Indiana University of Pennsylvania Distinguished University Professor Maureen McHugh, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, has been selected for the 2021 American Psychology Association Division 35/Society for the Psychology of Women’s Heritage Award.
This award is given annually to an individual who has made distinguished, substantial, and long-standing feminist contributions to women and gender or intersectionally, nationally or globally, in teaching-mentoring, practice-advocacy, research-scholarship, or professional service.
In selecting McHugh as the recipient, the committee recognized her “distinguished and long-standing feminist contributions to women and gender.” As an award recipient, McHugh will serve on the Heritage Award Committee for three years, including as committee chair.
“Dr. McHugh has made tremendous contributions to the psychology of women and improved the status of women in significant ways,” Deanne Snavely, dean of the John and Char Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said. “This is a well-deserved recognition of her work.”
McHugh, a member of the IUP faculty since 1986 and honored with the IUP Distinguished University Professor award in 2015, has contributed extensively to the psychology of women field, as a teacher and a scholar.
Acknowledged as a pioneer in this work, she is proud to have taught the subject to more than 3,500 students, and to have been a mentor for more than 25 undergraduate students in the conduct of research (and presentation), including five McNair scholars, and to serve as mentor or chair for 45 dissertations.
“I am pleased to have my work in and for psychology of women acknowledged as important,” McHugh said. “All of my writing, teaching, and mentoring is based in my belief that psychology of women can change people’s lives, as it has changed mine.”
McHugh has served in leadership positions at the national level. She was president (equivalent) of the Association for Women in Psychology and chair of the Committee on Women of the American Psychological Association. She was the 2015 president of the APA’s Society for Psychology of Women/Division 35. She coordinated the annual conference of the Association for Women in Psychology in 1979 and 1997, was on the planning committee for the 2016 national conference, and served on the planning committee for the Pittsburgh conferences for 2016. She was co-chair of the program committee for the 2020 national conference.
McHugh has published widely, with more than 70 book chapters and journal articles to her credit. Her work is included in many psychology of women texts and handbooks. Two of her publications won Distinguished Publication Awards from the Association for Women in Psychology.
In 2020, the co-edited special issue of Women and Therapy on sizeism in psychotherapy, “Making Space for Every Body,” won the Distinguished Publication Award.
A continuing focus of her scholarship is violence against women. She co-authored numerous reviews of literature on intimate partner violence and co-edited two special topic journal issues on women and violence. Possessing a national reputation as an expert in this area, McHugh has been invited to provide reviews on intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and other forms of violence for handbooks and texts.
Her other current areas of scholarship include the history of feminist psychology, older women, size bias, sexual scripts, and sexual assault. In each of these areas, McHugh has collaborated with graduate students.
Her text, The Wrong Prescription for Women, co-edited with Joan Chrisler and published in 2015, is a critical examination of the medicalization of women’s bodies and lives.
McHugh founded the Women’s Studies program at IUP in 1986 and served as director for a dozen years. She advocated for women’s studies in the region, offering workshops and conferences to connect women’s studies scholars from various regional campuses.
She remains actively involved in curriculum design, including development of the course “Gender and Violence,” and collaboration on a new minor in violence education.
She has helped to plan a dozen workshops and conferences for IUP and for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. An advocate for women as leaders in the academy, McHugh developed and conducted the Leadership Institute for Faculty Women, conducted by the Women’s Consortium, which has trained 200 women for leadership on the State System’s 14 campuses. Working with the Women’s Consortium, she has worked for gender equity in the State System, including attending to the campuses’ response to sexual assault on campus.
McHugh was awarded the Christine Ladd Franklin Award for her contributions to feminist psychology and the Florence Denmark Award for Distinguished Mentoring for her research with and mentoring of graduate and undergraduate students. She is also included in Feminist Voices, an online history of feminist psychology, and participated in recorded interviews for the project.
The Maureen McHugh Rising Leaders Award was established at IUP in her honor. It provides recognition to an individual who has contributed to the advancement of women at IUP for five years or more through elevating the status of women, improving campus policies affecting women, establishing professional development opportunities for women, and participating in the establishment of academic mentoring for women.