18:00 PM

New Ohio Eminent Scholar strengthens university’s psychology department

Ohio State University continues to build on its strengths in psychology by hiring a new Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology.

Jennifer Crocker comes to Ohio State from the University of Michigan, where she has been a professor of psychology since 1995.

The Ohio Eminent Scholars Program was created by the Ohio General Assembly and is administered by the Ohio Board of Regents. Its goal is to enhance the national eminence of selected outstanding academic programs at Ohio universities by attracting nationally recognized scholars.

Crocker’s recent research has focused on how people develop their personal goals and the things they do that sabotage their success.

Crocker’s outstanding record of research will make her a strong addition to the faculty, said Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at Ohio State.

"It is most exciting that Dr. Jennifer Crocker will be joining the Ohio State Department of Psychology as an Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology,” Whitacre said.

“Her work on self-esteem and the costs of pursuing self-esteem as a personal goal is groundbreaking and has won national and international acclaim."

She is also currently the president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, a position that was most recently held by Richard Petty, chair of Ohio State’s Department of Psychology.

“Dr. Crocker is one of the most highly regarded social psychologists of her generation,” Petty said.

“As current president of the largest professional organization of social psychologists in the world, she brings additional international distinction and attention to our department and Ohio State.”

Crocker said she was honored to be selected as an Eminent Scholar.

“The Eminent Scholar program is just an unusually great opportunity,” she said. “I’ve known many of the people in Ohio State’s social psychology group for years, and they are doing exciting and groundbreaking work. I’m glad to be a part of that.”

Crocker said she plans to continue her work examining how people develop their goals, and how they are often unsuccessful when their goals center around themselves.

“When people focus on themselves and their ego, they are usually less effective – that’s what our research is showing,” she said.

“It’s really about developing goals that transcend the self. It’s not about sacrificing yourself for other people, but finding goals that are good for yourself and for others, and recognizing that your own well-being is interdependent with the people around you.”

Crocker said one area of her research that she finds particularly satisfying is studying students’ transition to college. For example, in a study published last month, Crocker and her colleagues studied college roommates and how their relationships depended on how responsive each roommate perceived the other to be.

Crocker said she hopes to take her research into the classroom.

“I love teaching undergraduates and I hope to continue doing that,” she said.

“I find that the things that I study can be very helpful to undergraduate students in sorting out their own goals and realizing in what ways they may be getting in their own way. I find that very satisfying.”

Crocker replaces Marilynn Brewer, who has retired.

The Ohio Board of Regents has awarded the university 22 Ohio Eminent Scholars.