Psychology Professor Rick Straub set to retire after 41 years at UM-Dearborn

December 2, 2020

Professor of Psychology and founder of the Graduate Program in Health Psychology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn Richard O. Straub will retire at the end of 2020.

The College offers its congratulations to Prof. Straub for his four decades of contributions to the Department of Behavioral Sciences and the campus, and wish him a long, healthy, and joyful retirement.

Below you will find some of the highlights from his 41-year career at UM-Dearborn.

After receiving his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Columbia University and serving as a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow at the University of California, Irvine, Straub joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1979. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to professor in 1994.

Straub has focused on research in health psychology, especially mind-body issues in stress and the effects of exercise on physical and psychological health. His research has been published in such journals as Health Psychology, the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, and the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.  His market-leading text, Health Psychology, has been translated into several languages and is widely used by students around the world.

A recipient of UM-Dearborn’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Alumni Society’s Faculty Member of the Year Award, Straub is extensively involved in undergraduate and graduate medical education. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Michigan Consortium for Medical Education and lecturing regularly at area teaching hospitals, he has created an online learning management system for medical residency programs and authored a series of web-based modules for teaching core competencies in behavioral medicine. 

Back in 1991-92, Straub chaired the faculty governance body that advised the Provost, and he co-chaired the committee that created the campus-wide governance structure with a Faculty Senate that campus still has today. Later that year, he began the first of what would ultimately be five terms as Chair of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, a record almost unimaginable to anyone who has ever been a chair. In the interstices between two of his terms as Chair, he was recruited to serve as Associate Provost in 2007-08.

Straub’s professional devotion to health psychology dovetails with his personal devotion to fitness and good health. He has completed hundreds of road races and marathons (including multiple Boston marathons, Ironman triathlons, and the 2010 Ironman-Hawaii World Championship), and is a nationally ranked, USAT All-American triathlete.

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