A Letter from the Chair

Lee AnnaLee Anna Clark

January 2018

“Change is the only constant in life” (Heraclitus, c. 535 BC – 475 BC)  

Ironically, another constant may be that change is constant, because this quote — more than 2,500 years old — well characterizes the Notre Dame Department of Psychology today. Looking back over just 2017 and just considering personnel changes: 

  • Four faculty achieved full professor status: James Brockmole, Chuck Crowell, Dawn Gondoli, and Nicole McNeil
  • Two long-time faculty members retired: Scott Maxwell and Jeanne Day
  • We welcomed Ross Jacobucci, a new assistant professor in the quantitative area 
  • A new cohort of 13 graduate students began their journey towards the Ph.D.
  • Eleven graduate students received their Ph.D. and went out into the world as assistant professors, postdoctoral fellows, data scientists, and a Navy lieutenant!
  • We welcomed two new administrative staff: Tammy Kaczor and Lacey Barroso.

My apologies to any others that I missed!  Of course, more than just personnel changed in 2017. For example, I wrote last year that we had taken initial steps toward establishing our own departmental psychological clinic, and I promised more news about that this year. True to my word, I’m delighted to report that the department’s incubator clinic has hatched into our fledgling Psychological Services Center, a nonprofit mental health service, training, and research center that serves the Notre Dame, South Bend, and surrounding communities. 

Services — which are free to members of the Notre Dame community and provided at low cost to all others — are provided by doctoral students in our clinical psychology graduate program area, closely supervised by licensed Notre Dame faculty members. They include individual, marital, and child and family therapy, and also adult and child assessments. 

Currently, not all services can be provided at all times due to personnel limitations, but going forward we hope to expand, and plans are underway for consolidating the various sites at which these services are offered into the department’s Clinical Studies Building (which currently houses two research labs), after the department’s move to Corbett Family Hall this summer. Look for updates in future newsletters!

Leaving the theme of change, I thought you might find it interesting to learn more about the department’s faculty.  First, we have 38 “regular” faculty, which includes: 

  • tenured and tenure-track faculty (34 — including Provost Tom Burish and Graduate School Dean Laura Carlson), research-track faculty (1), and special professional faculty (3).  

In addition, we have:  

  • five “concurrent” faculty — whose primary appointments are elsewhere at Notre Dame, but whose expertise includes psychology; they teach such courses as In Their Shoes: Understanding Mental Illness, and Social Factors and Sustainability: Effects of the Built Environment on Health and Well-Being, and Sport Psychology.   
  • a fairly large number of adjunct and visiting faculty, who primarily help with the department’s teaching needs, including graduate-student practicum supervision in the community, and
  • emeritus faculty, some of whom continue to teach or otherwise contribute to the intellectual life of the department and the University.

Drilling down a bit into the regular faculty, we have quite a few married couples in the department, some with overlapping research interests, though all also publish separately:

  • Brad Gibson (Cognition, Brain, and Behavior) and Dawn Gondoli (Developmental) work together researching adolescent attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder’s cognitive and socio-emotional underpinnings 
  • Nicole McNeil (CBB and Developmental) researches development of mathematical skills and understanding, whereas Gerald Haeffel (Clinical) studies how our cognitive interpretations of life events influence our emotions, particularly depression. 
  • Dan Lapsley (Developmental) and Darcia Narvaez (Developmental and CBB) have research interests that overlap in the area of moral development and character, leading to their co-editing several books.
  • Peggy Wang (Quantitative) specializes in longitudinal data analyses and has collaborated with many departmental faculty who collect multiple-time-point data, and Johnny Zhang (Quantitative) not only publishes articles, but also develops software that is widely used internationally, with hundreds of thousands of web-page visits.
  • David Watson (Clinical) and Lee Anna Clark (yours truly; Clinical) research the interconnection of personality traits and functioning with a wide range of psychopathology from fairly common problems, such as depression, substance use, and personality pathology to more rare phenomena, such as dissociation.

This letter is getting long, so I’ll sign off with a good-bye to Haggar Hall. Next spring, no doubt, I’ll be back to talking about change—big change: Our long-anticipated move to Corbett Family Hall.