On a hill overlooking the shores of Lake Champlain, at the foot of the Green Mountains, the University of Vermont combines faculty-student relationships most commonly found in a small liberal arts college with the resources of a major research university. The university is currently home to 7,600 undergraduates, 1,100 graduate students, 394 medical students, and more than 1,157 full- and part-time faculty. Student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Sponsored awards received by the university in fiscal year 2003 totaled over $115 million.
The University of Vermont was founded in 1791. Its everyday designation as “UVM” derives from its Latin name Universitas Viridis Montis – University of the Green Mountains. It is likely that the study of psychology began shortly thereafter, under the rubric of moral philosophy. In 1937, the department of psychology became a separate entity, carved out of a program of psychological studies housed in the philosophy department of the College of Arts and Sciences. From the beginning, the department has emphasized the systematic study of behavior and internal states. Currently, the department has 23 full-time faculty, over 20 visiting, clinical, and adjunct faculty from other universities and other departments at UVM, and about 530 undergraduate majors and 70 graduate students at any given time. The department received over $1 million in sponsored awards in fiscal year 2003, more than double the amount received in 1998.
Our mission with respect to undergraduate education is to provide broad training in psychology for students in the liberal arts, leading to a bachelor of arts degree. This training covers clinical, developmental, and experimental fields, with an emphasis on research in its broad context. Students with a strong interest in science also have the opportunity to earn the bachelor of science degree.
Our mission with respect to graduate education is to train the researchers, practitioners, and teachers who will create the future of psychology and benefit humankind by increasing knowledge about the nature and causes of human behavior, treating mental and emotional disorders, and preventing such disorders. We offer the degrees of master of arts and doctor of philosophy. Students seeking a terminal master’s degree are not usually admitted to the graduate program in psychology.
Developmental and Social Cluster
Healthy Development Through Socio-Cultural Contexts
This cluster pursues knowledge through systematic research on the ways in which people simultaneously influence and are influenced by social situations and cultural contexts. Our research relies upon experimental, correlational, and qualitative designs in diverse settings, including the laboratory, community, and institutional contexts. Our investigations focus on transactions between people and social/cultural contexts and promotion and prevention processes that foster healthy development. Cluster faculty include both social and developmental psychologists. Graduate students can receive training specific to each area.
Faculty: Lynne Bond, Heather Bouchey, Sara Burchard, Susan Crockenberg, Justin Joffe, Robert Lawson, Tracy McLaughlin-Volpe, Carol Miller, Dharam Yadav
Mechanisms of Learning, Memory, and Emotion
A particular strength of this cluster is the fusion of neurobiological methods with learning-theoretical approaches. Faculty combine expertise in behavior, neuroanatomy, cellular and molecular biology, behavioral genetics, and neurophysiology in a collaborative effort to examine mechanisms of learning, memory, and emotion, often as they are represented in classical conditioning. Current research includes memory and memory retrieval processes, core mechanisms of learning, including inhibition, attention, extinction, and implications for understanding clinical problems, including anxiety disorders, the cognitive effects of aging, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
Faculty: Mark Bouton, David Bucci, William Falls, John Green, Richard Musty
Behavioral Psychopharmacology Cluster
Human Behavioral Pharmacology and Substance Abuse Treatment
The Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory is a research unit of the department of psychiatry that studies environmental and pharmacological factors influencing drug abuse and diverse new treatments for drug abuse. Our research spans alcohol, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabinoids, caffeine, cocaine, nicotine, and opioids. Research includes clinical studies on behavioral and pharmacological treatments for cocaine, nicotine, opiate, alcohol, and marijuana dependence. We also conduct human laboratory studies identifying behavioral mechanisms of drug dependence and examining the behavioral effects of abused drugs.
Faculty: Warren K. Bickel, Alan J. Budney, Stephen T. Higgins, John R. Hughes
Coping With Adversity and Promoting Well-Being
This theme acknowledges our interest in healthy development as well as treatment of pathology in children, adolescents, and adults. While the specific research examples listed may grow and change, three content areas define our empirical research: 1) psychological distress and healthy adaptation (anxiety disorders, depression, disruptive behavior disorders); 2) psychological influences on physical health and illness (AIDS, cancer, chronic pain, substance abuse); and, 3) sociopolitical oppression (sexual orientation, physical appearance, minority status). A core value of our clinical program is the pursuit of knowledge through scientific methods. The methods represented by our research include experimental designs (both in laboratory analogue studies and in randomized controlled trials) and correlational studies. The settings in which we conduct our research are varied and include the laboratory, hospital, and clinic settings, as well as diverse community settings locally, regionally, and nationally. The program emphasizes research training relevant to clinical problems and early placement in a variety of nearby clinical facilities.
Faculty: Phyllis Bronstein, John Burchard, Rex Forehand, Marc Kessler, Esther Rothblum, Laura Solomon, Sondra Solomon, Timothy Stickle, Michael Zvolensky