Judah Viola’s journey to becoming a Ph.D. and NLU’s dean of the College of Professional Studies and Advancement started when he was a kid playing basketball at a YMCA in Massachusetts, according to a profile by Marco Buscaglia Dec. 4 in the Chicago Tribune.
He wondered why the YMCA members, who ranged from homeless people to cops and symphony musicians, were all friendly inside the gym, but outside, boundaries of race and class divided them.
Studying psychology in college, Viola questioned professors about why they didn’t take the results of their research and use what they had learned to make real improvements in people’s lives. He was told that their job was to focus on the research, not applying it in the real world.
That eventually led him to community psychology. After obtaining his Ph.D. in the field, he came to NLU to teach and develop curriculum for the doctoral community psychology program–with an eye toward implementing research findings in the real world. He was later named chair of the department, and in 2015, became CPSA’s first dean.