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Culture of Service Awards Presented to Newcombe, Balster, Davidson College and the University of Minnesota


By Suzanne Wandersman

Two psychologists and two academic institutions were honored with Culture of Service Awards during the December 2006 Science Leadership Conference. One award category honors psychological departments and the other individuals. The APA Board of Scientific Affairs (BSA) selected the recipients for the two awards. The Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences is new and was given for the first time this year to the Department of Psychology at Davidson College and to the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota.

Departmental Awards
The Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences recognizes departments that demonstrate a commitment to service in the psychological sciences. Departments are recognized for a pattern of support for service from faculty at all levels, including service to the discipline that is rewarded in faculty tenure and promotion. Departments also are recognized for demonstrating that service to the profession is an integral part of training and mentoring.

The Department of Psychology at Davidson College was honored for an awe-inspiring record of service to the discipline of psychology. The Psychology Department has nine faculty members and they are all committed to participating on discipline-related association boards, editing journals, reviewing grant and research proposals, assisting with the Institutional Review Board and Animal Care and Use Committee, mentoring students and colleagues, promoting the value of psychology to the public, and advocating for the relevance of psychology to public policy issues. The faculty in the psychology department nurtures a warmth and spirit of giving. Students rate their professors as outstanding teachers, and approachable, supportive, kind, and inspiring mentors. The Department of Psychology at Davidson College is a dedicated group of scholars who give back to their professional organizations and who effectively model service to their colleagues and generations of undergraduates.

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Davidson College was founded in 1837 by Presbyterians with the goal of providing rigorous undergraduate education in a versatile liberal arts environment. The Department of Psychology was officially established in 1948 and its mission statement is divided into two parts: to provide students with an excellent education in psychology, and to provide a climate for faculty to contribute to their field and to grow professionally. Faculty members make important service contributions to the College, the students, the broader community, and to the psychology profession.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota was selected for the second departmental award, for an impressive and inspiring record of service to the discipline of psychology, to its professional and scientific organizations, to its research and scholarly infrastructure, and to the larger society. The Department's commitment to a culture of service is explicit in its constitution, in its promotion and tenure policies, and in the annual reviews of faculty performance. All faculty members have membership in two or more professional associations with many serving as elected officials in those organizations and/or serving on committees and task forces. Many faculty have dedicated about 40% of their time to journal editorial service, including editorships, associate editorships, and reviews. Faculty service at the national and international level includes government advisory panels and grant review committees. Members of the Department are proud to have received 29 awards from a variety of organizations for outstanding teaching and mentoring. It is extraordinary that 39 core faculty members have made over 1,000 different service contributions, for an average of 37 per faculty member. The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota has a strong and vigorous culture of service and the products of this culture have made major contributions to the discipline.

The Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota was established in 1919 with the goal of creating a program that would produce a superior "Minnesota psychologist" recognizable by anyone familiar with the field of psychology. Today, the department's goals are to provide strong undergraduate and graduate programs, and to encourage research that will advance the field of psychology and contribute to society. The large department of 42 full-time faculty are committed to a culture of service and seek opportunities to contribute to the profession.

Individual Awards
The Awards for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science were presented to Nora Newcombe and Robert Balster. These awards recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their commitment to a culture of service. These two individuals have certainly demonstrated their service to the discipline by aiding in association governance; serving on boards, committees, and various psychological associations; editing journals; reviewing grant proposals; mentoring students and colleagues; advocating for psychological science with state and federal lawmakers; and promoting the value of psychological science in the public eye.

Nora Newcombe was selected for her record of extraordinary service and leadership in psychological science. Her influence and leadership in the fields of psychology and developmental and cognitive science are significant. She has held important leadership positions in professional organizations. She has served on grant review committees and government advisory panels. Dr. Newcombe has made contributions in the area of journal editing, allowing her to forge collaborative relationships. She has been a visionary leader and advocate for the role of psychological science in society by helping to inform public policy debate through scientific data. She has testified eloquently before Congress on a number of occasions, with far-reaching effects. She epitomizes the scholar--teacher--service model, she is admired and respected by her colleagues, and stands out in her service to psychology.

Dr. Newcombe is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Temple University where she is also the James H. Glackin Distinguished Faculty Fellow. Her research focuses on memory in early childhood, the development of spatial cognition, individual differences in spatial ability, educational applications of these interests and of cognitive research more generally. Dr. Newcombe has served as Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (1996-2001). She was Associate Editor of Psychological Bulletin (1990-94) and continues to serve as Consulting Editor for numerous journals including: Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Cognition and Development, Psychological Science, and Perspectives on Psychological Science. She currently serves as a reviewer on the Developmental and Learning Sciences Advisory Panel at the National Science Foundation (NSF), and has participated in numerous other review panels at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NSF throughout her career. Dr. Newcombe has been active in a variety of societies. She served as President of Division 7 (Developmental) and Chair of the APA Council of Editors. She is a member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society, a committee member of the Women in Cognitive Science group, and an active member of Section J (psychology) at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Bob Balster was selected for his extraordinary service to the psychological sciences. His service to psychology and psychopharmacology throughout his academic career has been broad and significant. Dr. Balster has held key leadership positions in professional psychological and psychopharmacological organizations, including the APA. He has served on numerous governmental advisory panels and grant review committees, and serves as editor and on editorial boards of several psychopharmacological journals. Dr. Balster has also served the field through his teaching and mentoring of students, many of whom have gone on to become national leaders in the field. These and other service activities to the psychological sciences, his kind demeanor, and his ability to listen to others have gained him the widespread respect and appreciation that he richly deserves by those in his field.

Bob Balster is currently Luther A. Butler Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Director of the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). His research focuses on neurobehavioral pharmacology and substance abuse. He is actively involved in the area of drug abuse policy, having testified before Congress and the Virginia General Assembly. He also has served as the Public Policy Officer for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) to help ensure the development of science-based treatment and prevention. He is currently Editor-in-Chief of Drug and Alcohol Dependence and serves on the editorial boards of Behavioral Pharmacology and Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. His positions of leadership include President of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), Chair of the FDA Drug Abuse Advisory Committee, and Chair of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs. He is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Research Network on the Etiology of Tobacco Dependence. He is an active member of APA, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and the Society for the Stimulus Properties of Drugs, as well as a member of eight other scientific societies.

Nominations for the 2007 awards will be accepted beginning in the spring. For additional information, please visit APA's Psychological Science Agenda.