UIC psychologist recognized with career research award

University of Illinois Chicago social psychologist Bette Bottoms was named the inaugural recipient of the American Psychological Association’s 2023 Award for Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship.

Bette Bottoms UIC Professor Emerita of Psychology
Bette Bottoms, UIC professor emerita of psychology.

Bestowed by the association’s Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice division, the award honors an individual for a career of research that has “contributed significantly to society’s understanding of changes in public policies related to children and families or to the creation, evaluation or dissemination of evidence-based practices designed to help children and families affected by mental health problems or by difficult family relationships.”

Earning the honor for her “tireless efforts on behalf of advancing science to benefit children and families,” Bottoms is a professor emerita of psychology with decades of research expertise in the areas of child abuse, children’s eyewitness testimony, juror’s perceptions of child victims and offenders, and the impact of race and racism on group processes and decisions in cases involving minority victims and defendants.

Her work in psychology and law has been funded by the National Science Foundation and recognized with awards including the Saleem Shah Early Career Award for Contributions to Psychology and Law Research, which is sponsored by the American Psychology Law Society and the American Association of Forensic Psychologists.

She has edited five academic books related to children and the law, co-authored two handbooks for child forensic interviewing, published over 100 journal articles and book chapters and co-edited special issues of various journals.

Bottoms’ previous honors include a dozen national and university awards for excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching and mentoring, including the APA Division 2 Robert Daniels Award and UIC’s Silver Circle Award.

During her UIC career that spanned from 1992-2021, she held leadership posts as vice provost for undergraduate affairs and dean of the Honors College. She is a founding member of the national organization Honors Education at Research Universities.

Bottoms earned her doctorate in social psychology from SUNY-Buffalo, her master’s in cognitive psychology from the University of Denver and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College.

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