WFU graduate named the first Chief Scientific Officer of APA

Russell Shilling, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer at American Psychological Association; fmr DARPA PM; Navy Capt(ret); Experimental Psychologist

December 4, 2018   REPRINT OF ARTICLE AT:

APA Names Shilling as New Chief Scientific Officer

Brings broad experience as researcher, administrator

WASHINGTON — Russell D. Shilling, PhD, has been named the first chief scientific officer of the American Psychological Association, responsible for leading and implementing  the association’s transformational science agenda and advocating for the application of psychological science in settings to include academia, government, industry and the law.

Shilling, an experimental psychologist, has wide-ranging scientific, policy and administrative experience, including positions within education, the federal government and private industry. He also was a career aerospace experimental psychologist in the U.S. Navy until 2014, when he retired as a captain. He also served as co-chair of the White House National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology: Digital Games Group, a national policy team on the use of games in education.

“Dr. Shilling is an excellent choice to continue to raise the profile of psychological science and promote APA’s standing as the pre-eminent association representing psychological research and researchers,” said APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, in announcing the appointment. “His rich background will be an asset to the association and the work ahead.”

Under Evans’s leadership, the association’s top science post has been elevated to chief scientific officer, broadening the position to connect key areas of the association and increase interaction with external entities such as scientific organizations, federal funding agencies, foundations, policymakers and academic institutions.

“I look forward to leveraging my broad background and my focus on fostering innovation to help APA meet the various challenges confronting psychological science today and help APA create the roadmap to the future,” Shilling said. He assumes the position on Dec. 17.

Before joining APA, Shilling was senior innovation fellow for education research and development with Digital Promise Global, a position funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to develop innovative funding and program management strategies to foster breakthrough advances in education. Immediately before that, he spent three years as executive director of the Office of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the U.S. Department of Education, a political appointment created to coordinate efforts across the department, the White House and other federal agencies.

From 2010 to 2014, Shilling was a program manager at the federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, where he oversaw teams exploring the use of artificial intelligence to promote the psychological health of service members and the use of advanced analytics in educational games.

Shilling also spent six years as a program manager for Sesame Street/Electric Company Military Child Resilience Programs and three years as executive director for science and technology with the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. In 2005, Shilling created the first military-sponsored program focused on using virtual reality to enhance therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder.

His teaching experience includes serving as an associate professor at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Shilling holds a PhD and an MA in experimental psychology (psychoacoustics/neuroscience) from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University.

Shillings succeeds Steven J. Breckler, PhD, who was APA’s executive director for science until 2014, and Howard S. Kurtzman, PhD, who held the ED post on an interim basis upon Breckler’s departure and will remain at APA.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

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