Psychology professor to receive Virginia's highest honor for faculty members

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The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia has named Albert Farrell, Ph.D., a Virginia Commonwealth University psychology professor and director of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, as a recipient of a 2015 Outstanding Faculty Award.

The awards, which are the highest honor for faculty at Virginia's public and private colleges and universities, recognize superior accomplishments in teaching, research and public service.

"It means a great deal to me to receive this honor. I greatly appreciated the support of my colleagues that nominated me and am proud that VCU selected me as one of their nominees," Farrell said. "It is a particularly meaningful award for me as it is based on the extent to which my work embodies the mission and values of the university. I have been here a long time – 34 years – and closely identify with VCU."

Farrell is one of 13 professors from across Virginia who will receive the award, which is administered by SCHEV and sponsored by Dominion, at a ceremony in February.

"Dr. Farrell is a beloved teacher and mentor, a prolific and nationally recognized researcher, and a tireless advocate for youth in our community and around the nation," said John M. Wiencek, Ph.D., VCU's interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. "We are both proud and honored that he has chosen to spend his impressive career at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is most deserving of this prestigious award."

Farrell, a professor in the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, was the founder in 2005 of the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development, which brings together faculty from across VCU to collaborate on projects that promote the positive development of young people – including projects focused on reducing bullying and boosting the academic performance of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

"This work is all done in collaboration with local public school systems and other community agencies," Farrell said. "It provides training opportunities for VCU undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. I find it an extremely rewarding and intellectually stimulating environment."

The institute is one of only six National Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention, which are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In collaborating with his fellow Clark-Hill Institute faculty members, Farrell has contributed to several large research projects that have received national attention.

Jim Coleman, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences, wrote as part of Farrell's nomination that he "exemplifies what it means to be an outstanding faculty member."

"He has excelled in every aspect of the faculty mission of research excellence, teaching and service," Coleman wrote. "His empirically supported model for youth violence prevention is considered the gold standard by psychologists, as evidenced by his publication and grant funding record, and for the impact his work has had on the lives of adolescents."

Farrell joined VCU in 1980. It was his first faculty position, after receiving his Ph.D. and master's degree in psychological sciences from Purdue University, as well as an undergraduate degree in psychology from Michigan State University.

At VCU, Farrell said he has taken pride in the success of the doctoral students he has worked with in the Department of Psychology.

"It has been particularly rewarding to see them move on to take postdoctoral positions and faculty positions at other universities," he said.


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