Current News

Contacting Our Psychology Advisor
As of 3/23/20 all students are required to send their emails to the following email address: Please use this address if you have questions for our academic advisor, Angelique Cook.  Thanks for your cooperation!

Dr. Ruthie Walker in the News!
See this link to an article on the 1 Million Women in STEM website featuring our very own, brand new Assistant Professor, Dr. Ruthie Walker! Apparently the folks at 1MWIS know that Psychology is a STEM science. 9.18.20

Hood and Silver Receive Funding
Congratulatons Dr. Ralph Hood and Dr. Chris Silver from the Doctoral Program in Learning and Leadership (LEAD), who, working with an international research team that includes Drs. Heinz Streib and Barbara Keller from Bielefeld University in Germany, received an additional $100,000 in funds as a project extension from the Templeton Foundation and the University of Bielefeld to last through December 2020.

This project is an ongoing collaboration between the UTC Department of Psychology and LEAD, headed by Dr. David Rausch. It is not typical for the Templeton Foundation to support extensions on international funded projects. However, the richness of the data collected thus far, and the 20-year long collaboration between international partners, helped secure this extension and additional funding on their current project. The team is seeking an additional multimillion dollar award for a three year extension, with matching funds provided by both UTC and the University of Bielefeld.

This award will allow business and research operations on the current project to continue, creating experiential learning opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students at UTC.

Congratulations Ralph and Chris!  9.18.20

Ozbek Becomes Emeritus
Congrulations to Dr. Nicky Ozbek on being officially designated as Professor Emeritus at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga! Dr. Ozbek
 joined UTC in the Fall of 1977 as an Assistant Professor of Psychology. She subsequently received tenure and promotion to the rank of Associate Professor in 1983 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1985.

Dr. Ozbek has served the department with distinction in many areas. She taught a wide variety of challenging courses, most of which were at the upper level, and received numerous teaching excellence awards. Generations of students benefitted from her knowledge and practical experience. She served as the coordinator of our discontinued MS Program in Clinical Psychology for seven years. Most notably, Dr. Ozbek served as Chair of our Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion Committee from 2005 until her retirement at the end of last semester. This was a particularly challenging role given the number of new faculty that have joined the department over the last 15 years.

Dr. Ozbek continues to be a very productive researcher, with dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles and conference presentations, including grant funded research. This includes her continuing work on olfaction and memory that has been funded by the William H. Wheeler Center for Odor Research.

In addition to her outstanding contributions to UTC, Dr. Ozbek is a practicing clinical psychologist who has enhanced the reputation of the department and UTC through her civic engagement and many memberships on institutional boards. Most notably, she recently served as the president of the Tennessee Psychological Association and served as the state representative to the American Psychological Association’s national council.  8.24.20


Our Dr. Chris Cunningham is receiving some local attention!  See UTC News Releases and associated story and video from WDEF about a study on resilience in the health care environment being conducted by Dr. Cunningham, and Dr. Mukta Panda, Professor and Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education at the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga. This study is supported by a Yium Foundation grant of over $100,000 and focuses on identifying techniques that help hospital workers avoid burnout.  7.29.20

Dr. Ralph Hood who, in collaboration with an international team including Dr. Heinz Streib from Bielefeld University, received $392,262 from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) for their study entitled “Consequences of the Development of Religious Styles over the Lifespan: Changes in the Symbolization of Transcendence and Responsiveness to the Strange.” The award is associated with a John Templeton Foundation grant that is set to be awarded in early 2021. This rather complex arrangement also includes support for and from the UTC Doctoral Program in Learning and Leadership (LEAD), headed by Dr. David Rausch. In addition to providing support for Dr. Hood and Dr. Chris Silver in LEAD, funding includes a post-doc, administrative support and graduate assistantships. 7.14.20

Psi Chi Recognized!

Congrats to the members of the UTC chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society for Psychology, for being designated a 2019-20 Psi Chi Model Chapter! UTC Psi Chi was one of only 23 (out of 1,180 chapters nationally) to receive this award which is intended to “recognize, designate, and reward healthy and active chapters who demonstrate communication and cooperation with their local communities, their own chapters, and the Psi Chi Central Office by completing the nine objectives” ( The award is accompanied by a $100 check and a  “custom certificate.” 😊 Congratulations to the officers and members of Psi Chi and their faculty sponsor, Dr. Preston Foerder, for this well-deserved recognition of their hard work and commitment! 7.13.20


Drs. Shelton and Arnold back resident bags for research project.An experiential learning project conducted by Dr. Jill Shelton and students in her Psychology of Aging class this summer includes kits being  delivered to the Summit View Senior Community. Dr. Shelton's students had collected a variety of items for activity kits for the 110 residents. Students either hand-delivered or shipped them to the Psychology Department.  New faculty member Dr. Tomorrow Arnold and Dr. O helped pack the bags!  See photos and read more.


Listen to Dr. Shelton talk more about the project on WUTC.

More great news! Psychology Research Masters student Jesse Leslie has received a $500 grant from the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University. The grant is to support his ongoing research with Dr. Ralph Hood of Psychology and Dr. Chris Silver of the UTC Learning and Leadership Doctoral program on the differential denial of the content of free speech among left and right wing authoritarians. This will also be the topic of Jesse’s master’s thesis. 7.6.20

Dr. Chris Cunningham has received a multi-year grant from the Yium Foundation in the amount of $99,484 to study how workers in hospital environments maintain a sense of meaning and motivation while working in a challenging environment. The Yium family has been directly involved in providing and supporting physical and mental healthcare in the Chattanooga community for decades. Additional tasks and funding related to this study will be managed by Dr. C’s co-PI, Dr. Mukta Panda, Professor and Assistant Dean for Medical Student Education at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine - Chattanooga, with whom Chris has been collaborating on research into stress, recovery, and the well-being of hospital workers and medical students for over ten years.  The funds will support a longitudinal survey and interview effort to begin this summer, provide lab equipment upgrades and participant incentives, and support a full-time graduate assistantship for the 2020-2021 academic year in addition to hourly funds for student workers. This project is an outgrowth of work supported by a faculty elevator pitch award that Dr. Cunningham received last year.   5.27.20

Dr. Hannah Osborn and Dr. Kristen Black have been awarded faculty grants for summer 2020! Dr. Osborn received $2,100 to support her study entitled “Investigating Factors Impacting Gender Differences in Attitudes toward the #MeToo Movement” which is designed to inform public perceptions of and attitudes toward #MeToo.  Dr. Black received $650 in faculty development funds to participate in a course on advanced methods in the R statistical package provided by the Consortium for the Advancement of Research Methods and Analysis (CARMA) which will enhance her skills as one of our primary statistics instructors at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. 5.22.20

Dr. Ashley Howell has received a prestigious Ruth S. Holmberg Grant for Faculty Excellence in the amount of $4,986 for her proposal entitled “Ensuring Early-Career Success: Supplemental Support for Extramurally Funded Research and Research Mentorship!” That is a mouthful, but it bodes well for continued development of external funding sources for Ashley, her students and the Psychology Department. 5.21.20

Zelin is Honored

Congratulations Dr. Alex Zelin for being named the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Mary Roth Walsh Teaching the Psychology of Women Award for 2020! This national teaching award is presented by APA Division 35, Psychology of Women, in memory of Dr. Mary Roth Walsh, the founder of the Teaching the Psychology of Women Institute and a pioneer in promoting the psychology of women, to “encourage junior faculty teaching the psychology of women or gender course and focuses particularly on teaching innovations.  In addition to receiving the award during the virtual APA conference in August, Dr. Zelin has also been asked to write an article about her award-winning course for publication in the Division 35 newsletter, The Feminist Psychologist
Read more!   5.18.20

Shout out to Students Receiving Dept Awards

Melissa Materia was named the recipient of the Ulrey K. Wilson award as the outstanding senior in Psychology for 2020! This award reflects the vote of faculty and staff in the UTC Department of Psychology recognizing students for outstanding academic achievements and contributions to the Department.  Dr. Ulrey K. Wilson was a Department Head in Psychology and a beloved teacher. 

Delaney Perry has been named the UTC Outstanding Senior in Psychology! This award reflects the vote of faculty and staff in the Department of Psychology recognizing outstanding academic achievements and contributions to the Department.

Psi Chi Inducts New Members

On the evening of March 2, the executive board of the UTC chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, inducted 37 new members into our chapter and the international society. These students all passed the society’s requirements for psychology coursework, major GPA, and overall GPA. We congratulate them all and thank Dr. Preston Foerder for his continued support of Psi Chi as its faculty advisor. 3.6.20

Talk to the Animals! Our very own Dr. Preston Foerder’s work with the Tennessee Aquarium and the Chattanooga Zoo is featured as part of the following article in the current issue of APA Monitor. Click on the giraffe for the link. 3.6.20


Researching the Hows and Whys of
Brain Changes Through Life

Read about the research being done by Dr. Jill Shelton and her students as featured in UTC News


Teaching and Learning Research Grant
Congrats to master's student Stephanie Wells and Dr. Jill Shelton for receiving a grant of $1,340 from the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Research Grant program for their proposal entitled Those Who Teach Can Do - Development of Professional Skills Through Undergraduate Teaching Experience.   1.6.20

Take a break :)  Enjoy a video made by first year Psych students!
Stats Guy (Bad Guy Parody)


Faculty receive awards for research and workshops. 

Good things continue to happen in the Psychology Department!

Drs. David Ferrier, Alex Zelin and Amanda Clark have all received Faculty Grants from the Provost's office.  Here are titles and amounts:

Dr. Ferrier - Social-Emotional Development and the Role of Teacher Socialization - $1,470

Dr. Zelin - The Effects of Sexism on Society - $1,500

Dr. Clark - Implementation of a Concussion Baseline Testing Protocol for Club Athletes - $1,199

Dr. Chris Cunningham has received $3,984 from Covenant Transportation for the project entitled, “UTC – Covenant Transport Critical Thinking Workshop.”

Dr. Ashley Howell has received $19,543 from the American Psychological Foundation for the project entitled, “Fear regulation, executive functioning, and child trauma exposure: A prospective study on psychological risk and resilience in youth.”  11.22.19

Department Head Eaten by Extinct Reptile.
Search for replacement to begin immediately!

T-Rex and Dr. O



Dr. O's Words to Live By: Always remember to live each day like it's your last day on earth. You never know when you might be eaten by a T-Rex . . .



Dr. Kristen Black has received a Faculty Pre-Tenure Enhancement Program (PREP) grant in the amount of $13,035 for her study entitled “Examining Stress as a Badge of Honor among Full-Time Employees."   The award includes funding for a student research assistant, participant incentives, and CARMA training in advanced statistical techniques. Congratulations Dr. Black! 10/31/19

Congratulations to Dr. Ralph Hood on receiving $120,000 from the John Templeton Foundation to pay copyright permissions for a major revision of his 1999 book entitled Measures of Religiosity, co-authored with Peter Hill. The revised two-volume book will be linked to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA), a massively funded Templeton project headed by researchers at Chapman University. Chapman University will continue to provide direct payment to six UTC Masters students, both I-O and Research, who are paid $30 an hour (up to a limit of $5,400 per year) to assess existing and proposed measures of religion and spirituality – for which they are acknowledged as author or co-author. 10.29.19

 Congratulations to Dr. Jill Shelton on her selection as a Fellow in the Psychonomic Society.

From their website: Established by the Psychonomic Society Governing Board in 2014, the Fellows program recognizes members who demonstrate clear evidence of independent scholarship, active engagement in methodologically rigorous and theoretically interesting high level research, and indications of an imminent national/international reputation for excellence in the psychological sciences. Fellows shall be persons who have demonstrated that they are well qualified to conduct and to supervise scientific research in psychology or allied sciences.  10/24/19

Dr. David Ferrier, Assistant Professor of Psychology, speaks at Stand Up Science!  Vist for comedian Shane Mauss' website for fun details! 10/17/19

Dr. David Ferrier