February 06, 2012

Dollinger earns prestigious CUDCP honor

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A clinical psychology professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale received the Beverly Thorn Award from the Council of University Directors of Clinical Psychology (CUDCP) at the annual Midwinter Meeting in San Diego.

Stephen Dollinger, Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Teacher, is the fifth recipient of the award.  The award, named for a pioneer in mentoring directors of clinical training, particularly women in those positions, is given to those who have demonstrated outstanding service as a director of clinical training.

Dollinger received the award in part due to his attention to measuring program quality.  He developed a system to track career outcomes of students -- well before the American Psychological Association (APA) required such tracking.  In fact, the APA recognized Dollinger’s expertise in this area.

“The APA requested permission to use some of his evaluation materials as samples of exemplary methods for other programs,” Mary Louis Cashel, current director of clinical training, wrote in her letter nominating Dollinger for the award.

The award is also meant to recognize a director whose program assures good outcomes for graduates of that program; one who advocates for the scientist-practioner philosophy of education at the local, state and national levels; and who has contributed to the community of directors of clinical training through the CUDCP.

At SIU Carbondale, Dollinger served as director of the clinical training program for 22 years, taking the position in 1989.  He joined the SIU Carbondale faculty in 1977, and for several years divided time between the classroom and the Clinical Center on campus.

As a teacher, Dollinger’s impact on the SIU Carbondale program is considerable.  During his 22 years as director of clinical training, 94 students earned their doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, with Dollinger supervising the thesis or dissertation for 42 students.  During that time, 80 percent or more of every graduating class successfully obtained licensure in their chosen state of practice.

“(Dollinger) has been a much-loved faculty member, advisor, research mentor and friend to students for decades,” Cashel wrote.

“Personally, receiving this award is a very pleasant surprise at the end of my career,” Dollinger said.  “Professionally, I think it recognizes activities like mentoring younger program directors in the organization in meetings, consultations, and accreditation site visits; mentoring my successor at SIU; and sharing our program evaluation methods.  The award is also an affirmation of the SIU Clinical Psychology program which has been accredited since 1961 -- ­one of the earliest to be accredited; plus our own illustrious SIU Carbondale graduate, Dr. Beverly Thorn, a former CUDCP Board President, for whom the award is named.”

His research includes the way children internalize disorders and trauma, and the psychological-mindedness of children and adults.  He has presented papers at dozens of professional and academic conferences, and published prolifically in professional and academic journals including the “Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,” the “Journal of General Psychology,” and “the Journal of Research in Personality,” to name just a few.

He also served on the editorial boards at several professional journals.  He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association Divisions of Clinical Psychology and Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Dollinger also served on the board of the CUDCP for several years and in other capacities, and he has been a member of the professional and academic association since 1993.

Though he retired, Dollinger continues to teach at SIU Carbondale as a visiting professor.