Skip navigation links

April 3, 2015

MSU scholar honored for helping rape victims

A Michigan State University professor who supports sexual assault victims as a researcher, advocate and volunteer has been recognized by the American Psychological Association for her efforts.

The APA’s Society for Community Research & Action has awarded Rebecca Campbell with its 2015 Award for Special Contributions to Public Policy.

Campbell, professor of psychology, has been active in the anti-violence social movement since 1989 and has spent 10 years working as a volunteer rape victim advocate in hospital emergency departments.

Her research focuses on violence against women, specifically sexual assault, and how the legal, medical and mental systems respond to the needs of rape survivors.

Campbell works to turn her research into policy reform at the local, state and national levels; engages the news media to promote public dialogue; and advocates for legislative reform on behalf of sexual assault victims.

In one high-profile project, Campbell recently served as an independent evaluator for a federally funded effort to determine why more than 10,000 sexual assault kits went untested in Detroit.

Campbell also received the 2015 Outstanding Educator Award from the Society for Community Research & Action.

The award recognizes an SCRA member who has made exemplary and innovative contributions to the education of students about community psychology and community research and action.

Campbell was cited for innovative teaching strategies that integrate theory and practice. Her course on community program evaluation, for example, was cited by a number of former students and colleagues as an example of her innovative and action-oriented approach to teaching. Students partner with community-based organizations, work with their partners to engage community members and other stakeholders, and formulate and carry out an evaluation designed to contribute meaningful information to the agencies and the communities they serve.

Many of Campbell’s students have gone on to faculty positions or to engage in community-based practice in a range of organizations and settings. In a joint letter from many former students, they remarked that her classes were a “transformative experience” that provided a safe space to engage in the “key debates and tensions within the field” and to situate themselves in that broader perspective.