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Alumnus, Chapel Hill native Jonathan Campbell to direct new doctorate in psychology

Jonathan M. Campbell

A 1995 alumnus of Western Carolina University who has directed doctoral programs in psychology at several higher education institutions in the Southeast has returned to WCU to oversee the university’s new Doctor of Psychology in Health Services Psychology Program.

Jonathan M. Campbell, who went on to earn his doctorate at the University of Memphis after receiving his master’s degree in clinical psychology at WCU, said his long-term goal is to see WCU’s doctoral program develop into a model for professional psychology preparation to serve rural populations – particularly in rural Appalachia.

The University of North Carolina Board of Governors approved WCU’s doctorate in psychology, the university’s fourth doctoral-level academic program, last January. Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, students will be enrolled to start the program beginning fall 2019. Campbell said he will consult with the Department of Psychology throughout the school year to plan for the launch of the program.

A native of Chapel Hill, Campbell said he is excited to return to WCU. His first official day in his new position was July 1. “I love the mountains of North Carolina,” he said. “I’m pleased to have the opportunity to the return to the area and contribute to a department that supported and trained me so well.”

Planning for WCU’s new “Psy.D.” program was a long-term collaborative effort involving the Department of Psychology, College of Education and Allied Professions, other university departments and the Graduate School. “I am well aware of the time and efforts put forward to establish the Psy.D. program, and it is a genuine honor to be selected to serve as its inaugural director,” Campbell said.

Campbell has previously directed psychology doctoral programs at the University of Georgia and University of Kentucky. He joined the faculty at the University of Georgia in August 2001 and served, at various times, as director of that university’s autism evaluation and research clinic, and as director of the School Psychology Clinic, before moving to the University of Kentucky in 2012. While serving as a professor at Kentucky, he co-directed that institution’s autism clinic and chaired the program in school psychology.

Campbell said the WCU doctorate in psychology, with an emphasis on training students to serve rural populations – a traditionally underserved group in mental health – will consist of formal course work, supervised clinical experiences and research requirements with a goal of preparing graduates for licensure. His short-term goal for the program is to achieve accreditation by the American Psychological Association.

The WCU program will be unique in that it will feature a combined training emphasis in the professional specializations of clinical psychology and school psychology, Campbell said. Students in both specializations will share common course work and foundational training experiences but also receive training specific to each area of practice, he said.

Other factors making the program stand out are the existing modern training clinic on campus and a faculty that represents a variety of clinical and research interests ranging from child psychological disorders and child neuropsychology to adult personality assessment, forensic psychology, autism spectrum disorder and trauma, Campbell said.

Alvin Malesky, professor and head of WCU’s Department of Psychology, said the knowledge and experience Campbell has gained at the University of Georgia and University of Kentucky “will be a boon to the department, the College of Education and Allied Professions, the entire university and Western North Carolina.”

“I have no doubt that we will be producing top-quality doctoral-level mental health professionals to serve North Carolina, especially our western region, in the near future,” Malesky said.

WCU’s Department of Psychology also offers a specialist degree in school psychology, in addition to its master’s degree in clinical psychology.

For more information about WCU’s doctorate in psychology, contact Campbell at

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