Brehm, Sharon

Sharon S.
Brehm, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Sharon S. Brehm
  • First female Chancellor at the University of Indiana
  • Associate Dean for KU CLAS, Director of the College Honors Program and Director of the Graduate Division
  • Dean of Harpur College at SUNY-Binghamton and Provost at Ohio University
  • 1981: Fulbright Award to study in France at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris
  • 1988: Editor and contributor of Seeing Female: Social Roles and Personal Lives
  • Author of Intimate Relationships, characterizing transition period of changing women’s roles

Sharon Stephen Brehms, former Professor of Psychology at the University of Kansas, has been described as a “‘friendly workaholic’ with and infinite amount of energy and a commitment to excellence.”  As the first female Chancellor at the University of Indiana, she has been noted by former colleague Donald Blake as “…very committed to making education available to as many people as possible with scholarships, is in constant contact with students, staff and administrators, has an excellent track record with completing projects… She is a very clear manager.  She makes you feel connected. She holds people accountable and recognizes their achievements.”

She earned her BA in Psychology, magna cum laude, from Duke University in 1967.  She received her MA in Social Relations from Harvard in 1968 and then returned to Duke to complete her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 1973.  After teaching psychology for one year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, she joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1975.

Dr. Brehm also has extensive experience working with children in a hospital setting.  She served from 1968-69 as a Staff Psychologist in the Adolescent Unit of the Northeast Nassau Psychiatric Hospital in New York and was a Research Assistant with the Child Research Project at University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital from 1969-1970.  She also spent one year as a Clinical Psychology Intern at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle.

Among the books she has published include The Application of Social Psychology to Clinical Practice, Social Psychology for Houghton Mifflin, Help for Your Child: A Parent’s Guide to Mental Health Services (1978), and Seeing Female: Social Roles and Personal Lives (1988).  This last book, of which Brehm was the editor for, was a collaboration of 11 women scholars, including herself and other KU Women’s Hall of Fame members Aletha Huston, Dorthy Pennington, and Frances Horowitz.  She is also the author the Random House book entitled Intimate Relationships.  This book characterized heterosexual roles with the transition period of changing women’s roles.  It discussed such social aspects as the availability of effective birth control and the work force, both of which increased the independence of women and diminished their needs for marriage and male protection.  Regarding this work, Brehm explained, “The old gender arrangements are decaying, but the new ones have not yet evolved…We need to learn new ways to negotiate with each other.  We need to create new norms that facilitate decision-making between equals.” 

As well as her own numerous published research articles, Dr. Brehm also has served on the editorial boards for the Journals of Personality, Clinical and Social Psychology, and Autism and Developmental Disorders, the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and Contemporary Psychology.  She has also submitted monographs to the Society for Research in Child Development and the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.  She is a member of the American Psychology Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and the National Council on Family Relations.

Her research has also taken her abroad.  In the summer of 1978, she was a Visiting Professor at the University of Manheim, West Germany, and she was a Visiting Professor at the Instituto di Psicologia, Centre Nationale Researche, Rome, Italy in 1989.  She also received a Fulbright Award to study in France at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris from 1981 to 1982; her research there revolved around developing a theoretical model of nurturant interactions among adults.

For the academic year of 1985-86, Professor Brehm was one of six KU professors who received Intra-University Professorships to study and teach outside of their disciplines.  She travelled to the Department of Religious Studies, where she worked on research regarding the “social support processes among religious and secular women” and medieval saints such as Saint Teresa of Avila.

She became the Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in January of 1987.  With this post, she also served as Director of the College Honors Program and Director of the Graduate Division.  Dr. Brehm furthered her administrative career after leaving the University of Kansas.  She served for six years as the Dean of Harpur College at SUNY-Binghamton, then became the Provost at Ohio University.  She then became the first female Chancellor at Indiana University-Bloomington, where she also serves as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, in 2001.  When asked about being the first female at that position, she simply laughed and commented, “I think it’s just great.  What a good idea.”

  • Brehm, S. S. (1978). Help for your child: A parent's guide to mental health services. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Brehm, S. S. (1976). The application of social psychology to clinical practice. Washington, DC: Hemisphere.
  • Brehm, S. S., & Brehm, J. W. (1981). Psychological reactance: A theory of freedom and control. New York: Academic Press.
  • Brehm, S. S. (Ed.). (1988). Seeing female: Social roles and personal lives. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • Brehm, S. S., Kassin, S. M., & Fein, S. (2005). Social psychology (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Brehm, S. S., Kassin, S. M., & Gibbons, F. X. (Eds.). (1981). Developmental social psychology: Theory and research. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Miller, R., Perlman, D., & Brehm, S. S. (2007). Intimate relationships (4th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
  • Wright, R. A., Greenberg, J., & Brehm, S. S. (Eds.). (2004). Motivational analyses of social behavior: Building on Jack Brehm’s contributions to psychology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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