund a one year study to build and pilot a theory-based mindfulness intervention using mobile health technology. The project was conceptualized by Ms. Rosen building on Dr. Potter's work on mindfulness and wellness as well as their shared interest in mobile technology. The aim of the intervention is to enhance quality of life among women in treatment or recovering from breast cancer by complementing the supportive care women receive through ThriveWell's DIVA nutrition and exercise programs. Designing the intervention in mobile form will enable women to take their skills with them, facilitate practice, and adopt wellness behaviors into their daily lives.
July 4, 2013
Journal of Applied Psychology publishes paper authored by Daniel Beal, Associate Professor of Psychology
Affect spin and the emotion regulation process at work.
Regulating emotions is one of the most depleting activities that customer service employees are asked to do, but not all employees get burned out by the end of an emotionally laborious day. In the current study, affect spin—the trait variability of an individual’s affective states—was hypothesized to increase strain and fatigue associated with emotion regulation, yet weaken the relation between recent strain and immediate fatigue. The authors examined these hypotheses in an experience sampling study of restaurant servers. Sixty-three servers completed surveys on 4 occasions during each of approximately 10 shifts (2,051 total surveys). Multilevel analyses supported the underlying model linking emotion regulation to fatigue at work as well as the hypothesized role of affect spin. Although affect spin reflects greater reactivity to affective events, it also provides some degree of a buffer from the fatiguing effects of these events. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
May 1, 2013
Dr. Tina Zawacki was selected in January 2013 to serve as an Associate Editor for Psychology of Women Quarterly (PWQ), the official journal for the American Psychological Association’s Division 35. PWQ is a scientific, peer-reviewed journal that publishes empirical research related to the psychology of women and gender. As an Associate Editor Dr. Zawacki manages the peer review of manuscripts submitted for publication and, with the Editor-in Chief, makes publication decisions.
March 1, 2013
Dr. Mary E. McNaughton-Cassill, Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, recently published a book titled, Mind the Gap, Coping with Stress in the Modern World. The book "explores the stress of modern life and how thoughts and feelings can both create and bridge the gap between what we have and what we want.
Unlike standard textbooks in the field that tend to take a theoretical approach to stress, this conversational, accessible book focuses on helping readers identify and understand the sources of stress in their life from a practical perspective. The text explores how stress is generated in the brain and body, and provides realistic suggestions for learning to manage these responses."
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