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Psychology is More than Clinical, New Professor Says

New social psychology professor Erinn Green hopes to introduce students to all the opportunities a psychology degree can bring.

Date: 11/3/2010
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Kim Burdett
As a new assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, Erinn Green wants her students to know there is more to the field than the obvious clinical route.

As a policy researcher, Green works with nonprofits to evaluate their best practices.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Erinn Green.
Assistant Professor of Psychology Erinn Green

“Say an organization wants to prevent teenage pregnancy. They’re getting money to do so but they don’t know for sure if they are actually preventing pregnancies,” Green says. “A lot of programs are very well-intentioned but don’t know if their long term outcomes are being met.”

So Green goes to the organization and evaluates all involved parties—board members, staff, donors and clients. As a neutral party, she collects data and evaluates the effectiveness of the program, then consults with the group to help them get better results.

Green first became interested in policy research when she came to the University of Cincinnati for her own graduate degree (PhD, ’05). When she started working with Steven Howe, psychology head, on his research about urban poverty, she knew program evaluation consulting would be a great way to help people without diving into the clinical side of the field.

“It’s inspiring to work with nonprofits because the employees have a passion for their jobs and really believe in their cause,” she says.

Green has consulted for a number of organizations, including the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency, Erie Community Foundation, Hamilton County Educational Services Center and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

One area of research she hopes to continue regards integration and stability of Cincinnati neighborhoods. Collaborating with a historian, she studied census data and held neighborhood forums to talk directly with the residents of Cincinnati neighborhoods that have successfully remained diverse for several decades.

“It was a really interesting study,” Green says. “Considering Cincinnati has such an identity of segregation, it was helpful to study the parts of the city that have integrated and are economically and socially stable places to live. All three neighborhoods that I studied (Madisonville, Pleasant Ridge and Northside) had an important lesson about diversity.”

Green has spent the past five years teaching as an assistant professor at Wilmington College, where she received numerous teaching awards and worked hard to introduce students to career possibilities in psychology. She hopes to continue that work at UC.

“One of the things I was able to do at Wilmington was involve students in research. Many students major in psychology because they want to help people, but the spots in clinical psychology graduate programs are very competitive. It’s difficult for most students to continue in that path, so I wanted to show them there are ways to help people other than being clinical psychologists.”

Read more about the Department of Psychology:

Psychologist Receives Award for Public Policy Contributions
Steve Howe was recognized by the APA for his work as a community psychologist.

UC Psychology Researcher Explores the Science of Emotional Intelligence
Gerry Matthews co-authors a book that receives national recognition for professional and scholarly excellence.

Embodied Cognition: Using Movement to Understand the Mind
Psychology professors look at movement to study communication and cognition.

Paying It Forward: Psych Professor Earns Philanthropic Grant
Farrah Jacquez will develop course that enables students to assess needs of CPS school and allocate money to help.

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