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Karen Neal , Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor , Psychology Department
  • College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Neal graduated with honors in Child and Family Services from Carson Newman University in Jefferson City, TN. Upon graduation, she entered the University of Tennessee to pursue a M.S. in Child and Family Studies and Counseling Psychology. During this time, she was a graduate assistant in the Child Development Laboratory and participated in the research project SEARCH, one of the first preschool aged programs in the nation to mainstream children with autism with children who were typically functioning. After graduation, she held a variety of positions, including Director of a military child development center, private practice as a Child and Family Therapist, Family Advocacy Program Specialist in spouse and child abuse, In-home Therapeutic Social Worker for children’s county mental health, and Child Development Associate Representative for the national non-profit, Child Development Associates. Then, Dr. Neal entered the Applied Developmental Psychology PhD program at George Mason University. There she held both research and teaching assistantships, focusing her research on children's social, emotional and moral development. Her dissertation focused on Parental Influences on Children's Propensity to Forgive. Prior to arriving at Queens University of Charlotte, she taught in seven other colleges and universities. At Queens, Dr. Neal has served in both the Psychology and Human Service Studies departments, and was previously the head of the Human Service Studies department. Dr. Neal has published numerous research papers in the Journal of Human Services, and has contributed chapters to The Handbook of Forgiveness and the International Journal of Marriage and Family. She has presented her research to the National Organization of Human Services, the Southern Organization of Human Services, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Conference on Human Development, APA's Conference on Religion and Spirituality, and the Campaign for Forgiveness. She has also presented to the Ukrainian Research Institute of Children and Adolescents Health Care and the Institute of Children and Juveniles Health Protection of the AMSU in Kharkov, Ukraine. Dr. Neal continues to work with pediatric medical and psychological staff to improve the lives of children in Ukraine, most recently focusing on aiding in the development of a pediatric palliative care system and policy for Ukraine. She is a member of the American Psychological Association, Developmental and Teaching divisions, the National Association of Young Children, the Society for Research in Child Development, and the National Organization of Human Services, through which she won the National President's Award in 2009.


  • B.S.  - Family Services; Carson Newman University
  • M.S.  - Child and Family Studies and Counseling Psychology; University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • Ph.D.  - Applied Developmental Psychology; George Mason University


  • National President's Award 2009 National Organization of Human Services
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