URI psychology professors recognized for national success in their fields

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KINGSTON, R.I., — Feb. 20, 2013 – Two longtime and highly regarded psychology professors at the University of Rhode Island have received national recognition for accomplishments in their field.

Wayne F. Velicer, co-director of URI’s Cancer Prevention Research Center, is the 2013 recipient of the Samuel J. Messick Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from Division 5 of the American Psychological Association.

The award is presented every year to honor a person who has a long and distinguished history of scientific contributions in the Division 5 areas: assessment; evaluation; measurement; research methods, and statistics.

Velicer, of Wakefield, R.I., will receive the award at the 2013 annual convention of the American Psychological Association, to be held from July 31 through Aug. 4 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Messick was an American psychology professor who worked at the Educational Testing Service, which endows the award.

A URI professor for four decades, Velicer received his doctorate from Purdue University in 1972. He has published more than 275 papers on a variety of topics in Health Psychology and Behavioral Statistics.

His contributions include pioneering the use of computer-based intervention to improve health and prevent disease. He also helped create the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, an internationally acclaimed program that encourages people to change their behavior in stages.

Velicer has been principal investigator on more than $70 million in research grants. He was a contributing author to the 1990 Surgeon General’s report and is the editor of the research methods volume of the Handbook of Psychology. In 2000, he received URI’s Scholarly Excellence Award.

He also has been a visiting professor at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, the University of Limburg in The Netherlands, the University of New South Wales in Australia, and the University of Marburg in Germany.

In another honor for the URI, psychology professor Lisa L. Harlow, of Exeter, R.I., was recently appointed incoming editor of Psychological Methods, one of the most prestigious psychology journals in the country.

Her appointment follows two six-year terms as associate editor of the Structural Equation Modeling Journal and Psychological Methods journal. Psychological Methods publishes widely cited articles on collecting, analyzing, understanding, and interpreting psychological data.

Since 1996, Harlow has also served as the founding editor of the Multivariate Application Book Series, which has 20 published books that have sold more than 55,000 copies. In addition, Harlow is the co-director of Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups, a group of statistical psychologists that has helped more than 300 students from across the country learn how to make sense of psychological data. Harlow has also been distinguished as an American Psychological Association “Fellow” in four divisions: teaching, statistics, health, and international psychology.

URI has also recognized Harlow’s academic talents. She received the 2012 Foundation Scholarly Excellence Award and the 2012 Arts and Sciences Research Excellence Award. A URI professor since 1985, Harlow specializes in increasing interest, performance, and diversity in statistics and research methodology. She received her doctorate in measurement and psychometrics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

“We are delighted to see two outstanding professors of psychology recognized for their impressive and internationally acclaimed achievements in behavioral research,” said Winifred E. Brownell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “They are both academic superstars.”

Pictured above:

Wayne F. Velicer, co-director of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at the University of Rhode Island and a psychology professor.

Photo courtesy of Wayne F. Velicer

Lisa L. Harlow, a psychology professor at the University of Rhode Island.

URI Communications & Marketing photo by Nora Lewis.