OSU appoints Kathryn Becker-Blease director of the School of Psychological Science


Kathryn Becker-Blease (contributed photo)

Associate Professor of Psychology Kathryn Becker-Blease has been named director of the School of Psychological Science in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.

Becker-Blease began her career at OSU in 2009. She has focused her research on collaborative, applied research aimed at improving education, community health and social justice.

“Dr. Becker-Blease’s expertise fits perfectly with the university’s mission to foster diversity, inclusion and excellence,” said Larry Rodgers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “Her applied research exemplifies the land grant ideal of empowering Oregonians through education. Her collaborations in the realm of both childhood trauma and education have made a difference on campus and in communities throughout the state.”

The School of Psychological Science houses OSU’s undergraduate psychology major (the seventh largest on campus), an undergraduate Ecampus major, a Ph.D. program that launched in 2016 and the Contemplative Studies Institute. The school also offers an undergraduate degree at OSU-Cascades in Bend.

SPS has nearly 30 faculty who serve more than 1,000 psychology majors, minors and graduate students. SPS faculty have distinguished themselves not only for conducting collaborative, applied research in communities around the world, but for maintaining an exceptional focus on undergraduate success within their labs and programs.

Becker-Blease earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. There, she completed a National Institute of Mental Health pre-doctoral fellowship in the area of development and psychopathology, and went on to a NIMH post-doctoral fellowship at the Crimes Against Children Research Center/Family Research Lab at the University of New Hampshire.

At OSU, Becker-Blease’s lab employs pre-med, pre-pharmacy, communication and psychology undergraduate and graduate students to work with campus and community partners to translate basic psychology research into real world applications.

“In one line of research, undergraduate students are collaborating with the Sexual Assault Resource Center on campus to better understand the needs of students who experience interpersonal violence, and create trauma-informed communications, procedures, and supports,” Becker-Blease said.

Becker-Blease has published extensively on trauma in childhood and emerging adulthood, as well as the ethics and best practices of teaching that subject.

With NSF funding, she has worked with community and small liberal arts colleges in Oregon to create better practices and tools for teaching baccalaureate core general psychology courses to all majors across the state. She also teaches graduate students in psychology and across campus how to teach effectively using the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning to benefit both graduate and undergraduate education at OSU. Becker-Blease also serves as the university’s program lead in psychology for a $515,000 grant from the Association of Public Land Grant Universities to support accelerated adoption of adaptive courseware and personalized learning systems in undergraduate courses.

“I am looking forward to serving as the director of the School of Psychological Science at this exciting time,” said Becker-Blease. “Our unique emphasis on science that works in communities opens up many possibilities for future research, education and outreach.”

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