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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
December 7, 2016
Canadian Excellence





Bio: The Man Behind the CV

I grew up on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s, back when the Prudential building was the tallest skyscraper in the city. My family moved "downstate" to central Illinois where I lived in the 1960s. I attended the University of Illinois as an undergraduate from 1968 to 1972. This was the era of the Vietnam War and my friends and I were involved in anti-war protests. I was in the first class of students to take a new course in community psychology that was introduced by Julian Rappaport, one of the founders and key figures in community psychology. Sometimes people take a course in university that makes a life long impression and serves as a turning point in one's life journey. That's what happened to me. I resonated to the readings, the lectures, and my practicum experience working in a Head Start program for disadvantaged preschool children. This course brought together my interest in psychology, mental health, and working with people and my views about politics and the need for social change.

Just after getting married In 1972, my wife Judy and I moved to Canada, where I began graduate studies in clinical psychology at the University of Manitoba. In addition to course work in clinical psychology, I pursued my interest in community psychology through courses in community psychology, program evaluation, crisis intervention, political psychology, and social policy, and through employment and practicum placements, including conducting research and doing front-line work with a storefront community health clinic and crisis intervention centre, consulting with resident advisory groups to promote citizen participation in city government, and helping to create community mental health programs in rural areas in southern Manitoba. From 1976-77, I completed a one-year predoctoral internship at the Mendota Mental Health Institute, which was a very progressive mental health setting in Madison, Wisconsin that emphasized research and community approaches to intervention.

We moved to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario in 1979, when I was offered a faculty position in the Community Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University. This position has been a very good "fit" for me. I have had the good fortune to work with colleagues and graduate students in community psychology and community members, with whom I share many values, experiences, and interests. I have served as the Director of the M.A. program in Community Psychology at Laurier and as Senior Editor of the Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health.

Outside of work, I enjoy family life, travel, reading, music, and sports (basketball and tennis, I remain a faithful fan of the Fighting Illini basketball team of my alma mater, the University of Illinois).

Over the past decade or so, I have become increasingly concerned about the growing power of transnational corporations and the impacts that this trend is having on global economic inequality, democracy, the environment, and the diminishing role of the state in providing social policies that promote human welfare. These larger global issues are having an enormous impact on the issues, people, and interventions that are the concern of community psychology. I believe that education about these issues, civic participation, and political action must become part of the mainstream of community psychology.