Frank C. Worrell Honored for Contributions to School Psychology

February 16, 2017

Professor FRANK C. WORRELL, director of the GSE’s School Psychology Program for more than a decade, has received the 2016 Nadine M. Lambert Outstanding School Psychologist Award.

The award holds special meaning for Worrell, who was recruited to attend Berkeley’s doctoral program by Lambert in the late 1980s. 

"Her advice on my research and on navigating academia has contributed to my success as a scholar,” Worrell said. “Nadine’s contributions to school psychology at the state, national, and international levels continue to resonate and I am truly honored to be a part of her legacy."

The Lambert award is sponsored by the California Association of School Psychologists (CASP), and is given to school psychology leaders in each of the association’s 10 regions throughout the state. 

"It’s great to see Frank being honored by his professional colleagues," said GSE Dean Prudence L. Carter. "He has fostered a program that allows our students to dig deep into research, and have a breadth of practical experience found only at Berkeley." 

Worrell earned his doctorate from Berkeley in 1994, and became director of the School Psychology program in 2004. The program is known for its emphasis on the integration of science and practice, and focus on prevention.

"Nadine taught me a lot of things. One of the lessons that she stressed and built into the program was that school psychology should not only serve students with special needs, but also should serve the entire school community: students, parents, families, teachers, and administrators," Worrell said. 

"As an advisor, she also highlighted the importance of having a research agenda rather than conducting a set of individual studies. This lesson is one that I try to pass on to my students."

Worrell is also aware that the changing demographics of students and communities underscores the need for school psychologists to pay attention to other subfields of psychology.

"Although school psychology has used behavioral and developmental psychology a lot, becoming more familiar with social psychology and cultural and ethnic minority psychology will allow school psychologists to better serve the students and teachers in today’s schools," he said.

Additionally, the recent divisive presidential election will create a larger demand for school psychologists.

"Typically, national elections do not have profound psychological impacts in schools, especially elementary schools. But the current one has, in part due to the broad availability of information through electronic and social media and the pervasive use of slurs, insults, and threats has resulted in profound psychological distress in K-12 students.

"To the extent that these types of tactics continue, the need for school psychologists will increase as they will have to help alleviate anxiety and fear, and promote pro-social behavior and tolerance for diversity," Worrell said.

Read Prof. Frank C. Worrell’s biography here.

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