Augusta University Appoints New Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences

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Augusta University Appoints New Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences

30 Apr, 2024

Earlier this year, Tadd Patton, PhD, an associate professor of experimental psychology, was named the new chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Augusta University.

Patton, who served as interim chair of the department since July 2023, received the full support of the faculty of psychological sciences for the permanent position, said Kim Davies, PhD, dean of Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

“I am very pleased to announce that, with the full support of the psychological sciences faculty, I have appointed Dr. Tadd Patton as the chair of psychological sciences,” Davies announced in March, adding that Patton had previously served as an assistant chair and director of the undergraduate psychology program at Augusta University. “He has won awards for teaching and has much experience working with both undergraduate and graduate students on research. In addition, he has published in various journals including Behavioral Pharmacology and Brain, Behavior and Evolution.”

Patton, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his doctorate degree, from the University of South Florida, joined Augusta University in 2010.

“I took a position in the Department of Psychology back when the institution was named Augusta State University,” Patton said. “When we merged with the Medical College of Georgia, we changed the name of our department to the Department of Psychological Sciences, which was part of our vision. A few years ago, under the supervision of our previous chair, Dr. Michael Hoane, I was appointed as the undergraduate program director and assistant chair of the department. I learned a lot in those roles.”

After Hoane accepted a new position at Tennessee Tech University last summer, Patton became the interim chair at a critical stage in the development of the Department of Psychological Sciences, he said.

“Our department had just moved to Pamplin College from the College of Science and Mathematics, so that was a huge move,” Patton said. “While we had some really good opportunities in the College of Science and Mathematics, we felt that coming to Pamplin College would give us some other opportunities, by way of growth, and help put us in the direction that we wanted to go. It just seemed like a better fit for us.”

Patton acknowledges he was a little intimidated about being named interim chair last summer, but, with the support of Davies and his colleagues over the past several months, he is prepared for his new role as chair.

“I was recently joking with one of the faculty members that there’s a steep learning curve, and I said, ‘It’s so steep, I need a jet pack,’” Patton said, laughing. “But, honestly, it’s going along great. All the faculty members in this department are very supportive of me, and the chairs in the other departments in this college have been extremely helpful. I’ve learned that, being in Pamplin College, you are never alone. And under the guidance of our dean, Dr. Kim Davies, she’s just amazing. I know, whenever I have a question, I can go and ask and get the answer I need.”

As the department continues to grow, Patton said he will always rely heavily on the input from his faculty and staff.

“I want to make sure that it’s very clear that I want this to be more democratic in nature and a situation where the faculty know they have a lot of input in many of the decisions within this department,” Patton said. “It’s them who make the department, not me.”

Currently, psychology is one of the largest and most popular majors at Augusta University. However, when students first begin exploring the major, many don’t fully understand the many career avenues available for those who graduate with a psychology degree, Patton said.

“A lot of times, the students who are interested in psychology are students who really want to help people, but they’ll often have this narrow vision of what psychology is,” Patton said. “A lot of students come in thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to be a counselor or a therapist or something like that,’ which is, of course, a huge part of psychology, but it’s not the only part of psychology.”

“We also have psychologists, like me, who have transitioned into administration, but I was trained as an experimental psychologist with a background in neuroscience,” he added. “So, when the students come in here, one of the first things that they learn is the broadness of the discipline. It’s just so diverse.”

The Department of Psychological Sciences offers a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in psychology and a pre-medicine track and a minor. The department also offers Master of Science degrees in three different concentrations: clinical, general experimental and applied experimental psychology.

“This department has students in mind in the forefront,” Patton said. “We care dearly about our students, and we want to provide the best program for them.”

Graduates of the psychological sciences program enter a wide variety of fields such as human resources, business, nursing, medical school, counseling, advertising and research. Students who choose to get a graduate degree in psychology have further career options, such as being a licensed therapist, academician, school counselor, statistician, behavior analyst, genetic counselor or sports psychologist, Patton said.

“I try to talk to the students, even right from the beginning when they are still in high school,” Patton said. “I tell them that if you’re planning on going into psychology, you can do a lot of things with the undergraduate degree. But if you want to work with individuals, maybe in treatment and therapy, or do more in the way of experimentation and research, you’re going to probably need some type of graduate training.”

Patton said it is important to help students look toward future possibilities right from the start of their college career.

“I always tell the students, ‘Although you’re coming in as an undergraduate, I want you to think, even if it’s not on your radar, just pretend that you’re going to go to some type of graduate program. I want you to have a strong GPA. I want you to get involved in things like undergraduate research and internships,’” Patton said. “These things help them stand out.”

“Part of our vision and challenge is to make sure that students are learning about all the possibilities,” he added. “Because what I find are students who have graduated, they’ll reach out to me after being out in the job market for a couple of years and they’ll say, ‘You know what? I’ve decided I want to go to grad school.’ So, we want to make sure all of our students are prepared for that next step.”

About Augusta University’s Department of Psychological Sciences

The Department of Psychological Sciences at Augusta University offers a range of undergraduate and graduate programs aimed at understanding human behavior and mental processes. The department is known for its commitment to high-quality education and its research contributions to the field of psychology.

About Dr. Andrea Patton

Dr. Andrea Patton is a respected psychologist with a robust background in cognitive psychology. Her work has significantly contributed to understanding learning processes, leading to enhanced educational practices. Dr. Patton is dedicated to student success and is known for her innovative teaching strategies and research-driven approach.


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