Jean Hill new president of psychology association

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By Margaret McKinney
Highlands University

Jean Hill, director of Institutional Research and Effectiveness at New Mexico Highlands University, was elected president for the Society for Community Research and Action, an international organization for psychologists.

Hill is  well-known in community psychology and co-authored Community Psychology: Linking Individuals and Communities, a college textbook published earlier this year.

The Society for Community Research and Action is devoted to advancing theory, research and social action. It is a division of the American Psychological Association, the largest organization for psychologists in the world.

Hill takes the reins as president-elect for SCRA in August, and will begin her term as president in August 2012.

“At SCRA, we plan to focus on increasing effectiveness in influencing public policy,” Hill said. “We want to see public policy better reflect what we know to be effective ways of developing healthy communities and societies. For example, greater emphasis on prevention.”

Hill earned her Ph.D. degree in clinical/community psychology from DePaul University in Chicago. One focus of her research is school-based intervention to support healthy youth development.

Hill has been active in the Las Vegas community, including chairing the Las Vegas Committees That Care board several times from 1998-2006, when the initiative was federally funded.

“Communities That Care was a model for community change focused on supporting healthy youth development and preventing juvenile delinquency,” Hill said.

Communities That Care included a large cross section of public and nonprofit agencies, ranging from both local school districts to the Las Vegas Police Department and Somos Familia.  

During its tenure, Communities That Care established the local Youth Commission and worked closely with prevention groups like the Maternal Child Health Council. CTC also developed successful communities initiatives like neighborhood organizations and a community garden.

When she moved to Las Vegas in 1990, Hill got involved in the Las Vegas Citizens’ Committee for Historic Preservation, serving on the board as well as volunteering. In 2001 she was named  CCHP Volunteer of the Decade.

“A huge asset of our Las Vegas community is its historical architecture,” Hill said. “CCHP has worked for decades to preserve and strengthen that resource.”

Hill joined the Highlands University faculty as a psychology professor in 1990. She has taught nearly every course in the psychology curriculum, with an emphasis on clinical, developmental and community psychology.  

She has supervised numerous psychology graduate students in their research, chairing their thesis committees.

Hill’s research studies have been published in journals such as the American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Primary Prevention, and Participatory Community Research.

Hill has served as faculty senate president from 2003 to 2005.

From 2007 to 2008, Hill chaired Highlands University’s committee for its accreditation self-study report, part of an evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission of North Central America.