Paul F. Cunningham is a tenured, full-time Professor of Psychology at Rivier University, Nashua, NH. He received an M.S. in Educational Psychology from Purdue University in 1976 and a doctorate in General/Experimental Psychology from the University of Tennessee in 1986. He has served on the Rivier University faculty since 1986 and is currently Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He has been a member of the American Psychological Association since 1986 and a member of the New England Psychological Association since 1997. Professor Cunningham was elected 44th President of the New England Psychological Association from 2003-2004.
Dr. Cunningham has devoted a great deal of his professional life to assessment in higher education. He was a member of the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE), presenting papers on assessment at its annual conferences. He has conducted workshops on academic and student affairs assessment at UMASS Lowell, Southern Vermont College, University of Bridgeport, Unity College in Maine, Southern New Hampshire University, and the University of Maine at Augusta. He has presented papers on assessment at Bridgewater State College (MA) and at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Commission on Institutions of Higher Education’s annual meetings. During 1998 and 1999, he participated with Peggy Maki, former Associate Director of NEASC, in Assessment Workshops conducted throughout the New England area that showcased Rivier College's work in student outcomes assessment. He has served as a NEASC accreditation team member with responsibility for assessing Standard Two (Planning and Evaluation) and Standard Four (The Academic Program). In 1999, he completed a four-day intensive workshop conducted by Institutional Effectiveness Associates (IEA) on implementation of the Assessment Record Book (ARB) portfolio concept and forms. He participated in the 2001-2002 Alverno College Institute’s Student Learning Initiative Project funded by The Pew Charitable Trust to help develop a framework of principles and practices for implementing a student learning outcomes curriculum. He contributed a section on standardized assessment tests in Nichols & Nichols (2005) book on student learning and support services assessment. He serves as a consultant to various New England colleges and universities who are interested in implementation of the IEA outcomes assessment forms and concepts on their campuses.
In addition to his work on assessment in higher education, Dr. Cunningham has worked in the area of animal rights and welfare. He served as treasurer of Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals from 1994-1996. He has published on the use of animals in psychology experiments and on student choice policies in the psychology and biology classroom. His professional interests extend into the area of spiritual psychology, transpersonal education and theory, exceptional human experiences, and the experimental psychology of the subconscious. He supervises graduate students' master's thesis research on the topic of hypnosis. He is currently co-authoring an introductory textbook about transpersonal psychology for use in the college classroom.