- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1993)
Richard M. McFall was born in Bloomington, son of a minister known for his collaborative civil rights work with Herman B Wells. He is also the great-great-great-grandson of William Tinsley, the architect of one of the first buildings on the original campus in Bloomington. McFall received his B.A. in psychology from DePauw University in 1961, and earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Ohio State University in 1965.
In 1965, McFall joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin as an Assistant Professor. His work in Wisconsin argued that psychological treatments and measurement techniques should be based on scientific evidence rather than theories, especially in the areas of smoking, social competence and antisocial behavior. By 1979, McFall returned to Bloomington as a Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Psychology Graduate Program. He is now retired.
In 1991, McFall published a paper entitled “Manifesto for a Science of Clinical Psychology.” In it he asserted that the only legitimate and acceptable form of clinical psychology was one based on the best science available, and that clinical practice and training therefore must be based on scientific evidence as well.
McFall also organized and chaired the conference on “Clinical Science in the 21st Century,” in 1994, which gave rise to the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science. The organization consists of some of the leading clinical science training programs, and are strong advocates for evidence-based clinical assessment, treatment, and graduate training. McFall served as its first president.
While at IU, McFall was awarded the President’s Award for distinguished teaching in 1993. The National Institute of Mental Health created a grant in honor of McFall’s visionary doctoral training program at IU that was devoted to a scientific approach to clinical psychology. He was also a member of the board of directors at the local community mental health center, which, due to his direction, has won national recognition for its commitment to evidence-based treatment, including a prestigious award for the quality of its services and its research-based approach to mental health services. In 2004, McFall received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from The Ohio State University’s Department of Psychology.