WKU Psychologist Pfohl Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

By: WKU News Release
By: WKU News Release

NASP established the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 to recognize those who have contributed to the profession in a significant and lasting manner. Dr. Pfohl is the 11th recipient of this award.

Dr. Pfohl’s career in school psychology spans nearly 40 years and reflects exceptional achievements in the areas of practice, service and advocacy. He has been a professor of school psychology at WKU since 1979.

“I am deeply honored by this award which represents over 40 years of professional involvement,” Dr. Pfohl said. “I am very proud to be recognized by my peers for my accomplishments and hard work. It is a very satisfying award.

A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Dr. Pfohl did his undergraduate studies and received his master’s degree in 1971 from St. Bonaventure University. He received his doctor of psychology degree in 1979 from Rutgers University. While at Rutgers, he trained under leading researchers Virginia Bennett, Albert Ellis and Arnold Lazarus in emerging areas of psychology and school psychology, such as cognitive-behavior therapy, consultation and program evaluation. He also worked in a school-based rehabilitation program for juvenile offenders with felonies. This included participation in the Scared Straight program at Rahway State Penitentiary. Dr. Pfohl was later honored with the Peterson Prize for Outstanding Alumnus of the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) in 2000.

Dr. Pfohl has practiced both privately and in schools and served on the clinical staff in several mental health centers. He developed the school psychology certification program at WKU, as well as helping the Kentucky Department of Education develop certification procedures for school psychology and the criteria for the emotionally/behaviorally disordered classification. He is highly regarded as a member of the broader community, among other things serving as a volunteer firefighter, child abuse protection advocate, mental health responder with the American Red Cross, and an expert on parenting and mental health needs of children for the media. WKU awarded Dr. Pfohl the Cangemi Award for Outstanding Public Service in Psychology and Education in 2002.

Dr. Pfohl has maintained a career long commitment to advancing school psychology through leadership in local, state, national and international organizations. In addition to many committee roles, he served as President of the Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools (KAPS) in 1990-1991 and President of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) in 1996–1997 and in 2005–2006. He is currently President of the International School Psychology Association (ISPA).

Through NASP, Dr. Pfohl has been Kentucky delegate, publications board chair, webmaster and contributor to numerous NASP periodicals and books. While NASP president, Dr. Pfohl was instrumental in promoting School Psychology: A Blueprint for Training and Practice II & III, as well as having school psychology recognized in the ERIC clearinghouse. As ISPA president, he is leading efforts to create a new international journal and formulate standardized training and certification processes.

Dr. Pfohl has written or contributed to more than 80 articles, books, journals and other professional periodicals. He has conducted hundreds of workshops and presentations in the United States and abroad and is recipient of nearly 20 awards and honors.

Dr. Pfohl’s pioneering leadership has been particularly instrumental regarding the advancement of school crisis prevention and intervention. He is a founding member of NASP’s National Emergency Assistance Team (NEAT), which provides written resources for families and schools, staff consultation, and direct mental health support in the aftermath of crisis events in schools. He has conducted crisis training for the European Union since 2002 and so far has trained more than 1,000 school psychologists worldwide in crisis response.

“Few school psychologists have had a greater influence on our profession on a worldwide level than Bill,” NASP President Patti Harrison said. “He has accomplished this through his leadership, ability to see and help develop the long-term needs of the profession, and commitment to advance best practice in service to children and families.”

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