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Jann Adams

Jann Adams Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Division of Science and Mathematics


Jann H. Adams is an associate professor of psychology and associate dean of the Division of Science and Mathematics.  She received her B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Indiana University.  Dr. Adams was Psychology Department chair from 2004-2008.  Since January 2008, Dr. Adams has served as associate dean in the Division of Science and Mathematics.  In this capacity, she manages a number of major efforts in the Division.  These include:  development and implementation of faculty evaluation procedures, strategic planning, the Peer Led Team Learning initiative, the Division Umbrella Evaluation, and the Division’s Leadership and Professional Development Initiative.  Dr. Adams is also the Director of the Morehouse College MBRS RISE Program and has led that effort for seven years.  In addition to administrative responsibilities, each semester Dr. Adams teaches two departmental capstone courses, Abnormal Psychology and Directed Studies.

Since becoming an administrator at Morehouse College, Dr. Adams has made a number of important contributions to the Department of Psychology and Division of Science and Mathematics.  As chair of the Department of Psychology from 2004-2008, Dr. Adams made progress on a number of important initiatives.  These included revision and approval of Tenure and Promotion Criteria that have been used to evaluate faculty joining the department in the Fall 2004 or later; revision of the psychology curriculum, including the addition of a number of requirements designed to enhance students’ preparation for graduate school in psychology; establishment of the First Annual Psychology Advisement Day in fall 2004 which is currently held annually; revision of departmental peer evaluation procedures; establishment of the MBRS RISE/Psychology computer laboratory; and completion of Department of Psychology SACS re-accreditation preparation prior to most the recent SACS re-accreditation effort.

In her capacity as associate dean, Dr. Adams has managed several major Division efforts.  During the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years, Dr. Adams made significant progress in establishing a strategic plan for Divisional academic and program activities.  This effort included the development of a “living” strategic plan.  The goal of this effort was to create a document that serves as a guide to all division activities and sets the groundwork for establishing a division evaluation program that will allow ongoing assessment of performance outcomes in program and academic offices.

The Division “umbrella” evaluation is being implemented to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of the Division in achieving the broad goals outlined in the Division’s strategic plan. This evaluation has established a systematic approach to data collection, organization and dissemination for the purpose of improving the efficacy of Divisional activities. The primary goals of the Division evaluation are to assess the overall success in achieving its major goals, including evaluation of academic performance/competency of Majors, increasing the percentage of students pursuing graduate degrees, quality and impact of International experiences, research training experiences, and the Impact of Division’s research training programs on enhancing academic performance, retention and application to graduate school.  Finally, the evaluation assesses the effectiveness of academic mentoring and services provided by divisional offices, including the Office of Health Professions and Office of Research Careers. 

The Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) initiative in the Division of Science and Mathematics was established in the fall 2005.  This facilitated learning approach has been implemented in all six departments in the Division and evaluation results suggest a number of benefits of this approach, including improved performance of students matriculating in the sciences, reduced attrition from the sciences, and ultimately, an increased number of students graduating and pursuing Ph.D.’s in the sciences.  Dr. Adams is responsible for management and oversight of the PLTL implementation, including student and faculty training, compliance with funding requirements, student and faculty compensation, program expansion, and evaluation of the initiative.  Since its inception five years ago, the PLTL initiative has been significantly enhanced and includes faculty training, student training, and implementation of a comprehensive evaluation strategy, expansion of PLTL implementation into all departments, evaluation of the program by PLTL experts, and recognition of PLTL peer leaders.  Dr. Adams led the effort leadership to hold a PLTL dissemination conference for undergraduate institutions that was held in the fall 2009 and featured leaders in the PLTL movement from across the nation.
Dr. Adams led the establishment of the Division’s Leadership and Professional Development Initiative.  This Initiative is based on “a shared, baseline understanding of leadership as a set of attitudes and interpersonal behaviors that empower self and others to influence outcomes for the better.”  Established in the spring 2011, the planning for the initiative, including the conduct of multiple focus groups and integration of data generated by faculty and staff feedback as well as informed by the Division’s strategic plan, was completed over the 2009-2010 academic year.  The first activity, a “Visioning Retreat” was conducted to engage division leaders in a discussion of division goals, issues and practices that will be addressed in the initiative.  Recently, an “All Employee Symposium” was held to engage faculty and administrators in a discussion of the Division’s strategic plans and to introduce faculty and staff to the goals and curriculum of the initiative.  The Leadership Initiative will be fully implemented and evaluated during the 2011-12 academic year.

Dr. Adams is the director of the Morehouse College MBRS RISE Program. The NIH funded research training program has been successful in increasing student academic performance as well as increasing the numbers of students from the Division who pursue graduate training in the biomedical sciences.  The Program also has been instrumental in establishing a collaborative relationship between research training programs at the College and the Atlanta University Center.  The Program has been innovative in a number of ways, including establishing a graduated mentoring model designed to meet students’ changing needs, a “vertical mentoring” component that formalizes support and mentoring by and for students, a summer laboratory techniques course to prepare students for upper-level research experiences, and an innovative evaluation that includes establishment of a comparison group to assess long-term outcomes.

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Dr. Adams participated in the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Institute at Wellesley College.  HERS is designed to advance women leaders in higher education administration.  Dr. Adams completed multiple assignments designed to develop women higher education administrators in a number of areas, including career mapping, leadership development, leading institutional change and training in institutional finance.

Dr. Adams has published in the areas of stress reactivity and John Henryism, a behavioral coping style common in African Americans that predisposes them to hypertension.  She has also published chapters on feminist views of child sexual abuse and historical views of the sexual harassment and abuse of African American women.  Most recently, Dr. Adams co-authored a chapter focused on lessons learned from the implementation of PLTL and the implementation of the Leadership and Professional Development Initiative at Morehouse College.  She is also a co-author on a chapter in preparation focusing on promising training program for women in science.