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Thomas A. Parham, Ph.D. is a family man who resides in the Southern California area with his wife Davida. Dr. Parham is Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs and an adjunct faculty member at the University of California, Irvine.
Prior to these positions, he served as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Counseling and Health Services, Counseling Center Director, and Director of the Career and Life Planning Center at UCI. Before returning to UCI in 1985, Dr. Parham held an appointment on the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Dr. Parham grew up in Southern California and received his bachelor’s degree in social ecology from the University of California, Irvine. He completed his master’s degree in counseling psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his Ph.D. in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He is licensed to practice psychology in California.
Since his return to Orange County, Dr. Parham has been an active member of this community contributing his talents in the areas of social advocacy, community uplift and youth empowerment.
In 1986, he was appointed to the City of Irvine’s Human Relations Committee. After being elected chair of that committee, he helped draft the city’s first human rights ordinance, which was passed by the city council. He also served as chair of UCI’s Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium for 10 years, and sought to extend the boundaries of the university community countywide.
In the early ’90s, he helped charter the Orange County chapter of the 100 Black Men of America, 100 BMOC. While serving as their first chair of the education committee, he helped to develop the 100 BMOC’s signature Passport to the Future program, and is the architect of their Rites of Passage component.
He extended his reach and influence to the greater Los Angeles area by collaborating with the College Bound program to produce a similar Rites of Academic Passage component for high school students. After much encouragement, he has taken the Rites of Academic Passage model and turned it into an intellectual property now available for commercial sale. That program is known as The Bakari Project. He remains intimately involved with both programs to this day.
Elected to serve as the 5th president of the 100 Black Men of Orange County organization in January, 2002, a term of service he completed in 2005, his efforts include collaborating with Turning Point Communications and the City of Irvine to host the Annual African American Business Summit; planning for a Fall Health and Wellness Summit; initiating an Institutional Report Card initiative to evaluate the quality of the educational experience for African American youth in Orange County schools; serving on Orange County Sheriff’s Community Coalition Program; and helping to recognize and honor citizens of all colors who make a difference in the African American community by co-chairing the 100’s award committee for its annual gala. He has also served as national chair of education for the 100 Black Men of America.
Dr. Parham is a past president of the National Association of Black Psychologists. He is also a fellow of both the American Counseling Association and the American Psychological Association. He is past president of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (a division of ACA). He served on the editorial board for the Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development for five years, and completed a term on the editorial board of the Journal of Counseling and Development as well. He currently serves as an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Black Psychology. He also serves as treating clinician for the NFL program for substance abuse.
For the past 35-plus years, Dr. Parham has focused his research efforts in the area of psychological nigrescence and has authored numerous articles in the area. Writing in the areas of identity development, African psychology and multicultural counseling remain his primary focus. He is a co-author of The Psychology of Blacks: An African American Perspective, 2nd ed. (Prentice Hall, 1990) and the author of Psychological Storms: The African American Struggle for Identity (African American Images, 1993) and Counseling Persons of African Descent: Raising the Bar of Practitioner Competence published by Sage in 2002. He has also co-authored the updated 3rd edition of The Psychology of Blacks: An African Centered Perspective, currently available through Prentice Hall (2000). He has recently completed work on the much anticipated fourth edition.
In addition to authoring over 45 journal articles and/or book chapters, he has also produced several videos including Counseling African Americans, Youth and Violence, and Innovative Approaches to Counseling African Descent People available through Microtraining & Associates, and Working with African American Clients, available through the American Psychological Association.
In consultations, public addresses and television appearances throughout the United States, Dr. Parham has addressed such issues as multicultural counseling, counseling African Americans, cultural competence, educating African American youth, youth and violence, coping with stress, characteristics of exceptional people, multicultural education, managing a diverse workforce, effective communications, developing effective management and supervisory skills, managing people, conflict resolution, and team building.
Dr. Parham has been interviewed and quoted extensively in regional and national newspapers and magazines. He participated in the 2005 State of the Black Union hosted by Tavis Smiley which aired on CSPAN, and appeared in the recent film, Fair Game, directed and produced by Mario Van Peebles.
In characterizing him, some have written: “Parham is a gifted and charismatic speaker in the tradition of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Indeed, for many, his presence as a public figure is transformative; the power of his innate humanity and manifest love conveying an overwhelming sense of acceptance and understanding. You feel a great many things in the presence of Dr. Parham; mostly, you just feel better.” (Mears, 2002).
While serving as Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs at UCI, Dr. Parham prides himself in heading a Student Affairs team dedicated to supporting the academic mission of the university, enhancing the co-curricular aspects of student learning, assessing learning outcomes, and promoting opportunities for leadership development and character building among students.
Honors & Awards
Honoree, Orange County Business Journal, “OC’s 500 most Influential Community Members,” October 2017
Honoree, Orange County Chapter of The Links, Inc., “Salute to American Heart Month,” celebrating African American Leadership, Excellence and Dedication in the field of mental health, February 18, 2017
Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, The Chicago School of Psychology, Washington, DC, October 10, 2014
Recipient of Orange County Human Relations Award – in recognition of extraordinary contributions to Orange County in human or civil rights, Anaheim, CA, May 5, 2011
Additional honors & awards include:
Selection as an American Psychological Association Minority Fellow in 1979 through 1982
1982 Receipt of the Outstanding Staff Person Community Service Award from the University of California, Irvine
1984 Selection as an Outstanding Young Man in America
1987 Management and Professional Service Award from the University of California, Irvine
1988 Research/Scholarship Award from the National Association of Black Psychologists
1989 Research Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program
1991 Research Award for Contributions to the Counseling Profession from the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development
1994 Election to Fellow status of Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association
1995 Samuel H. Johnson Award for Exemplary Service and Scholarship from the
Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development
Exemplary Community Service Award from the Orange County, CA Chapter of the N.A.A.C.P.
1997 Selection to Fellow status in the American Psychological Association’s Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45)
1998 Distinguished Service Award from the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce
1998 Election to the title of “Distinguished Psychologist” by the Association of Black Psychologists (ABP’s highest honor)
1999 APA “Dalmus Taylor Award” for Leadership, Scholarship and Advising
2003 University of California, Irvine’s Lauds and Laurels Award (one of UCI’s most distinguished honors) for staff achievement
July 2007 Association of Black Psychologists, Certification and Proficiency in African Centered/Black Psychology – Board Certified Fellow and Board Certified Diplomate
August 2007 American Psychological Association – Division 17 – Society of Counseling Psychology Award for Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring
2008 100 Black Men of America’s Wimberly Award
2009 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Phillips Graduate Institute
2010 Janet E. Helms Award for Mentoring and Scholarship