Department of Psychology
School Psychology Primary Program Faculty
Currently, Drs. Ruth Kelly, Tracy Cruise, Julie Herbstrith, and Jeff Laurent are the faculty with primary responsibility for the program.
Classes are taught by many other faculty members within the Psychology Department as well as in departments within the College of Education and Human Services. We receive more than 100 program inquiries and 40 applications annually. Approximately 8 - 10 students are accepted into the Program each year.
Dr. Ruth M. Kelly, Program Coordinator
Dr. Kelly earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked as a school psychologist in St. Cloud, MN for 12 years before coming to Western in 1994 to be part of the School Psychology Program. Dr. Kelly teaches the introduction to school psychology seminar along with sharing second year practicum duties with Dr. Cruise.
Dr. Kelly has published and presented research on the topics of ethical training of school psychology students and assessment issues related to learning disabilities. She is co-chair of the statewide school psychology intern supervision group that plans and presents workshops annually for all interns and their supervisors across the state.
Dr. Tracy K. Cruise
Dr. Cruise came to WIU in 1998 with a Masters’ degree in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in School Psychology from Illinois State University. Dr. Cruise splits her time between teaching undergraduate and graduate coursework, teaching and supervising students in the School Psychology Specialist Program and supervising students in the Clinical/Community Mental Health Master’s Program. She teaches individual and group counseling components of practica.
Dr. Cruise has published and presented research in the areas of child abuse and neglect, and supervision. She has also been an integral part of the statewide school psychology intern supervision group that plans and presents workshops annually for all interns and their supervisors across the state.
Dr. Julie C. Herbstrith
Dr. Julie C. Herbstrith earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Illinois State University. Before joining the Psychology faculty, she served as an adjunct faculty member at WIU and worked as a school psychologist in central Illinois. Dr. Herbstrith teaches courses in child and adolsecent psychopathology, behavioral consultation, and psychological interventions.
Dr. Herbstrith's research focuses on prejudice toward gay men and lesbians. Specifically, she investigates the extent to which negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians exist and what factors are related to how people express or withhold these attitudes. Dr. Herbstrith's work also includes developing a connection between her research findings and the practice of school psychology by providing professional development training to school personnel, including teachers, administrators and school psychologists.
Dr. Jeff Laurent
Dr. Laurent joined the Program faculty in 2006. Dr. Laurent earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. He taught at Illinois State University and the University of Alabama. Most recently, he worked as a school psychologist in central Illinois before coming to Western. He teaches the intellectual assessment class along with the second semester assessment practicum.
Dr. Laurent’s research interests center around anxiety and depression among youth. He serves on the editorial board of Journal of Applied School Psychology.
Dr. Paula S. Wise, Emeritus Professor
Dr. Wise arrived at Western Illinois University in 1977 with a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. She served as coordinator of the School Psychology Program from 1978 to 2008.