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Year of Honors and Awards for Psychology's Debra Major

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For Debra Major, professor of psychology at Old Dominion University, 2012 has been a very good year. Two professional organizations elected her to elite Fellow status during the summer, this following other tributes to her research and teaching that she received earlier in the year.

Major, who serves as associate chair for research within the Department of Psychology in ODU's College of Sciences, most recently was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA). This is the largest association of psychologists, with a membership of nearly 140,000. Election as a Fellow requires evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance that has a national impact in the field of psychology. Only 3.3 percent of APA members are Fellows.

She was also elected a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), an international organization that has 22,500 members and is dedicated to the advancement of scientific psychology. Fellow status is awarded to only about 10 percent of members who have made sustained outstanding contributions in the areas of research, teaching, service and/or application of scientific psychology.

In January, Major was elected a Fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). Fewer than 1 percent of the 8,000 members of that society have Fellow status.

And this spring, Major received the Distinguished Teaching Award of the College of Sciences. (She received the college's Distinguished Research Award in 2010.)

Major's research and scholarship have focused on career barriers, especially for women, and effective strategies for overcoming them. During the past decade she has received more than $2 million in funding, mostly from the National Science Foundation, to study ways to open career paths in science and technology to more women and minorities. Her work has also shed light on how the quality of the relationship between a supervisor and an employee influences coping with work-family conflict.

Chris Platsoucas, the dean of the College of Sciences, said, "We congratulate Dr. Major and are very grateful for her contributions to College of Sciences. These three awards demonstrate the extraordinary level of her accomplishments and the respect and recognition of her achievements by her peers. These honors reflect very positively on the department, the college and the university.

Reacting to Major's election as a Fellow of SIOP, Barbara Winstead, chair of the Department of Psychology, called Major "an outstanding scientist, teacher and mentor, a role model to her graduate students and younger faculty, and a highly valued colleague."

Major is the former editor of the journal The Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and currently an editorial board member of Career Development Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Journal of Management and Journal of Business and Psychology.

She joined ODU as an assistant professor in 1992 soon after receiving a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology from Michigan State University. She became an associate professor in 1998 and a full professor in 2005.