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Wrobel Receives University Professor Recognition

Gretchen Miller Wrobel was recently appointed University Professor of Psychology.

Gretchen Miller Wrobel has been named University Professor of Psychology, just the sixth Bethel faculty member to earn University Professor recognition. The distinction honors full-time faculty members for sustained excellence in scholarship, teaching, research, or creative activity in their field.

After joining the Bethel University faculty in 1988 as assistant professor of psychology, Wrobel became part of the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project, one of the most important longitudinal, multifaceted studies of adoption in the world.. “It was the depth and prominence of her research as part of this study that set her apart, driving her scholarly agenda and linking Bethel undergraduates and graduates to research in the field,” says  President Jay Barnes.

Barnes, along with a committee including Mark Strauss, University Professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary; Craig Paulson, professor of education at the Graduate School; and Teresa DeGolier, professor of biology in the College of Arts & Sciences, selected Wrobel as the sixth University Professor for her depth of scholarship, teaching, service to Bethel, and her international reputation. “The committee was unanimous in agreeing that the University Professor criteria of being an intellectual leader, change agent, and significant contributor to her field beyond campus have been met,” says Barnes.

“Gretchen’s work is frequently cited in the scholarly literature and she is highly respected in many disciplines and professions, including psychology, sociology, child development, and social work,” says Ruth G. McRoy, Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professor at Boston College, who submitted a letter of reference for Wrobel for this appointment. “She is an excellent teacher, intellectual leader, presenter, writer, and is a very dedicated researcher, who is well known both nationally and internationally.”

Ruth Nelson, Bethel University associate professor of psychology, was mentored by Wrobel during her student days at Bethel and commends her for “her calling to continue to make a difference in the lives touched by adoption, undergirded by her and Bethel’s core values to be a learner, truth-seeker, reconciler, and world-changer through her scholarship.”

Adam Johnson, Bethel University professor of psychology, states that his decision to come to Bethel was influenced by Wrobel’s ability to teach well and to conduct high-level research in the behavioral sciences. “Dr. Wrobel’s work has been definitive,” he says. “Her many invitations to review, her role as an editor, the invited paper offers she receives, and the many languages into which her work has been translated indicate this status.”

Wrobel  completed an undergraduate degree at Hamline University, St. Paul, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Minnesota.  Before coming to Bethel, she was a school psychologist, teacher, and graduate researcher. Her career accomplishments include more than 30 peer-reviewed articles or book chapters, 27 invited presentations, numerous manuscript reviews, and past editorship of Adoption Quarterly.


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