By Adrian Auman, College of Arts & Sciences
PULLMAN, Wash. – During her 42 years on the faculty at Washington State University, Frances K. “Fran” McSweeney has demonstrated great personal and professional commitment to the WSU community and has profoundly influenced the university’s direction and progress.
She was honored with the President’s Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service at the Showcase Celebrating Excellence Banquet Friday night.
From assistant professor of psychology in 1974, McSweeney rose through the ranks to serve as an Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professor, chair of the Department of Psychology for two terms, president of the Association for Faculty Women, chair of the Faculty Senate and chair or co-chair of many essential committees universitywide. She was named vice provost for faculty affairs in 2003 and Regents professor of psychology in 2004.
She has been an inspirational teacher of hundreds of students in a variety of courses in psychology and has trained 15 doctoral and 20 master’s degree students in the field.
At the same time, she has advanced knowledge within her discipline while elevating the university’s profile and impact by maintaining a robust research agenda. She has published more than 100 articles in a broad range of leading journals, served on several editorial boards and held a variety of offices in professional organizations.
McSweeney’s scholarly achievements have been recognized both inside and outside the university with numerous honors and awards, including the WSU Eminent Faculty Award, the Associated Faculty Women’s Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award and the Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and Arts. She was recognized by her WSU peers for her research and teaching accomplishments when she was selected to give the Distinguished Faculty Address in 1995.
A fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society and Association for Behavior Analysis, she has received support for her work from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health. Her research focuses on behavior and reinforcement.
Perhaps her greatest legacy derives from her role as vice provost for faculty affairs, said one of the people who nominated her for the lifetime service award.
“Strongly committed to the support and success of faculty, Dr. McSweeney was instrumental in developing best practices for faculty policies in such areas as professional development, salaries, hiring, mentoring, performance reviews, tenure and promotion practices. She has supported a wide variety of ‘faculty-friendly’ policies and initiated a series of annual workshops for faculty and staff in administrative positions.
“All of these activities have been extremely important in advancing WSU at many levels,” the colleague said.
As co-principal investigator on a five-year ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant awarded by NSF to WSU, McSweeney helped develop a system of faculty support that promotes career-long excellence in STEM disciplines for women and men, with a focus on removing obstacles to recruiting, hiring, retaining and advancing a quality, diverse faculty.