Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 11:45am

Chair Communications

This month, the Chair’s Update is all about awards. First, I want to congratulate Assistant Professor Scott Vrieze, who was selected to receive the University of Minnesota’s McKnight Land-Grant Professorship, a two-year award designed to advance the careers of exceptional junior faculty. In the two years that Scott has been on our faculty, he has had a string of accomplishments, ranging from new grants to several highly visible publications.


Scott has also just received the 2019 Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions. This is a major award given annually by APS. Scott is most deserving of these awards. Please join me in congratulating him!


I also want to congratulate Marina Bryants (Lead Research Assistant, MCTFR), Liz Gates (Grant and Contract Administrator), and Tasha Walvig (Principal Interviewer, MCTFR), all of whom have received a 2017-18 CLA Outstanding Service Award. Outstanding Service Awards are “…intended to recognize employees and work groups who make outstanding contributions to the objectives of their units and/or the college, and who consistently achieve high performance in carrying out the responsibilities of their positions.” These strong employees clearly meet the criteria of this award, and we are honored to have them as colleagues in our department. Again, please join me in congratulating them!


When I became chair last June, I felt it was important to develop an internal departmental process for staff awards to better recognize excellence at the local level. To that end, the Staff Recognition Committee was formed last fall. Members include Holley Locher, Penny Nichol, Rachel Satterlee, Heidi Wolff, and Donnie Wood. The Committee developed two mechanisms through which staff can now be recognized: the annual Staff Excellence Award and the Staff Spotlight. The Staff Excellence Award recognizes staff who have demonstrated excellence and professionalism in their overall performance and who have made meaningful contributions to their unit and/or the Department of Psychology. Nominations are due March 15. The Staff Spotlight, on the other hand, is a mechanism that routinely recognizes staff in real-time via a brief Google Form submission. More information about both of these awards will be shared via email and in a later edition of DATA. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Holley Locher at  



Administrative Updates and Announcements

Welcome to Zuzanna Tajchman! On January 15, 2019, Zuzanna Tajchman started working as a lab manager/research assistant in Iris Vilares's lab. She is coming from University College London, where she recently completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Neuroscience.  


Awards and Accomplishments

The 2018 Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Award was given to Jill Fish, a Ph.D. candidate in counseling psychology in the College of Liberal Arts on the Twin Cities campus focusing on how systems of oppression that impact Native American peoples can be challenged and transformed.  


Department of Psychology Staff Spotlight

The Department of Psychology’s Staff Recognition Committee is excited to announce the new Staff Spotlight. The Staff Spotlight is a way for members of the department to recognize a Psychology staff member for excellent performance in real time. Students, staff, or faculty may submit a Spotlight by filling out a brief Google form at The committee will then share each submission with the staff member and their supervisor. Additionally, each quarter, staff members who received a Spotlight in the previous three months will be chosen at random to receive a small token of appreciation from the department. A congratulations to the staff member chosen will be included in the DATA newsletter, along with details from the submission. 


Department of Psychology Staff Excellence Award

The Department of Psychology’s Staff Recognition Committee is pleased to announce the Staff Excellence Award! This annual award recognizes staff who have demonstrated excellence and professionalism in their overall performance and who have made meaningful contributions to their unit and/or the Department of Psychology. A primary nomination letter and at least one letter of support are required to nominate someone. One of the nominators must be the nominee’s direct supervisor. Nominations are due to Holley Locher no later than March 15, 2019. To learn more about it, visit    


Upcoming Events

Save the Date: Psychology Undergraduate Celebration in May!

Psychology Undergraduate Celebration
Friday, May 3rd, 2019 from 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Campus Club - Coffman Memorial Union

Official RSVP invitations will be sent at a future date!



The University has a self-service tool called MY-ACCOUNT that allows you to manage your UM Internet ID as well as create and manage sponsored accounts and Google groups, set reset questions for your Internet ID, manage DUO, and so on. Free nerd fact: MY-ACCOUNT is built on Oracle Identity Management and has replaced the x500 system; we now use Internet IDs rather than x500s. is where you manage your UM Internet ID.

And for all instructors: MY-ACCOUNT lets you make course email lists outside of Canvas! You can create a course specific email so that you do not have to use your own Internet ID or a ‘rogue’ non-UM gmail account. These are Google Group email lists that sync with PeopleSoft (drop-outs or late sign-ups will be on this list). You can reach out to all your students and students can email you using this email. Contact Silke if you have questions <>, N211 Elliott.