The vice president for academic affairs at Emory & Henry College talks about his interest in psychology and his efforts to bring mental health services to rural church congregations in an article featured this month in the Monitor of Psychology.
Dr. Christopher Qualls, who teaches psychology at Emory & Henry and is the former chair of the E&H Psychology Department, tells the Monitor that his faith as a Christian led him to a life of service. “I’ve always felt an obligation to do something that was more about others than it was about me.”
Qualls began teaching psychology at Emory & Henry in 1990. He left the college in 1992 to move to Nashville to care for his ailing grandmother and became clinical director of AGAPE, a local Christian counseling and adoption service.
He worked to overcome some doubts among rural church congregations about mental health services. “I think it’d be fair to say that people of faith-based communities, particularly conservative faith-based communities are somewhat skeptical, at times, of secular psychology organizations,” Qualls told the Monitor. “They worry we might try to change them and the way they believe.”
Qualls returned to Emory & Henry in 1999 after his grandmother died. In 2006, he was named dean of faculty and in 2008 was named vice president of academic affairs.
As chief academic officer at Emory & Henry, Qualls presided over efforts to revitalize the College’s core curriculum. In recent years, he led efforts to establish a master’s degree in community and organizational leadership and a doctoral program in physical therapy.
Qualls told the Monitor that he embraces the responsibilities of leadership but is less enthusiastic about administrative work. "I miss practice about as much as I miss teaching," he said.