Community Psychology program

Community Psychology Training program

Recipient of the 2013 Excellence in Education Award, from the Society for Community Research and Action, 1 of 4 programs in the nation to receive this prestigious award.

The Community Psychology Training Program is comprised of 3 separate but related components, which provide 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:

·         A Ph.D. specializing in Community Psychology, within the Health Psychology Ph.D. Program

·         A M.A. in Psychology specializing in Community Psychology

·         A Community Psychology Learning Community for undergraduate transfer students

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:

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

Community Psychology: Using the ‘Big Picture’ Perspective to Help People” in Eye on Psi Chi, by Pia Stanard

At all levels, our training program 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. 

For more information, contact Community Psychology program Faculty:

Jim Cook

Ph.D. 1975, Indiana University

My area of research within community psychology 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 early intervention programs within schools and helping child protective services improve their ability to meet the needs of children in foster care. Working with these programs, we help them increase their capacity to help families be successful and to help children thrive. We currently have funding from the Institute of Educational Science to help our local school system develop a greater capacity to collect, manage and use data, and to develop an enhanced coaching model using those data to increase the impact of their pre-kindergarten program.

Ryan Kilmer

Ph.D. 1999, University of Rochester

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

Ph.D., MBA, 2011, University of South Carolina

Individual wellness is linked to the well-being of our society, including the environments in which we live, work, and play. I am a community psychologist committed to social improvement. I believe social improvement efforts need to be of, by, and for the community.  My work involves collaborating with students, researchers, and community members to cultivate a more equitable, justice, healthy, and compassionate society. Using an ecological perspective nested in the fields of implementation and improvement science, my research team and I study the relationship between individuals and their environments to understand the complexity and determinants of individual and organizational improvement. What hinders, postpones, and propels improvement? How can we give research “feet” so that it can be more useful in community settings? Our laboratory is the real-world. Our work is highly applied and action-oriented. We take what we learn from research and give it back to the community to improve the status quo. Our broad mission is to promote collective wellness (i.e., wellness of all individuals and communities). Within this mission, we are particularly committed to reducing health disparities and promoting health equity. To learn more about us and our work, visit our webpage at

Dr. Andrew Case

Andrew Case

Ph.D. 2014, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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 see the program’s Facebook Page at: