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Celebration honors 100 years of UND Psychology

PsyCentennial marks three separate milestones for UND’s 100-year-old Department of Psychology

The University of North Dakota’s Department of Psychology is celebrating 100 years of academic excellence and two other monumental milestones for its PsyCentennial Celebration on Saturday, April 15.

Besides the 100th anniversary, the event will also honor the 50th anniversary of the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program and the 30th for the department’s Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education program, better known as INPSYDE.

An open house will be held in Columbia Hall from 1 to 4 p.m. featuring a research showcase, tours of clinical and research spaces and the chance to visit with faculty, staff, students and alumni of UND Psychology.

An evening celebration at the Memorial Union will follow the open house, from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, featuring dinner, dancing and a “rousing roast” honoring Tom Petros, a longtime faculty member and Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor.

Joelle Ruthig, professor and department chair, said she is looking forward to giving people a chance to catch up with former professors, colleagues and classmates while also seeing what’s new in the department.

“We’re showcasing ongoing research from our undergraduate program, as well as the forensic, experimental and clinical graduate programs,” Ruthig said. “And we’re inviting everyone to tour our department, integrated clinic and research center within Columbia Hall.

“There have been a lot of changes over the past 100 years.”

A long way since 1923

Housed in the College of Arts & Sciences for the span of its history, the department has called a few buildings home since 1923, including its original location in Woodworth Hall until 1949. Its longest residence was in Corwin Larimore Hall from 1983 to 2017, when the department was moved to Columbia Hall, Ruthig said.

Today, the Department of Psychology administers both B.A. and B.S. tracks for undergraduate psychology, as well as graduate programs in Clinical, General-Experimental and Forensic Psychology.

Nearly 500 undergraduate majors and more than 300 minors are enrolled in the department today.

“Our faculty consistently demonstrate exemplary teaching and professional training,” Ruthig said. “Their student evaluations are among the highest in the College of Arts & Sciences, they are regularly nominated for outstanding teaching awards and several have recently received awards for excellence in teaching.”

The department’s highly successful forensic program offers both a M.S. and M.A. in forensic psychology. The program currently enrolls more than 140 students, and the online program is consistently rated as one of the top online forensic programs in the U.S.

The Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program has enjoyed more than 50 years of uninterrupted national accreditation by the American Psychological Association and has attracted students from across the country said Joseph Miller, director of clinical training. More than a quarter of all licensed psychologists in North Dakota graduated from this doctoral program.

For more than 90 years, the Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program has produced experimental psychologists for the private sector and academia with students and faculty conducting cutting-edge research funded from agencies including the Department of Defense, National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

And INPSYDE has recruited, trained and graduated more American Indian clinical psychologists than any APA-accredited clinical program in history. It’s the flagship of three such programs currently authorized by Congress, according to Doug McDonald, director of the INPSYDE program.

Funded by the Indian Health Service, INPSYDE attracts students from tribes nationwide. American Indian students in the program have comprised more than one third of the UND graduate clinical student cohort since its inception.

More directly serving the Grand Forks region is the Northern Prairie Community Clinic, which plays a vital role in providing psychological services to residents as well as in training future psychologists. The clinic’s telehealth services allow rural residents across North Dakota to access services that would otherwise not be available.

And each year, since 2001, the Department of Psychology hosts the Northern Lights Psychology Conference, which brings to campus some of the most distinguished psychologists in the world including Albert Bandura, Elizabeth Loftus, Phillip Zimbardo, David Buss and multiple past presidents of the American Psychological Association.