Rebecca Susan Morse
Applied Developmental Psychology
Rebecca S. Morse, PhD, is the Director of Research Training (DRT), and the chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences at Divine Mercy University. As the DRT Dr. Morse oversees the dissertation training for all PsyD students, in addition to chairing and serving as a second reader and/or research consultant on numerous dissertations. She also teaches the research and statistics sequence, in addition to several of the psychological science courses. One of her greatest joys is working with students to cultivate their enthusiasm for research and helping them to apply complex concepts in their own research and early career development. Her dedication to her students has led to her being recognized by George Mason University for Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, Outstanding Adjunct Faculty in Psychology, and numerous letters of commendation. Previously at Marian University, Dr. Morse has received three awards: the Bronze Medal for dedication in teaching, the Silver Medal for dedication in teaching, and an award for Adult and Online Studies Adjunct of the Year. She was also awarded 2022 Educator of the Year by Dr. World Productions, and served as Dr. Virginia America 2022, and is currently serving as Dr. Virginia USA 2023.
An active member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, she has served in numerous roles, most recently as the 2020-2021 President, and was the Immediate Past President on the Executive Committee 2021-2022. She also is the co-chair for the American Psychological Association End of Life Special Interest Group under Division 20. Dr. Morse currently works in a pro bono capacity with the National Hospice Foundation of America, developing grief-education materials for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families, and materials on ASD for grief professionals.
Dr. Morse has worked extensively with several publishers, including Sage, Pearson, Cengage, and Wiley as a peer reviewer for both journals, and textbooks. She has authored and co-authored peer-reviewed journal articles, and peer-reviewed book chapters, and frequently presents at scientific conferences. Recently, she was installed as a subject editor for bereavement and grief in addition to several sub-topics in the forthcoming Routledge Encyclopedia of Thanatology. She is also an editorial advisor for the Journal of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine (GGM) Sage Publishing.
Most recently, she has been an invited contributor to MedPage Today, an online journal for healthcare professionals. Three of her op-ed articles can be found here:
Dr. Morse has dedicated her career to teaching and mentoring new professionals, and since 2006 has focused on developing core education content in the areas of forensic psychology/victimology; developmental and behavioral psychology; and thanatology/traumatology. She has worked at six universities and across ten programs, including Hood College, Marian University, George Mason University, the University of Maryland, and the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, has developed and subsequently taught several Global Education study abroad programs (2014-2019), in addition to guest lecturing nationally and internationally. She has consulted on several program development teams, building both online and traditional Face-2-Face curricula.
Dr. Morse is particularly interested in social-emotional development across the lifespan; social and personal factors and their transactional relationship with spirituality, resiliency, stress, and coping; and the psychological bases of criminal behaviors. Much of her research has included studying developmental/intellectual disabilities which present with maladaptive and/or self-injurious behaviors; the psychology of death, dying, grief, and bereavement; and thanatology as it relates to traumatic loss. Dr. Morse was an associate investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) working with children and adults with rare genetic syndromes and those with developmental disabilities such as autism spectrum disorder, or with terminal diagnoses of HIV/AIDS, or cancer. While at NIH she was a Summer Intramural Research Training Award (SIP) and an Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) recipient, and subsequently worked under the Staff Training Extramural Program (STEP).