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Muehlenhard, Charlene

Charlene L.
Muehlenhard, PhD
Year Inducted: 
Charlene Muehlenhard
  • Leading expert in the areas of women and violence
  • Coordinator for the KU Women’s Studies Honors Program
  • Mid-Continent Region President for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex
  • Referenced in numerous popular magazines such as Self, Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Glamour
  • 1997: Winner of the W.T. Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching

Charlene Muehlenhard, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, is an outstanding professor and leader at the University of Kansas.  However, her work with women and violence, both in academia and in the community, has made her truly an influential scholar and champion of women’s well-being.

Professor Muehlenhard received her BA in Psychology and Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1973.  She attended the University of Wisconsin for her Clinical Psycholgy MS and PhD degrees, awarded in 1976 and 1981, respectively.  She taught as an Assistant Professor of Psychology from 1980-1988 at the University of Texas A&M before coming to the University of Kansas in 1988.  She is a licensed psychologist and therapist in the state of Texas; she supervised the Texas A&M university psychology clinic from 1986-1988 and also worked in private practice during that time.

Dr. Muehlenhard serves as the Coordinator for the Women’s Studies Honors Program.  She has also been a member of the Sexual Assault Forum, Women’s Studies Advisory Board, Psychology Department Clinical Admissions and Undergraduate Advisory committees, and the Women’s Studies Executive, Minority Faculty Search, and Curriculum committees.  She is a warmly-received educator in the teaching areas of psychology of women and gender, women and violence, and intelligence testing.  Students are typically very pleased with the training she provides in the graduate-required clinical psychology course concerning assessment of cognitive abilities – satisfaction that is typically “unheard of” for such a course, comments one colleague.

Dr. Muehlenhard, a member of the Board of Directors for the Douglas County Rape Victim Support, is renowned for her work in the area of women and violence.  Her scholarly interests include sexuality in relationships, sexual consent, rape and other forms of sexual coercion, acquaintance rape, the double standard/double bind of sex roles for women, communication and miscommunication of sex, and the abuse of women as both children adults.  She is a leading expert on this last area; she has published much work on why abuse victims continue to be abused as adults, citing the ability to detach minds from their bodies in order to provide some relief from the abuse has led to a permanent dissociation which may make the woman more vulnerable to rape as an adult. To help promote psychology among the public, Dr. Muehlenhard has been interviewed by numerous television, radio, and newspaper reporters.  Not only has she been cited in professional publications, but she has been referenced in numerous popular magazines which have a wider circulation, such as Self, Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Glamour.

She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Advancement of Behavioral Therapy, the National Women’s Studies Association, and the American Association of University Professors.  She also serves as a reviewer for multiple psychology and women’s studies journals.  Her largest body of service has been to the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex (SSSS); she has served as the Mid-Continent Region (12 states) President, Chair of the Sexual Agression Special Interest Group, Program Committee Meeting Member, Co-Chair of the Feminist Perspectives committee, and as a member of the committee which evaluated guidelines for the formation of local chapters, all for this group.

Dr. Muehlenhard received the Kemper Fellowship for her teaching excellence in 1997.  One colleague noted he had never seen so many students lined up for a professor’s office hours, and complimented that “she really has the interests of students at heart.”  The students echo these sentiments.  “She has helped me struggle through academic crises and celebrated my achievement of important milestones,” stated one graduate student.  “It is important to note that she does not play favorites - everyone receives the same support and attention.  Charlene is respectful of her students and treats them as junior colleagues.  As a role model, she presents a shining example of how to achieve the balance of intellect, warmth, criticism and instruction that graduate advising and teaching entails.”

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