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Announcing New Heads of Psychology & Communication

July 26, 2016

Maria Schultheis, PhD, has been named head of the Department of Psychology, and Alexander (Sandy) Friedlander, PhD, has assumed the role of interim head of the Department of Communication, effective July 1, 2016.

Maria Schultheis
Maria Schultheis, PhD

Maria Teresa Schultheis, PhD, received her PhD in psychology from Drexel University in 1998. She then went on to a postdoctoral fellowship with the National Institutes of Health and a teaching position at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey before returning to Drexel in 2005. Her clinical and research experiences have focused on the rehabilitation of cognitively impaired populations (e.g., traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis). Specifically, she has specialized in the development and application of technologies that have functional significance and can improve the everyday lives of persons with disabilities. As director of Drexel’s Applied NeuroTechnologies (ANT) lab, she examines constructs such as multitasking, risky behavior, sleep and cognition and medical adherence.

Schultheis’ research has been consistently funded by such organizations as the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She was also the recipient of the 2007 American Psychological Association Early Career Award for Division 40 (Clinical Neuropsychology) and is a Fellow of APA Div40 Society for Clinical Neuropsychology.

In addition to her clinical and research experience, Schultheis served as the director of clinical training for the psychology PhD program for the last four years, demonstrating her commitment to our students’ education and training. Her experienced leadership will help to further develop and advance the psychology department, building on the foundation established by former department heads Kirk Heilbrun, PhD and James Herbert, PhD.

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Alexander (Sandy) Friedlander, PhD
Alexander (Sandy) Friedlander, PhD

Alexander (Sandy) Friedlander, PhD, received his PhD in rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University and has been a member of the Drexel faculty since 1987. He is an associate professor of communication specializing in rhetoric, professional writing and document design, and has been associate dean for undergraduate education in the College for the last 10 years. His research interests include the impact of technology on the professional writing workplace and cognitive processes that impact the writing of non-native speakers of English.
In his new role as interim head, Friedlander will continue the work of former interim head Ron Bishop, PhD, in establishing the Department of Communication as an independent unit, which it became in 2014. Friedlander will explore ways to improve interactions among faculty and to enhance the student experience, including a stronger core curriculum for the majors and better preparation for the co-op experience. He looks forward to working alongside the faculty as we prepare to hire a new department head for fall 2017.

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As we welcome new leadership, we’d like to extend our sincere gratitude to interim heads Kirk Heilbrun, PhD, of psychology, and Ron Bishop, PhD, of communication, for their dedication and service.

Both Heilbrun and Bishop have served as leaders and stewards to our College in times of transition. After stepping down from his decade-long role as head of the Department of Psychology, Heilbrun graciously agreed to return as interim head two years ago when then-head James Herbert, PhD, was named interim provost. Later that year, Bishop stepped in as interim head of the newly formed Department of Communication, overseeing its development as a distinct unit following the reorganization of the Department of Culture and Communication.

As the College of Arts and Sciences continues to grow and change, it is important to have strong visionaries leading the way. Please join us in thanking our previous heads and welcoming our new leadership.