Community Psychology program

Program recognized with Excellence in Education Award, Society for Community Research and Action, 2013

The Community Psychology Training Program at UNC Charlotte was recently recognized as the Outstanding Program in 2013 by the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA - Division 27 - Community Psychology - of the American Psychological Association). The "Excellence in Education Programs Award" recognizes "an exemplary undergraduate and/or graduate program that has innovative structures, strategies, and curricula that promote development of the field of community psychology and community research and action."  We are honored to receive this award.  See the award and the students and faculty present in Miami to receive it at:

The Community Psychology Training Program is comprised of 3 separate but related components, which support education in community psychology for students at different levels.  Each component is very applied in nature, helping students develop community based research and practice skills, which enable them to make a difference in their communities.  The 3 components are:

What is Community Psychology?

Social justice.    Action-oriented research.
  Global in nature.     Influencing public policy.
Working for empowerment.       Multidisciplinary in focus.
  Celebrating culture.               Preventing harm.
Behavior in context.               Social action.
  Supporting community strengths.   Reducing oppression.
Promoting well-being.           Scientific inquiry.
  Honoring human rights.           Respecting diversity.

For more information about Community Psychology see also:

Graduate Degree Overview: Community Psychology” at the Public Service Graduate Education Resource Center at

Or see:

Community Psychology: Using the ‘Big Picture’ Perspective to Help People” by Pia Stanard

Under the umbrella of the Health Psychology Ph. D. Program, the Community Psychology program offers graduate training which examines social and community factors that contribute to healthy outcomes in individuals, and develops community interventions to create stronger, healthier communities. Students develop applied research and intervention skills that enable them to effect change in settings and communities. With an emphasis on social justice and community partnerships, students work to improve the health and well-being of disenfranchised individuals and families.

Graduates choosing this emphasis are prepared to assume positions in universities, research institutes, government, nonprofits or other settings that require skills in applied research (e.g., program evaluation) and/or community intervention.

From the beginning of the program, students in the Community Psychology program become involved in applied community psychology research and intervention projects.

For more information, contact Community Psychology program Faculty:

Jim Cook

My area of research is community psychology, which focuses on changing systems and settings to better meet the needs of individuals and families. With a strong emphasis on community-based participatory research (CBPR), my faculty and student colleagues and I work with community groups as partners. Together, we develop research questions, collect data, and use the knowledge gained to improve the community. Examples of current partnerships (with Ryan Kilmer) include: evaluation of family support programs within school, public housing, and child protective services (CPS); evaluating initiatives to increase school readiness and skills among young children. Through working with these programs to evaluate their impact, we help them improve their ability to help children and families.

Ryan Kilmer

I am a child clinical-community psychologist and work with faculty and students on a host of applied research efforts in community psychology.  My interests include: (a) factors influencing the development of children at-risk for emotional, behavioral, and/or academic difficulties, particularly risk and resilience and youngsters’ adjustment to trauma; and (b) the use of research to guide service delivery, evaluate service and program effectiveness, and inform system change, program refinement, and policy.  I collaborate regularly with Jim Cook on work with a range of community partners reflecting different disciplines (e.g., mental health, education, health, child welfare). I have directed or co-directed NIH-funded projects involving children exposed to adversity and at-risk youth (i.e., Awards 1R03MH065596-01A2,1R03MH078197-01,1R21MH083088-01A1). , and co-direct a large-scale evaluation of the implementation and impact of a child mental health service delivery model, as well as evaluations of family support programs in mental health and child welfare contexts, and two community initiatives to increase school readiness. We have used project data from work with various populations with mental health needs to detail needs for services and supports (and the impact of unmet needs), frame recommendations for service system change, and discuss warranted policy modifications and their implications. 

Victoria Scott

As a community psychologist, I work across settings and ecological levels (e.g., individual, program,organizational, community) to promote collective wellness using strength-based approaches.  I have a background in clinical-community psychology and business, and particularly enjoy projects that involve interdisciplinary collaboration. My interests relate primarily to capacity building and the processes involved in spreading capacities across systems to elevate social impact. I am passionate about working with health care systems and community organizations. Currently my colleagues and I are working with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement on the Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation (SCALE) Initiative, a national effort to enhance the readiness and capabilities of communities for healthy outcomes.  My research team is also collaborating with the Kennedy Forum and Morehouse School of Medicine to develop an instrument for measuring and improving the readiness of organizations for integrating behavioral health and primary care.  Additionally, we are working in partnership Palmetto Health and the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Columbia to study the impact of frontline nurse engagement in quality improvement activities.  With a commitment toward bridging the gap between research and practice, we are continuously working to bring the fruits of our research into to hands of practitioners.

Dr. Andrew Case

Andrew Case

My research focuses on the psychology of marginality and resilience with specific attention given to the experiences of African Americans and Black immigrants. Through one line of inquiry, I examine marginality as a social-structural determinant of health and life outcomes, identifying the specific pathways through which minority status adversely impacts physical and psychological health in adults and educational attainment and justice system-involvement in youth. Through another line of inquiry, I examine how individuals collectively resist marginality and enhance their wellbeing. I use the Counterspaces Framework to identify settings (e.g., churches, cultural organizations) and the setting processes within them (e.g., narrative identity work, social support) that foster resilience to racial marginality. To better illuminate the transactions between these settings and the persons who participate in them, I routinely employ context-sensitive approaches and methodologies including PAR/CBPR, participant observation, document analysis, and interviewing. As a community psychologist I hold a deep commitment to transformation; ultimately, I seek to use my research and consultation activities to enhance the social-structural conditions that precipitate favorable outcomes for racial/ethnic minority individuals within health, education, and justice systems.

See Training in Community Psychology  for more information about the types of experiences available and the accomplishments of the Community Psychology faculty and students. 

Also find more information at