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Faculty Spotlight


Heather Martens, Ph.D. School Psychology

What classes do you teach?

  • Assessment I, Psychoeducational Interventions I, Tests and Measurement, Child Behavioral Health Promotion

What are your teaching and research interests?

  • I remain interested in academic interventions for students in postsecondary settings as well as students with a history of juvenile justice involvement. Did you know that if a child does not read proficiently by grade 3, they are much more likely to become incarcerated, drop-out of High School, or experience problems with addiction?
  • More recently I have become interested in researching methods to increase the number of students from minoritized groups in School Psychology. Did you know that racial-ethnic mismatch in our schools decreases the likelihood that those students will experience academic success?
 Please share any recent accomplishments, honors, or good news.
  • I will be handing off the SP Director’s position to Dr. Simon this summer. However, in working with the School Psychology Committee these past 3 years, we began the Undergraduate Pathway and Mentoring Program for School Psychology, received approval to offer an Ed.S. to our former M.S. students, revised the curriculum of our Ed.S. program through phasing out our Ph.D. program, and have begun to formulate ways to offer our Ed.S. program to working educational professionals. I am super stoked to continue growing the Ed.S. program in order to decrease shortages in our field.

 Please share a fun fact (a short anecdote, hobby or personal interest, etc.) about yourself.

  • I recently took up sewing again and got a boss (new-to-me) sewing machine. When I was 12 my mother, who was a home-economics teacher, made me take sewing lessons. I kind of hated it then, but I am glad she made me do it! I am loving making clothes and hunting for vintage sewing patterns.

What advice do you have for students?

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously! What we do as psychologists is important, so take your work seriously, yet strive for joy and humility.

 


Elson Bihm, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology

What classes do you teach?

  • Legal and Ethical Issues, Master’s Practicum, Doctoral Practicum, and Child Psychopathology

What are your teaching and research interests?

  • Prevention, CBT, and Philosophical Issues

Please share any recent accomplishments, honors, or good news.

  • I received the UCA Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Award in 1995, and I have been an invited editor for numerous journals. I have had significant grants (with UCA colleagues) from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. I was chair of the Counseling Psychology Program when it received APA Accreditation in 2015.

 Please share a fun fact (a short anecdote, hobby or personal interest, etc.) about yourself.

  • My hobby is magic – I am currently collaborating with professors in nutrition on the “Nutrition Magic Show,” which uses magic to teach preschool children about the benefits of the USDA’s MyPlate.

What advice do you have for students?

  • Psychology and counseling are broad fields, and they have more variability than most people realize. Therefore, find something you like within your field – and master it.

 


Femina Varghese, Ph.D. Counseling Psychology

What classes do you teach?

  • Multicultural Issues in Psychology and Counseling, Practicum courses, Doctoral Dissertation, Group Psychotherapy

What are your teaching and research interests?

  • I study the factors that influence recidivism, particularly the role of work, in justice-involved persons.

Please share any recent accomplishments, honors, or good news.

  • I won the 2020 Outstanding Paper Award for an article I co-authored on justice reform in The Counseling Psychologist. I served as the lead author of the article. I was also recently elected a fellow of APA. In August, my colleagues and I were approved funding for our small grant proposal to buy PPE for parolees, probationers, and staff at the Arkansas Community Corrections by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation IRL. We had already been funded by them for $350,000 in 2018 for a three year project studying the use of telehealth with parolees. This year, I was also a finalist for the Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activity.

 Please share a fun fact (a short anecdote, hobby or personal interest, etc.) about yourself.

  • My 2-mile record for my high school is still unbroken.

What advice do you have for students?

  • “Run your own race” — it was advice I received from my high school coach. It helped me win races then and today I still follow it. It is a peaceful way to look at life. It helps me to focus on my own development as a person to accomplish the work that I was meant to do.

 


Darshon Anderson, Ph.D. Experimental Psychology-Social

What classes do you teach?

  • I currently teach Social Psychology (3360), Multicultural Psychology (3333), Research Methods Lab (3340), Psychological Statistics (2330), Research Methods (Advanced Statistics (6330).

What are your teaching and research interests?

  • My teaching interests include factors that contribute to a positive and active learning environment. My research interests focus on Goal Pursuit.

Please share any recent accomplishments, honors, or good news.

  • I will be featured presenter at the Arkansas Psychological Association’s 100 Years of Psychology by Arkansas Black Psychologists: A Centennial Commemoration of Historical Contributions of African American Psychologists from Arkansas.

 Please share a fun fact (a short anecdote, hobby or personal interest, etc.) about yourself.

  • Playing Toy Blast on my phone; I’m on level 1252.

What advice do you have for students?

  • Get to know your instructor and make it a point to talk to them. Talk to them when you are feeling confused or lost in the course content, when you have questions, and/or for career advice.

 


Bill Lammers, Ph.D. Experimental Psychology

What classes do you teach?

  • I currently teach Psychological Statistics, Research Methods, Research Methods Lab, and Dissertation Research Seminar. In the past, I’ve taught General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Sensation and Perception, Physiological Psychology, Psychophysiology, Theories of Learning, Graduate Statistics, Educational Statistics, and Practicum in Teaching Psychology.

What are your teaching and research interests?

  • I’ve taught about a dozen different courses over the years but particularly enjoy those that involve research design. My research interests are in the scholarship of teaching and learning: learning how various factors predict college student learning and success.

Please share any recent accomplishments, honors, or good news.

  • I and several other psychology faculty are engaged in a 3-year project to improve student success in the Psychological Statistics course. We’ve explored how frequent, low-stakes, online, cumulative quizzing might be effective and presented that research at a conference in March. We are currently discussing plans for a year 3 intervention.
  • I and two undergraduate students recently received notice that our Research Methods Lab research project will be published in a journal. The project explored how dimensions of instructor personality predict student-instructor rapport in a college course.
  • My wife and I have 4 grandchildren (2 in the accompanying photo), with the youngest only a couple months old.

Please share a fun fact (a short anecdote, hobby or personal interest, etc.) about yourself.

  • A few years ago, my wife and I joined a hiking club and we usually hike every weekend. We organized a week-long hiking trip to the Smoky Mountains for the club in May that, because of COVID, will be delayed until next year.
  • I enjoy living on a lake and have 3 kayaks and a small sailboat.

What advice do you have for students?

  • Embrace the challenges that your courses present you with. Research shows that you learn so much more when you feel challenged.