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Dr. Steven Evans, a psychology professor at Ohio University and co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools, in his office on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022, in Porter Hall in Athens, OH.

Professor Spotlight: Steven Evans honored as distinguished professor

When Steven Evans was initially offered a position at Ohio University, he was hesitant to take it. However, once he entered Athens and was immersed in the department, Evans said he recognized the strength and collaborative nature of the faculty, inspiring him to take the job.

Now, more than a decade later, Evans has served as an accomplished psychology professor as well as the co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools. For his time here and the research he has conducted, Evans has been honored as a distinguished professor of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, which he was officially named in 2019. 

Evans completed his undergraduate career at Bowling Green State University, majoring in special education. After graduation, he began working in the classroom. While he loved the job, Evans said he felt he was missing something. 

“I kept trying to figure out how to better meet the needs of the kids I was working with,” Evans said. “And so I went to grad school in education. Then, I went in psychology and found that psychology helped me understand a lot better about the kids I was most interested in.”

Evans obtained his doctorate from Case Western Reserve University, then worked 10 years at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center before spending another 10 years at James Madison University. While employed at the latter, a position opened here at OU as the faculty wanted to expand the child clinical psychology program. 

Through being employed at OU and now being named a distinguished professor, Evans said he has been grateful to work alongside renowned and determined faculty. 

“The one thing I've learned since coming here is how many really impressive faculty there are, not just in psychology but across the campus,” Evans said. “And the people who are distinguished professors here are incredibly impressive. So, to know that they picked me for nomination to the president and the president made the selection, that was incredibly humbling and an amazing honor to get.”

According to OU’s website, the Distinguished Professor Award was established in 1958 as a recognition for the “highest distinction for faculty members at Ohio University,” which “recognizes exceptional research and scholarly or artistic achievements.” 

Evans was officially nominated in 2019, but the succeeding event had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was then rescheduled to Feb 3. but had to be postponed a second time due to weather. Despite the time that has passed since he was named, Evans said the honor is still just as surprising and fulfilling. 

“I still remember President Nellis was still the president in 2019, and he called me to tell me, and I was just so taken aback,” Evans said. “It's hard to describe anymore in words.”

The commemoration of Evans’ award will include an event March 16 that will consist of a portrait unveiling and a lecture provided by Evans. The event will take place in Baker University Center Ballroom, with the reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. and the portrait unveiling beginning at 7 p.m., followed by speeches by Evans and other faculty. It will be held in person as well as livestreamed. 

Evans said the event overall is a surreal experience, to see his work recognized and celebrated in such a profound and public way. 

“One of the first things they do after President Sherman will talk is to unveil my picture that will be hanging in the library eventually, which in and of itself is remarkable,” Evans said. “I'm really looking forward to it. A little nervous about it, to be honest, but it's exciting. I have friends and family coming in from far away to be there, so that's really special, too.”

Throughout his time at OU, Evans said he has especially appreciated and enjoyed his time working with faculty and students who have greatly strengthened his experiences overall at the university.

“The common element, among all the things I could name, is doing it with other people,” Evans said. “Everything (I do) is enhanced by doing it with the faculty, the staff and the students who are here.”

@laureneserge

ls351117@ohio.edu 


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