UCSC's Psychology Department wins national award for public service

The Psychology Department at UC Santa Cruz has won a prestigious national award from the American Psychological Association (APA) for service in the psychological sciences.

The APA's Board of Scientific Affairs created the award to recognize graduate and undergraduate departments that demonstrate a commitment to service in the psychological sciences. It includes a $5,000 prize.

"Your department exemplifies what a culture of service to the discipline should be, through its support of faculty serving on national boards and committees, editing journals, reviewing grant and research proposals, mentoring students and colleagues, participating on university committees, and making psychological science accessible to the general public," APA President Suzanne B. Johnson wrote to UCSC Psychology Department chair Avril Thorne in announcing the award.
"The Psychology Department is really pleased to receive this particular award because service is so critical to the well being of the profession and discipline, but is also time-consuming and often invisible," Thorne said.

"Many of our faculty serve as journal editors, assume major leadership roles in scholarly societies, and serve on key panels for scientific, educational, and public policy. We place a high degree of emphasis on public advocacy and the promotion of socially relevant psychological research.  We also promote a culture of service in our teaching and mentoring of students."

Each year, more than 200 UCSC psychology students work in local organizations as part of field studies, providing approximately 40,000 hours of service.

Psychology professor Eileen Zurbriggen, who wrote in support of the department's application, said the award "honors the entire department -- faculty, staff, undergraduate students, and graduate students. All four groups do so much to contribute to the department, the campus, the profession, and in mentoring and supporting each other."  

The APA also recognized the Department of Psychology at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine for service in 2012.