Center for Applied Psychological Research

Mission Statement | Goals and Objectives | Research and Funded Activity | Service Profile | Conclusion

Frank Andrasik, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Chair
Director of CAPR
Phone: 901.678.2146

Founded in 1984, the Center for Applied Psychological Research is one of the original Tennessee Centers of Excellence, and it is now designated an Accomplished Center of Excellence. Over the twenty-three years that have elapsed since CAPR began, CAPR has far exceeded all benchmarks set for its performance. CAPR faculty have attracted millions of dollars in extramural funding to the State of Tennessee, published hundreds of scholarly works, graduated hundreds of masters and doctoral students and many times that number of undergraduates, been elected or appointed to many national professional offices, and won numerous local and national honors and awards. By any standard CAPR is one of the most successful centers ever funded under the State of Tennessee's Centers of Excellence program.

CAPR Mission Statement

The faculty members in CAPR apply scientific methods and knowledge of psychology to the solution of problems in individuals, communities, and society. The faculty advance scientific research and theory in addition to solving practical problems. CAPR is one of the original Tennessee Centers of Excellence that was established in 1984. CAPR is now designated an Accomplished Center of Excellence, in recognition of the Center's consistently high quality of research, teaching, and service over the years. During the last decade, faculty in the CAPR have brought in and expended over $30 million in external funding, published over 1500 scholarly works, and graduated hundreds of masters and doctoral students. For every $1 invested in CAPR by the State of Tennessee, the faculty currently bring in another $5.50 as PI's on external grants. The 33 faculty in CAPR cover six areas of specialization: (1) behavioral medicine and community psychology, (2) neuropsychology and behavioral neuroscience, (3) child and family studies, (4) cognitive and social processes, (5) psychotherapy and psychopathology, and (6) industrial and organizational psychology. In order to convey the scope of CAPR more concretely, some research projects that are currently funded by external grants are presented in the subsequent pages.

CAPR Goals and Objectives

Since its inception, the three primary goals of the CAPR have always been (a) to achieve national prominence for its accomplishments, (b) to increase the number of trained psychologists able to conduct, disseminate, and apply such research, and (c) to secure extramural funding to facilitate research and training. In addition, as part of a Psychology Department in a major urban research university, CAPR supports the general teaching, research, and service missions of the department and university.

CAPR Service Profile

In addition, CAPR faculty share their knowledge and expertise with the city and state in numerous other ways. For example, during the last several years, the CAPR faculty included (a) a member of the Task Force on Autism of the State of Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation; (b) a research consultant to Leadership Memphis; (c) President of the Advisory Board of Project R.A.P. (Responsible Adolescent Parenting), a local project to prevent teen pregnancies; (d) a member of a state committee to develop standards of practice guidelines and legislative actions on the issue of sexual misconduct by mental health professionals; (e) a member of the Shelby County Environmental Improvement Commission; (f) consultants to the Environmental Court (General Sessions, Division 14, Judge Potter) to improve the flow of cases through the court; (g) consultants to several state agencies to improve highway safety; (h) consultants to a survey to identify the best location of the Internal Revenue Service Center in Memphis; and (i) the co-host of a weekly television news piece to improve health called "Ask the Prevention Center". CAPR faculty provide most of these services at no charge to the recipients.

CAPR Conclusion

The CAPR has been an excellent investment for the citizens of Tennessee, in terms of research and teaching productivity, in terms of attracting external grant dollars, and in terms of having an impact on the real problems of our community and state. But as we enter our second decade of CAPR funding, we are already considering how we can improve on that first decade's performance. Self-evaluation is a regular part of our work; and every few years we bring in outside experts to give us critical feedback about how we can improve. In 1995 CAPR conducted one such review by bringing in our Board of Visitors for their advice, and as a result CAPR has initiated a major review of CAPR organization. One goal is to streamline our organizational structure to make it smaller, more efficient, and a better training experience for undergraduate and graduate students. Another goal is to ensure that CAPR dollars are being spent where they will produce the most return on the investment—in the specialty areas and faculty that have produced high quality basic or applied research, and on activities that contribute directly and demonstrably to our mission.