West Virginia University Eberly College of Arts and Sciences faculty members Christopher Plein and Daniel McNeil have been named 2006 Eberly Family Professors for Outstanding Public Service.
Plein serves as the assistant dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences and chair of the Division of Public Administration.
His contributions to the field of public service include planning, developing and assessing health and human services policy; promoting outreach activities for community and economic development in West Virginia; and facilitating University outreach and response to the needs of West Virginia’s communities.
He is a member of the WVU Interdisciplinary Research Task Force on Welfare Reform, a group that has studied how changes in federal law have affected those in and around the public assistance system in West Virginia .
In 2004, the WVU Press published the group’s findings in the book �€?Welfare Reform in West Virginia ,�€? and its work was featured in a July 2005 Washington Post story.
Plein is also a founding member of the WVU Community Design Team. In that capacity, he has visited more than 30 communities in West Virginia to help citizens identify issues, concerns and needs of the community and create plans of action to deal with them.
For Plein, the most rewarding aspect of public service has been the opportunity to collaborate with faculty members from a variety of disciplines and the ability to encourage his own faculty colleagues to serve the community.
�€?It’s my belief that each faculty member can make a greater overall contribution by encouraging his or her colleagues to engage in outreach and service,�€? Plein said.
McNeil is professor of clinical psychology in the Department of Psychology.
His service activities include involvement in community health programs and professional organizations, ethnic minority service and direct psychological services.
McNeil served as director of clinical training in the Department of Psychology for six years. In that position, he worked to enhance and expand services offered by the department’s Quin Curtis Center for Psychological Service, Training and Research.
He has been a member of the advisory panel for the Student/Resident Experiences and Rotations in Community Health program for nine years. He served as a member of the advisory panel for the West Virginia Community Scholarship Program, which brings together communities in need of specific health care providers with medical and nursing students and residents in need of scholarships.
He is also associated with the WVU School of Dentistry, where he has served as a member of the Patient Procurement and Retention Committee and was recently the lead scientist for a study that provided free oral health and behavioral health evaluations for parents and their children in Webster and Nicholas counties.
As a former resident of Oklahoma , McNeil became interested in serving American Indian communities. He is a founding member of Native American Behavioral Research Associates, a group of researchers who promote culturally sensitive research of Indian groups.
McNeil has found that through his involvement in public service, he has been able to improve his own teaching, research and learning.
�€?I find that my research becomes more sophisticated and my teaching more keen when I have involved service as a part of the activity,�€? he said.