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James R. Cook University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA

Dr. James R. (Jim) Cook, Professor of Psychology, has been on the faculty at UNC Charlotte since 1980, after receiving his Ph.D. from Indiana University.  Consistent with his identity as a community psychologist, he has worked to foster community change that improves the lives of people who: (1) are economically and socially disadvantaged; and (2) have disabilities, with special emphasis on the needs of children and families. With faculty and students, he works in partnership with community programs, to help them collect, manage, and use data to improve their ability to address peoples’ needs.  

Dr. Cook has led government and foundation funded-community-university partnerships that foster and sustain change efforts. He headed a HUD-funded Community Outreach Partnership Center and has co-led (with Ryan Kilmer) efforts to evaluate and support early childhood education, mental health, and neighborhood improvement programs.  In addition, he led the effort to create the UNC Charlotte Institute for Social Capital, which brings together university researchers and community agencies to use data to inform and guide services.

In recognition of his efforts, Dr. Cook has received awards from local nonprofit organizations. He has also been honored with the UNC Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Public Service, for demonstrating “sustained, distinguished, and superb achievement in university public service and outreach...improving the quality of life of the citizens of North Carolina”; the inaugural UNC Charlotte Provost’s Faculty Award for Community Engagement, for work that embodies “the University’s commitment to civic involvement”; and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Society of Community Research and Action, in recognition of “exemplary and innovative contributions to the education of students about community psychology and community research and action”.