- Professor of Psychology and Research in Education
- Co-author of "Hope for the Journey: Helping Children Through the Good times and the Bad"
- Former chair of the KU Women's Studies Department
Dr. Diane McDermott has been a long-time role model for students and faculty at the University of Kansas. "Not only has she raised five children, but she has helped to 'raise' countless advisees," noted one individual. One of her advisees, Mary Vance, recalled she "...exemplifies someone who is both teacher and learner. She challenges students and challenges herself. Additionally, her style when teaching and interacting is open, respectful and egalitarian." In support of her superb teaching ability, Edward Heck, Chairperson of the Department of Counseling Psychology, stated that, "As a teacher, [she] has consistently done an excellent job... she is especially talented at offering our cross-cultural counseling class.. [it] has been so well received that we have made it a required course in all of our degree programs." Her commitment to exemplary teaching is paralleled with her dedication to her department. Dr. Heck continued his praise by stating, "She has never hesitated to volunteer her services for some departmental function or task... I have come to rely on her skill and dedication." In addition to her contribution whithin her own department, Dr. McDermott has served as the chairperson of the Women's Studies Department, published numerous scholarly articles, and has received thousands of dollars in grant support to conduct research. Clearly, her devotion to the University through committee service and academic contributions reflects her commitment to higher education. Likewise, her research with the Hope Project has broader implications which demonstrate her willingness to help those in need.
As her student Barbara Callahan explained, "Characteristic of her desire to contribute to humankind, [she] envisioned helping low-hope students develop more hopeful ways of thinking and behaving through the medium of storytelling." Her research on hope is touted as cutting edge because the concept is considered one of the most central and sustaining experiences of all human beings. Dr. McDermott has expressed this genuine love in many ways. Serving on nearly 25 committees, she has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and devotion to the University, the Lawrence community, and the region. As her daughter Erin McDermott stated, "She has shown me...as well as her advisees that a woman can do anything and everything... [and that] the struggle is worth all the rewards."