Chair of Baylor's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Is Named the American Psychological Association's New Executive Director for Education

Diaz Granados
Jim Diaz-Granados, Ph.D. (Baylor University photo)
June 3, 2014

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WACO, Texas (June 3, 2014) — Jaime “Jim” Diaz-Granados, Ph.D., professor and chair of Baylor University’s department of psychology and neuroscience in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been selected as the American Psychological Association’s new executive director for education.

Diaz-Granados, an experienced researcher in the developmental, behavioral and neurochemical aspects of alcohol abuse and addiction, will replace Cynthia D. Belar, Ph.D., who is retiring. Diaz-Granados will assume his new role in January 2015.

The American Psychological Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States, with a membership of nearly 130,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.

Diaz-Granados, a longtime leader in psychology higher education, previously served as the director of the Baylor Addictions Research Consortium and as a member of review panels and committees with the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He has received more than $1.5 million in research grants and awards during his career.

“I am honored to have been selected to lead the Education Directorate. It is a privilege to follow Cynthia Belar and her great leadership,” Diaz-Granados said. “She has left a positive and indelible mark on our discipline and leaves the directorate in great shape. I am thrilled for this opportunity to serve alongside an excellent APA staff and look forward to continuing the important work of advancing the science and practice of psychology in education and training.

“As we look to the future, the current landscape of science, education and health care affords our discipline a number of unique opportunities and presents some unique challenges,” he said. “While I will miss working with my talented colleagues at Baylor, I am excited to join my new colleagues at APA and look forward to meeting the opportunities and overcoming the challenges of these exciting times.”

Lee Nordt, Ph.D., dean of Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, said that Diaz-Granados has been “a valued member of the Baylor community since 1996, having served in numerous important capacities, including as chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience. This department is one of the largest academic units in the College of Arts and Sciences, and under Dr. Diaz-Granados’ leadership it has grown substantially. Dr. Diaz-Granados will be sorely missed, but his skillset will to go to serving a valued national organization.”

Charles Weaver, Ph.D., professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences, said Diaz-Granados has been “a terrific colleague and chair, someone we’ve trusted and grown very fond of. He’s taken what is an unbelievably difficult job — with 20 full-time faculty members and about 1,000 undergraduates — and made it seem effortless.”

“We’re glad he’s gotten this new opportunity, and we’re certain he’s going to thrive in it as well,” Weaver said.

Diaz-Granados is currently the board president of the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP). As a member of the APA Commission on Accreditation, he serves as co-chair for program review and chair of the Research Working Group.

“We are extremely excited to have Dr. Diaz-Granados joining our senior staff,” said APA CEO Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D. “His broad knowledge of the issues and opportunities in psychology, his significant experience within the psychology education community and his proven ability to be a thought leader, collaborator and team builder will enable him to make important contributions to APA and the discipline in the years ahead.”

In his new role, Diaz-Granados will manage the Education Directorate, which includes programs to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of psychology education and to increase financial and policy support for psychology education and training.

He joined the Baylor faculty as an assistant professor in 1996 and became chair in 2006. Before coming to Baylor, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the Center for Drug and Alcohol Programs at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, S.C. He has worked with animal models of fetal alcohol syndrome, adolescent alcohol abuse and alcohol in aging. He also has investigated the effects of early stress on subsequent susceptibility to alcohol use, anxiety and ensuing stressors.

His work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. He is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism, the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology and the Research Society on Alcoholism.

Diaz-Granados earned his Ph.D. in psychology in 1994 from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also completed his undergraduate studies in 1986.


Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University’s oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 26 academic departments and 13 academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines.

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