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SANCHEZ-HUCLES APPOINTED CHAIR OF THE PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Janis Sanchez-Hucles becomes chair of the Old Dominion University Department of Psychology on Monday, June 26, succeeding Barbara Winstead, who is stepping down after serving two, 3-year terms.

Sanchez-Hucles joined the university's faculty in 1979 and has received numerous awards and commendations for her teaching, research and scholarship in the areas of family life, women's issues, welfare reform and diversity/multiculturalism.

She has a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"One of my goals as chair is to build on the strong foundations laid by Dr. Winstead and other past leaders and colleagues," Sanchez-Hucles said. A specific goal for the coming year, she added, is to work with Richard Gregory, dean of the College of Sciences, to commission an external review of the department. That review, together with an internal examination of the departmental strategic plan, will "identify areas of selective excellence that will allow us to gain greater visibility for our faculty, students and programs as we move toward the university's goal of becoming a top 100 public research institution," she said.

Among her other goals: to form a departmental advisory board to expand employment and training opportunities for graduates; to establish new relationships with alumni; and to emphasize advising and mentoring.

"Our psychology department is strong and Barbara Winstead's work as chair is a big reason why," said Gregory. "We are fortunate to have in Janis a very capable person to assume this leadership position."

Sanchez-Hucles praised the leadership of Winstead, who oversaw the reorganization of the department's Ph.D. program to add a concentration in applied experimental psychology. "Under her, we gained increased visibility for our graduate programs and maintained excellence in meeting the needs of approximately 700 majors annually, which is up from fewer than 500 six years ago. Also, we became an even more collaborative, cohesive and productive department with respect to external funding, publications and professional service," the incoming chair said.

"I'm thrilled by her appointment," said Winstead, who sees Sanchez-Hucles as particularly qualified to spur progress in the department. "I'm most pleased by what we've been able to do to boost graduate programming, while at the same time handling growth in the undergraduate major," Winstead said. She noted that Sanchez-Hucles' experience and goals promise advancement in those same areas.

Winstead said she found the chair position to be rewarding, but also peculiar. "On one hand, there is a lot of power and influence that comes with being able to decide how money is spent and in doing evaluations of faculty. On the other hand, faculty are independent and autonomous-as they should be-and the chair has no authority to say, 'Do your job this way!' Being chair is like leading cats."

She returns to regular faculty status when she steps down, and she said she is eager to devote more time to teaching and research. "As chair, you are forced to put some things on the back burner," she explained. Winstead has a doctoral degree in personality psychology from Harvard.

Sanchez has taught undergraduate and graduate courses related to clinical psychology, personality, developmental psychology, psychology of women, African-American psychology and psychodynamic therapy. Her writing on welfare and work for women was background reading for U.S. Congressmen when they were mulling welfare reform. Her research findings have helped to shape violence-prevention programs in schools across the nation, and her contributions to the American Psychological Association Taskforce on Violence and the Family were collected in a monograph that is used nationally in shelters for battered women and children.

Also, her "The First Session with African Americans: A Step-by-Step Guide" is a guidebook for service providers and teachers.

Sanchez-Hucles has won the A. Rufus Tonelson Award, the top faculty honor given by the ODU Alumni Association; the Distinguished Service Award of the Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators; and the University Women's Caucus Award.

Her husband is Michael Hucles, ODU associate professor of history.

This article was posted on: June 15, 2006

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