April 01, 2010
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington hosted a ceremonial ground-breaking on April 22nd for the new home to UNCW’s Department of Psychology. Jenkins•Peer Architects is working with the University on the design of this much-needed campus asset, which will educate mental health professionals to address a growing need for services throughout the state and region.
Increasing access to mental health services is a top priority for the Governor’s Task Force for Healthy Carolinians, a goal shared by UNC Wilmington and its Department of Psychology. This new building will provide critical space and facilities to prepare psychology professionals and continue cutting edge faculty research in the discipline.
In addition, the UNC Board of Governors recently approved UNCW’s request to develop a new doctoral program in applied and experimental psychology, which also will be housed in the new building.
“These two things coming together—the new building and the new doctoral program—couldn’t be better,” said psychology department chair Mark Galizio. “We’re expanding research training and clinical training. Everything is in place, except the space to do it. This building is the final component in the creation of a world class doctoral program.”
Right now, UNCW’s psychology labs are in eight different buildings. This new facility will house all department faculty, students and laboratories under one roof, which will advance teaching, research and collaboration. Some features of the planned building include:
- Classrooms and labs with leading-edge technology
- A neuroscience laboratory classroom outfitted with the latest equipment and technology so students can learn advanced research techniques in the study of brain-behavior relationships
- Child psychology lab complex, which will enhance the efforts of four faculty members whose research on children’s emotional and cognitive development is improving treatments for children with intellectual disabilities, including autism.
- Psychopharmacology and substance abuse research complex will bring together the research and teaching programs of nine faculty members who are focused on understanding the processes of addiction and the potential for new treatments. Alcohol and drug abuse costs our state’s economy more than $12 billion a year.
- Cognitive aging lab complex, which will aid the research of five distinguished faculty working in the areas of memory and dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, the fifth leading cause of death among North Carolinians.
- Laboratories that will support research in social psychology, behavior analysis, forensic psychology, cross-cultural psychology, and the development of a new research and clinical program designed to help veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan recover from post-traumatic stress syndrome.
When completed and ready for use, as scheduled in 2012, the new building will be the second step, along with the Nursing Building, in the university’s vision for a health quad, as outlined in the campus master plan. The $33 million building will provide the university with an additional 80,850 square feet of classroom, laboratory and faculty office space.
“I can’t overstate how important this building is,” said dean of the College of Arts and Sciences David Cordle. “With its facilities, we’ll provide more powerful learning experiences for our students and better healthcare resources for the state and region we serve. Nearly 600 of our current students are majoring in psychology. Many others are combining a psychology minor with another field of study. Since 1994, more than 120 have graduated from our master’s program, and we plan to begin adding doctoral graduates to our alumni in the near future.”