Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology was the nation’s first university-based professional school of psychology. Since its historic founding in 1972, it has earned international recognition for its pre-eminence in psychology and related disciplines.

About Gordon F. Derner, PhD

The school is named for its founding dean, Gordon F. Derner, PhD, who came to Adelphi in 1950 and, in 1951, started the clinical training program, which was accredited in 1957. Dr. Derner was a respected clinical psychologist and exemplary administrator and teacher. His former students include Paul Ekman, PhD ’58, ScD’08 (Hon.), whose research has transformed our understanding of emotion and its nonverbal expression and who was named one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century by the American Psychological Association. Nicholas Cummings, PhD ’58, former chief of mental health for The Kaiser Permanente Health System and the founder of the California School of Professional Psychology, calls Dr. Derner “one of my very early heroes.” Beverly Greene, M.A. ’77, PhD ’83, a professor in the Department of Psychology at St. John’s University who is admired for her pioneering work in multicultural psychology, credits Dr. Derner with emphasizing the importance of diversity in student recruitment.


Gordon F. Derner, PhD, the inaugural dean, initiated the clinical training program in 1951, which achieved accreditation in 1957.


Adelphi’s postgraduate program in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy launched.


Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies became the nation’s first university-based professional school of psychology.


A year after Dr. Derner’s passing, the Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies was named in his memory. That year, George Stricker, PhD, the assistant dean since its founding, was named dean.

George Stricker arrived at Adelphi in 1963, primarily to work with the legendary Gordon Derner in the doctoral program in clinical psychology. In addition to his many Adelphi contributions, he continues to be one of the foremost researchers and practitioners in his field.


Dr. George Stricker retired in 1992, and Robert Mendelsohn, PhD, was appointed dean.


The Institute accepted its first class in a program leading to the Master of Arts in General Psychology.


In September 1998, the Department of Psychology became part of the Derner Institute as its undergraduate division, offering the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. This merger united the faculty and integrated the resources of a broad, methodologically rigorous curriculum with those of a respected professional school of clinical psychology.


Louis H. Primavera, PhD, was named dean in 2000. In 2002, the Derner Institute introduced an MA program in School Psychology. The program was nationally accredited in 2012 by the National Association of School Psychologists and its accreditation was renewed in 2016.


Jacques Barber, PhD was appointed dean. After 12 years of dedicated service, groundbreaking research and numerous academic publications and awards, Jacques Barber, PhD, stepped down from his role as the sixth dean in 2023.


As of August 2017, Adelphi University’s prestigious Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies became the Gordon F. Derner School of Psychology.


In 2023, J. Christopher Muran, PhD, was appointed dean after serving as interim dean of Derner, leading the School through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, faculty members teach across the various levels and programs, and students with different levels of training can collaborate with and learn from each other. Also, Derner School of Psychology professors with complementary areas of expertise are better able to work together on research. Thus, Derner provides a rich learning experience from the undergraduate level all the way through the postdoctoral level in one integrated setting dedicated to the teaching, research and practice of psychology.

Phone Number
More Info
Hy Weinberg Center, 220
Search Menu