Paul Nelson Award

2016 Paul Nelson Award Winner Sharon L. Berry, PhD, ABPP, with Catherine Grus, PhD

2016 Paul Nelson Award Winner Sharon L. Berry, PhD, ABPP, with Catherine Grus, PhD

2012 Paul Nelson Award Winner Robert Hatcher, PhD, with Catherine Grus, PhD

2012 Paul Nelson Award Winner Robert Hatcher, PhD, with Catherine Grus, PhD

2011 Paul Nelson Award Winner Catherine Grus, PhD (left), with Kristi Van Sickle, PsyD, and Sharon Berry, PhD.

2011 Paul Nelson Award Winner Catherine Grus, PhD (left), with Kristi Van Sickle, PsyD, and Sharon Berry, PhD.


The Paul Nelson Award recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant, long-term service to the professional education and training, as evidenced by leadership in bringing together parties in a common purpose to address important problems. While many awards already recognize outstanding “achievement” in psychology, the Paul Nelson Award recognizes the spirit and model of collaboration established by Paul in his work with CCTC, a true statesman and diplomat.

History of the Award

Since the inception of the Paul Nelson Award, CCTC has recognized outstanding psychologists as worthy of this highest honor in professional education and training. Dr. Paul Nelson was the original recipient of this eponymous award. In 2007, Dr. Ted Packard was the unanimous choice of CCTC members, who recognized him for his many contributions to the APA Committee on Accreditation (CoA), including leading the re-organization of CoA and thereby creating a Commission that better represented the diverse constituencies in professional psychology education. In 2008, Dr. Cynthia Belar was selected by acclamation for her many meaningful contributions to training in psychology at the national level. Emil Rodolfa received the award in 2009, and in 2010 it was awarded to Nadya Fouad, recognizing her successful efforts to advance competency based education and training.

In November 2011, CCTC presented the Nelson award to Catherine Grus, PhD in “recognition of her wise diplomacy and gentle guidance…. Her stewardship of CCTC has greatly fostered collaboration and cooperation in the education and training of professional psychologists.” In October 2012, CCTC presented the Nelson Award to Robert Hatcher, PhD. Susan Zlotlow was the recipient in 2013 due to her outstanding and tireless service in the areas of accreditation and consultation. The 2014 recipient of the Paul Nelson Award, in 2014 is Liz Klonoff, who helped unify the field as she presided over the revisions of the accreditation standards.

Copyright Charles Votaw Photography 2006About Paul Nelson:

In a career spanning more than 50 years, including 24 of them at APA, Paul Nelson, Ph.D., has been a central force in shaping accreditation, psychology specialization, the development of training councils, and the preparation of psychology faculty. Dr. Nelson has been one of APA’s most visible representatives of education since before APA formed its Education Directorate. As the director of accreditation for 15 years, Dr. Nelson was instrumental in reorganizing the accreditation system, developing guidelines, and fostering the development of the Committee on Accreditation. He also served as the initial interim director of the Education Directorate and from there, became the deputy executive director of the Directorate and director of the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Education and Training. During the past decade, Dr. Nelson has been instrumental in bringing together diverse, and sometimes conflicting, groups to address key issues in education and training. The Council of Chairs of Training Councils is one venue through which Paul’s legacy continues. Often called the “ultimate diplomat,” Dr. Paul Nelson has left an indelible mark on the field of professional psychology. To honor his knowledge, integrity, and stewardship of psychology, CCTC presents the Paul Nelson Award.

Definition/criteria: CCTC recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant, long-term service to the professional education and training community by bestowing on them the Paul Nelson Award. In the mold of Dr. Nelson, individuals are recognized for making exceptional contributions to the collegial environment and culture of psychology education and training, as evidenced by leadership in bringing together parties in a common purpose to address important problems.

Rationale: The existence of CCTC speaks to Dr. Nelson’s vision of bringing together people with conflicting points of view, in a manner that allows them to forge alliances and relationships that create the foundation for finding common ground and resolving problems. While many awards already recognize outstanding “achievement” in psychology, the Paul Nelson Award recognizes the spirit and model of collaboration established by Paul in his work with CCTC, a true statesman and diplomat.

Frequency: The Paul Nelson award will be on the CCTC agenda every spring for consideration of bestowal. Because CCTC reserves the award for truly exceptional and extraordinary contributions to the professional education community, the award is not necessarily granted on an annual basis, but rather, is determined at the discretion of CCTC following an annual review of nominees.

Selection process: Any member of CCTC shall have the right to nominate a person to receive the Paul Nelson Award. The nomination shall be forwarded to the President of CCTC, and all nominations will be considered at the spring meeting. The decision to give the award shall be by consensus, in keeping with the usual practice of CCTC. The award will be presented at an appropriate time and place, dependent on the recipient.

Funding: The award should be recognized with an engraved plaque. Funds for the plaque may be collected by voluntary donations from CCTC members.