Dr. John Snarey, professor of human development and ethics at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, has been elected Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), an honor rarely given to those teaching in seminaries.
Fellows may be elected through one of several divisions within the APA. Snarey was elected through the Division of Developmental Psychology.
The professor, now in this 20th year at Candler, was "thrilled" by the prestigious election and pleased that the review committee "recognized the unity of my work."
"This is a signal achievement for both Professor Snarey and for Candler," said Jan Love, dean of Candler School of Theology. "His research, like that of other Candler professors, stretches across disciplines to bring theology into significant interaction with other fields. I am delighted that a non-religious and non-theological professional association has recognized John for his remarkable scholarship."
Snarey is a developmental/cultural psychologist and educator whose areas of interest include adolescent and adult development, personality and social-moral development, and the psychology of religious experiences. He also serves as an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and the Division of Educational Studies. He has authored or co-authored or coedited six books and 60 articles or chapters.
"It's all about how people become better people," Snarey summarizes.
His recent interests include neuropsychology and a longitudinal study on the moral development of Liberian women. Snarey's lab at Emory University is devoted to the study of moral cognition, development, and education. Current projects make use of longitudinal, cross-cultural, and brain-imaging research methods.
The election "is a very great honor for him and the source of great pride
among his colleagues at the Candler School of Theology," said Dr. Timothy P. Jackson, associate professor of Christian ethics and chair of the Department of Christianity and Culture, the department in which Snarey works.
"Status as a Fellow is extended only to those 'who have shown evidence of unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology,' as the APA notes," Jackson continued. "Indeed, the individual must demonstrate 'national impact.'
"Professor Snarey continues to have a wonderful impact locally as well in such courses for his current students as 'The Psychology of Moral Development' and his 'Seminar on William James.' Jackson commented, "These classes are roundly admired for bridging the gap between abstract theory and lived experience in ethics and religion, and I have long wanted to sit in on them. I am now more determined than ever to do so."
Snarey grew up the son of a steelworker and grandson of a coalminer in western Pennsylvania. He believes he has been "unusually blessed in terms of opportunities that have come my way."
A graduate of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, PA, Snarey earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and completed postdoctoral studies in cognitive neuroscience at Emory University.
Previous accolades include the James D. Moran Book Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences for his 1993 book, "How Fathers Care for the Next Generation: A Four-decade Study," and the Moral Education Book Award from the Educational Research Association for his 2004 co-authored book, "Race-ing Moral Formation.