Thursday, October 10, 2019

By Elianna Novitch

The College of Education welcomes Stacey McElroy-Heltzel, a new assistant professor in Counseling Psychology.

Stacey McElroy-Heltzel, an assistant professor in Counseling Psychology, joined the University of Iowa College of Education faculty this fall in the Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations.

McElroy-Heltzel got her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Georgia before earning her Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2012 from Georgia State University. In 2017 she got her doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University, where she was a Post-Doctoral Research Associate.

McElroy-Heltzel’s research interests lie in positive psychology, specifically focused on humility including cultural humility, intellectual humility, and political humility.

“I'm interested in how that plays out in relationships, particularly when there is an ideological difference or cultural difference or some sort of different set of values or belief system,” McElroy-Heltzel says. “I see [humility] as being sort of a social lubricant, kind of helping people reflect on themselves and also build stronger relationships with others who might be different from them.”

McElroy-Heltzel recently obtained a grant to study political humility. She plans to use the grant to explore how political humility relates to an individual’s wellbeing in difficult conversations where people are engaging with a different set of opinions from their own. She also wants to explore how people engage with online content around politics and whether political humility makes them better at discerning credibility and information and less likely to spread disinformation in an attempt to validate their own opinion.

Along with conducting research in the College of Education, McElroy-Heltzel is also teaching a personality assessment course. She hopes that her students take away critical thinking skills from her course.

“As a professional in psychology, we're constantly called upon to learn as the field evolves,” McElroy-Heltzel says. “And so, I think it is really important to learn the information that there is now and then ask, ‘How do you take that out into the world and continue learning and growing as new evidence comes out about best practices?’”

McElroy-Heltzel has enjoyed getting to know other faculty members in the college as well as getting to know her students and better understanding their passions.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the students and seeing what they are interested in and how I can support their work. I really love mentoring,” McElroy-Heltzel says.