Loyola University Maryland


From the Department Chair’s Desk: Living Out the Jesuit Mission

Carolyn Barry, PhD, arms crossed and smiling confident while on Loyola University Maryland's Quad.

By Carolyn Barry, Ph.D., Dept Chair and Professor of Psychology

Back in the winter of 2001 when I applied to work at Loyola, I spent a day writing an essay about how my teaching, research, and service experiences would connect to the Jesuit, Catholic mission of Loyola. I poured over stacks of college brochures and catalogues to learn about Loyola. By the end of that day I was convinced that Loyola was my dream job, and was delighted to be offered a tenure-track position a few weeks later. Although much has changed over my years in Loyola’s Psychology Department (students, colleagues, campus buildings, types of crackers offered with coveted crab dip at university functions, etc.), Loyola’s emphasis on high-quality teaching, close faculty-student mentorship, care for the whole person, and promotion to social justice through the Jesuit tradition has only deepened over time, from my vantage point. As I walk through the halls of the department or tables at Starbucks, I encounter my colleagues often working on statistical analyses with a colleague or student coauthor, helping students with a challenging course concept, or reviewing materials for a university committee meeting. Not surprisingly, my colleagues have received many accolades as successful teachers, mentors, and scholars. Just this past year, Dr. Mary Jo Coiro received the Maryland Psychological Association Graduate Student Association Mentoring Award in Spring 2018, joining the ranks of many of my departmental colleagues who have received this award in past years. Moreover, this past year Drs. Marianna Carlucci and Frank Golom received a highly commended paper award from Emerald Publishing for their 2016 article in Journal of Aggression, Conflict, and Peace Research on juror perceptions of female-female sexual harassment. Just this summer, Dr. Diana Betz received a $2,000 grant from The Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues for her study on Defensiveness and self-affirmation in reactions to information about sexual assault. At the Loyola Clinical Centers, Drs. Becky Zukowski (Executive Director) and Hadley Cornell (Psychology Division Director) just received $15,000 from CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield for their project, “Supporting Access to Behavioral Health Services for Low Income Children, Adults and Families.” While Loyola is a place, to me it is the people who I have encountered here that make the place, and my colleagues are exemplary in every way.

This fall we welcome both returning and new students. Under the leadership of Dr. Theresa DiDonato, the undergraduate program will continue to offer a variety of courses, including two new research seminar courses on sleep (taught by Dr. Amy Wolfson) and stereotypes and prejudice (taught by Dr. Diana Betz). Students pursuing departmental honors in psychology may choose such courses as part of their two-semester sequence, or a two-semester field experiences (and now both courses count towards graduation). Continuing our new undergraduate advising that supplements students’ major academic advisor with a Director of Psychology Major Student Development, Professor Patrick LoPresto for registration advising, students are further supported in making intentional choices in their curriculum to promote their vocational discernment.

Of particular mention, we have reconfigured our master’s program to be a full-time, cohort-based Clinical Professional Counseling Program complete with extensive practica and externship experiences that is focused training students for master’s level licensure. Dr. Katie Loomis serves as the program’s director. A master’s and doctoral alumnus of Loyola, Dr. Loomis adds this new title to her existing position as Director of Undergraduate and Master’s Field Experience.

Under the leadership of Dr. Heather Lyons, the doctoral program continues to strengthen its commitment to diversity, consistent with our Jesuit mission through multicultural trainings for faculty and students, as well as the infusion of service-learning in several graduate courses. For the second year in a row, our doctoral students matched in Phase I to APA accredited sites in a large variety of sites throughout the U.S. Moreover, our alumni continue to pass the national licensure exam at exceptionally high rates (91.67% from the most recently recorded period from February 2015 to March 2016).

Our psychology students are taking to heart the Jesuit mission through their intellectual curiosity and community partnerships through service-learning, field experiences, practica, and externships experiences. As shown throughout our highlights, our alumni are employed in a variety of settings living out their Jesuit training in meaningful ways. Our students’ passion for mission continues to strengthen my colleagues and my own commitment to our Jesuit mission each day.

Knekiya Harper


Knekiya says she found everything she wanted at Loyola: the training to become a mental health therapist, hands-on counseling experience, and the chance to be a mentor