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School Psychology Expert Carlson Named Chair of Educational Psychology

School psychology expert Cindy I. Carlson has been named chair of the Department of Educational Psychology in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, with the appointment taking effect Sept. 1.

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School psychology expert Cindy I. Carlson has been named chair of the Department of Educational Psychology in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, with the appointment taking effect Sept. 1.

Dr. Edmund Emmer was the previous chair, having been in that position since 1998.

Carlson, who has been with the College of Education since 1982, is a Fellow in the Cissy McDaniel Parker Fellow Fund and was A.M. Aiken Regents Chair in Junior and Community College Education Leadership from 2005-07.

She obtained her bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in 1971 and her master’s and doctor’s degrees from Indiana University in 1978 and 1982, respectively. Since joining The University of Texas at Austin, she has held appointments in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the College of Communication, been named a Notable Scholar by the University of British Columbia, been a graduate adviser in the Department of Educational Psychology and been chair of the department’s School Psychology Program.

Carlson has authored two influential books in her field — the “Handbook of Family-School Intervention: A Systems Perspective” and “Family Assessment: A Guide for Researchers and Practitioners” — and authored or co-authored about 30 book chapters and more than 30 journal articles. She also has been on the editorial boards of the Journal of Family Psychology, School Psychology Quarterly, School Psychology Review, Professional School Psychology and American Journal of Family Therapy.

She has been involved in professional organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA), holding numerous leadership positions such as president for the school psychology and family psychology divisions of the APA. Among her many honors and awards, Carlson received Distinguished Service Awards from the family psychology and school psychology divisions of the APA and was named a Fellow in those two divisions. In 2005, she also was named an outstanding graduate adviser by The University of Texas at Austin.

Carlson has received major funding for her research on how family processes influence children’s behavior and achievement at school, and on peer relationships among diverse student groups. Most recently, she received a $369,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to train graduate psychology students in integrated health care for children, adolescents and families.

Three graduate students will enter the training program this year, with three students being added to the program each year for the next three years.

“It’s so exciting to have received this Graduate Psychology Education Program award,” said Carlson. “I believe this may be the first award in the nation to focus training efforts on school psychology doctoral students, along with their counseling and clinical psychology peers. The training will prepare them to deliver bilingual psychological services to underserved children and adolescents in integrated health care settings. ‘Integrated health care’ at the community level refers to various health professionals working together in a single setting and in a coordinated manner to permit treatment of the whole person — that is, the mental and the physical simultaneously.

“Federal support for training has been offered for a long time to students who are preparing to be doctors and dentists, for example, but funding hasn’t been available for the training of psychologists until recently. I am hopeful this award will result in better linkages between the hospital, the clinic and the school settings.”

Regarding her goals as the new chair of one of the top-ranked educational psychology departments in the nation, Carlson said, “I think that weathering the financial storm is going to be a priority, by necessity, and I’ll be focusing on maintaining the high quality of our programs amidst serious economic challenges. I’m going to be working very hard to increase the external funding within our department so that our scholarship, teaching and student experiences remain at an ‘A’ level.”