Three psychologists receive 2010 APA Distinguished Service Awards

Prominent scientists are recognized for their service to the field

By Suzanne Wandersman

The American Psychological Association’s Board of Scientific Affairs has selected three psychologists to receive the 2010 Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science.  This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to psychological science through their commitment to a culture of service.  Such service may include participating on boards and committees of 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 to the public.

The recipients formally received their awards on November 13 at the APA Science Leadership Conference in Washington, DC.  They are:

Mark AppelbaumMark Appelbaum
University of California, San Diego

Mark Appelbaum was honored for his numerous leadership roles in editorial positions, in national research consortia, in extramural grant review, in advisory panels at the state and national level, and in the governance of professional organizations.  The roles he has taken on demonstrate his vision, dedication, and collaborative skills across the many forms of service that he has provided to psychology.

Dr. Appelbaum received his Ph.D. in 1968 from the University of Illinois in Quantitative Psychology with a concentration in Behavioral Statistics.  He was on the faculties of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Vanderbilt University and is currently a professor in the Department of Psychology at UCSD.  At UCSD he was the founding Associate Vice-Chancellor for Undergraduate Education.  He also served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Associate Dean for Experimental and Special Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His work has focused on the use of quantitative methods and data analytic approaches to the study of a wide range of problems encountered in psychology, medicine, and education.  In addition to his work on quantitative methods, Dr. Appelbaum has been highly involved in a number of substantive areas of research including major studies of non-maternal child-care, studies of health and human behavior, studies relating architecture of brain and mind, HIV transmission in at risk populations, and numerous studies of educational polices and outcomes.

Dr. Appelbaum was the founding editor of Psychological Methods and was editor of Psychological Bulletin.  He has served as president of APA Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics), has been a member of the executive committee of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences and of the governing council of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), and has served as chair of both the Publications Committee of the Association for Psychological Science and the Publications and Communications Board of the APA.   He has been a member of the SAT Board of the College Entrance Examination Board, and has been a grant reviewer and served on advisory panels at the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as participated in numerous other boards and advisory groups.  He has been honored previously for distinguished service contributions by the SRCD.

Morton Ann Gernsbacher Morton Ann Gernsbacher
University of Wisconsin

Morton Ann Gernsbacher was honored for the leadership roles she has taken in psychological science organizations and as an editor of psychological journals.  Her mentorship of many students and colleagues, her involvement in grant reviewing, her advocacy for psychological science with state and federal policymakers, and her activities promoting the value of psychological science in the media are all major contributions to the field.

Dr. Gernsbacher received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1983, and was an assistant, associate, and full professor at the University of Oregon, from 1983 to 1992, when she then joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she is a Vilas Research Professor and the Sir Frederic C. Bartlett Professor of Psychology. She is a fellow of APA Divisions 1, 3, and 6, the Association for Psychological Science, the American Educational Research Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has received a Research Career Development Award and a Senior Research Fellowship from the National Institutes of Health, a Fulbright Research Scholar Award, a James McKeen Cattell Foundation Fellowship, the George A. Miller Award, and a Professional Opportunities for Women Award from the National Science Foundation.  Her research focuses on language, communication, and cognition, including in people with autism.

Dr. Gernsbacher has served as President of the Association for Psychological Science (formerly the American Psychological Society), President of APA Division 3 (Experimental Psychology), Member-at-Large of the American Association for the Advancement in Science, chair of the APA Board of Scientific Affairs, chair of the Publications Committee of the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of the Governing Board of the Psychonomic Society. She is currently president of the FABBS (Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences) Foundation and a member of the Advisory Council for the National Science Foundation's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate.

Dr. Gernsbacher received in 1998 the Hilldale Award for Distinguished Professional Accomplishment, the highest award bestowed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty.  She has served as editor-in-chief of the journal, Memory & Cognition, co-editor of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, and associate editor of Cognitive Psychology, and has served on nine other editorial boards.

John HagenJohn Hagen
University of Michigan

John Hagen was honored for his service to his department and university and for serving as a mentor to many students, especially those from disadvantaged educational backgrounds.  His leadership roles at the Society for Research on Child Development and his involvement in the National Head Start Conferences have had a major influence on policymakers by educating them about the importance of research and its application to the health and education of young children. 

Dr. Hagen received his Ph.D. in 1965 at Stanford University.  He then joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he is currently research professor in the Center for Human Growth and Development and professor in the Department of Psychology.

The development of attention and memory became the particular focus of his work on individual differences, and he began applying a learning strategies model to children with mental retardation, chronic illnesses, and learning disabilities.  Later work branched into new areas, including children in foster care and positive development in college students. A major contribution has been his clarifying and refining circumstances and interventions that lead to facilitating development in children and youth.

Dr. Hagen has contributed to the University of Michigan in various leadership roles. He served for a decade as director of the Center for Human Growth and Development.  He also served as director of the University’s Reading and Learning Skills Center in addition to serving as chair of the developmental program in psychology.  He has played numerous roles for professional societies, including as the program chair for the 1983 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD).

His 18-year tenure as executive officer of SRCD began in 1989. During his leadership, there was a major transformation from a relatively small but prominent organization, highly dependent on the volunteer efforts of its members, to a much larger, more efficient organization.  A major advance in SRCD during Dr. Hagen’s tenure was the increasing emphasis on diversity. This came in many forms, including sustained support for issues of special concern to members from minority groups as well as fostering of research and theory on children and youth from all groups and backgrounds.  In 2007, Dr. Hagen returned full-time to his role as professor in the Department of Psychology, where he also served as chair of the Office of Student Academic Affairs for three years. As of January 2011, he will become professor emeritus at the University of Michigan where he will continue to pursue his scholarly interests.

Nominations for the 2011 awards are being accepted now until April 1, 2011.  For additional information, see the Distinguished Service Award webpage. Individual awardees receive an honorarium of $1000.


Nominations are also being accepted until April 1, 2011, for the related award for academic departments: the Departmental Award for Culture of Service in the Psychological Sciences.  This award recognizes departments that show a pattern of support for service from faculty at all levels, including a demonstration that service to the discipline is rewarded in faculty tenure and promotion.  Successful departments will also demonstrate that service to the profession is an integral part of training and mentoring.  Departmental awardees receive $5000 to be used to support departmental activities.  Further  information can be found at the award website.  (No departmental awards were made in 2010.)


Questions about both awards may be directed to Suzanne Wandersman.




Suzanne Wandersman is Director of Governance Affairs in the APA Science Directorate.