Considered a pioneer in women’s studies, Florence Denmark-Wesner is a psychologist who has conducted extensive research in the field. Her tireless efforts are noted for bringing light to women’s achievements, and for supporting women of all ages. She continues to use her expertise to advocate for women’s empowerment to this day. Most recently, she released the third edition of the “Handbook of Psychology of Women,” co-edited with Michele Paludi, PhD, in 2017. The book covers topics like women’s issues and theories.
Dr. Denmark-Wesner’s journey began with a prestigious education that included numerous degrees. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in history and psychology, a Master of Arts, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952, 1954, and 1958, respectively. Further, she received a doctor of humane letters from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology in 1985, Cedar Crest College in 1988, and Alleghany College in 1998. In 1995, Dr. Denmark-Wesner obtained a doctor of psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University.
During her career, Dr. Denmark-Wesner held several positions at the City University in New York between 1959 and 1990, including professor of psychology, doctoral faculty in psychology, instructor to professor, and lecturer in psychology. She has been adjunct professor at the City University since 1990 and Robert Scott Pace distinguished professor of psychology at Pace University in New York City since 1988.
Enhancing her professional standing, Dr. Denmark-Wesner is a member of a variety of associations and organizations, such as the U.S. Office of Education, the Research Foundation of the State of New York, New York Community Trust, the National Science Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. She also maintains affiliation with the National Endowment for Humanities, National Institute Mental Health, Muskowini Fund, and Pace University. In July 2017, she was an organizer and lecturer at the International Council of Psychologists in New York.
Notably, Dr. Denmark-Wesner was one of the founding members of the Association for Women in Psychology, an organization whose objective was to target unjust employment practices with the American Psychological Association (APA). Working with ethnic minorities has been one of Dr. Denmark-Wesner’s passions. While serving Queens College in the 1960s, she conducted a study along with a colleague at a local school to demonstrate positive effects of integration for African-American and white students. She also co-wrote texts that are considered foundational to women’s studies, such as “Women’s Realities” and “Women’s Choices.” Dr. Denmark-Wesner was the first Jewish woman to be president of the APA. Her additional accomplishments include becoming the director of the Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge program at Queens College designed to support low-income students, and becoming the APA’s representative to the United Nations in 2008. Besides the APA, she has been president of the International Council of Psychologists, Eastern Psychological Association, and Psi Chi.
For her outstanding work and contributions to her field, Dr. Denmark-Wesner has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades. She is the recipient of the Award for Distinguished Contributions to International Psychology, the Margaret Floy Washburn Award from the New York State Psychological Association, the Allen V. Williams Jr. Memorial Award, the Centennial Award from the American Psychological Association, the Outstanding Women in Science Award from the Association for Women in Psychology, and the Inter-American Award from the Inter-American Society of Psychology. Further, she was honored with a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.
Looking to the future, Dr. Denmark-Wesner is highly anticipating the release of “Women in Leadership,” which she co-edited with Michele Paludi, PhD.