Faculty Spotlight – Dr. Mintz

Mintz_NewsletterLaurie Mintz arrived at the University of Florida in October 2011, after 21 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia. While Mintz reports that leaving such deep personal and professional roots was initially difficult, she is now “fully a Gator” and loves being part of the UF Department of Psychology. Her full immersion is evidenced by the fact that she already has six graduate students and that in August 2013, she assumed the role of Associate Department Chairperson.

Dr. Mintz’s quick immersion in the department is no surprise, due to the wealth of experience she brought with her. At the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), Mintz rose in rank from Assistant to Associate to Full Professor. She also served for five years as the Training Director for the American Psychological Association-accredited Counseling Psychology Program. She subsequently served for four years as the campus Grievance Investigating Officer, a position jointly appointed by Faculty Council and the central administration which entailed mediating grievances between the faculty and administration. Mintz was lauded by “both sides” for her fairness and integrity. Additionally, after two years in the position, she suggested a complete overhaul of the grievance process, with the changes she suggested subsequently accepted not only by the MU, but the entire four-campus University of Missouri system.

Mintz brought similar vision to the Counseling Psychology profession when she led a group of colleagues from around the country in creating a policy to provide guidance in training students to work effectively with clients who hold religious or cultural values that collide with their own. This policy was subsequently adopted by the three major professional organizations in counseling psychology. This policy, and several papers surrounding it, also won a Major Contribution Award from The Counseling Psychologists and has become a cornerstone of training across the country.

Mintz is passionate about training and teaching. At the MU, she taught graduate classes including Sex, Therapy, Counseling Practicum, and Feminist Therapy. In the latter two, she did what few professors dare to do: she counseled a client while the students observed through a one-way mirror. Students described this experience as seminal in their training, and it is thus perhaps no wonder that Mintz won several teaching and mentoring awards at the University of Missouri.

As much as she enjoyed her graduate teaching, part of what drew Mintz to the University of Florida was the opportunity to teach undergraduate students—something she had been able to do only in the early years of her career at MU. Since coming to UF, Mintz has been teaching a large enrollment (150 plus students) class in the Psychology of Human Sexuality. Mintz says she loves teaching this class, and the students say they love Mintz’s teaching style as well. Students compliment Mintz on both her immense knowledge and for creating a safe and comfortable classroom atmosphere. Mintz and her students especially enjoy the classroom response system that Mintz incorporates into the class, allowing students to answer anonymous questions about their sexual opinions, values and behaviors to ascertain how their responses correspond to published research. Although Mintz has only taught the class twice, teaching evaluations and public comments on “Rate My Professor” consistently describe her as “the best professor I have ever had at UF.” She has been nominated for two teaching awards since arriving at UF. Likewise, graduate students report benefiting from her clinical supervision and mentorship during practicum at the UF Counseling and Wellness Center, and in fact, they nominated her for a Division of Counseling Psychology Supervisor of the Year Award, an award she was honored to receive.

Mintz is also widely known for her scholarship. She has been elected to Fellow Status of two divisions of the American Psychological Association (Counseling Psychology and Society for the Psychology of Women), signifying that she has made unusual and outstanding contributions and that her work has had a national impact on the field of psychology. For the first 20 plus years of her career, Mintz made her mark in researching eating disorders among women. She has been credited with bringing the notion of an eating disorder continuum to the field and in fact, one of her articles on this topic remains among the most highly cited in the field. She also authored an eating disorder assessment, which has been translated into approximately ten languages. Despite this success, in approximately 2009, Mintz switched focus and began to investigate the effectiveness of self-help books in general and those focused on sexual concerns in specific. Given that over 2000 self-help books are produced each year, the overwhelming majority of which are untested, and that Americans are more likely to turn to self-help than to seek the advice of professionals, Mintz believes this is a critically important endeavor.

Along with researching self-help, Mintz also creates it. She is the author of an empirically validated popular press book for women struggling with low sexual desire. She also has a Psychology Today blog with a large following; for example, she has amassed over 37,000 hits on her blog in the last three months alone. Mintz is also frequently interviewed by the popular media, having appeared in such outlets as Oprah.com, Huffington Post.com, National Public Radio, and Prevention magazine, to mention a few. All told, Mintz has been quoted in the media well over 1,000 times. Mintz says she “loves to give Psychology away.”

If you ask Mintz what is most important to her, however, she doesn’t list her many professional successes. It is meaningful relationships with others, including students, friends, and family, that are most significant to Mintz. Most important of all, she says, is her immediate family. Mintz has been married to Glenn Good, Dean of the College of Education, for over 25 years and says they only grow closer each year. Together, they have raised two loving, interesting, fun, and successful adult daughters, ages 21 and 24, who they love to spend time with.

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