Biography: Provost Lily D. McNair

Lily D. McNair, Ph.D., is Provost at Wagner College.

As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wagner College, Dr. McNair oversees all academic, curricular, and student related elements of the College. She sees her primary role as furthering the academic excellence that exists at Wagner. Students graduating from Wagner College should have deeply engaged in learning a discipline that provides them with the skills, knowledge, and resources to continue with any of the following: graduate programs, academic professional programs, or successful workplace employment. Coupled with this strong academic base, every student graduating from Wagner should have deepened their commitment to contributing to their local, national and international communities around them in ways that enhance others’ lives. While at Wagner, she envisions every student having had opportunities through their classes and their co-curricular activites to contribute to the College, to the local community, to the greater metropolitan community, and to the international community.

Prior to her appointment at Wagner in July of 2011, she served as Associate Provost of Research and Divisional Coordinator for Science and Mathematics at Spelman College. Before joining Spelman College in June 2004, she was Associate Professor of Psychology and Associate Director of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Training Program at The University of Georgia (UGA). Dr. McNair was the first African American woman to obtain tenure and promotion in the Department of Psychology at UGA in 1999.

A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. McNair’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of community-based interventions targeting substance use and early sexual behavior in African-American youth. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preliminary findings of these longitudinal studies are demonstrating the significant impact of positive parenting practices on children’s outcomes across a variety of domains. Dr. McNair is also the co-editor of Women: Images and Realities (4th ed.), an introductory multicultural women’s studies textbook.

Dr. McNair received her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Princeton University, and her doctorate in Psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her dissertation research, examining the role of stress in the alcohol consumption of female college students, marked the beginning of her longstanding interest in gender-related issues in social behavior. While at The University of Georgia, Dr. McNair continued this line of research by investigating cognitive factors related to alcohol use and risky sexual behaviors, with particular attention to gender-related influences on decision-making and risk taking. Her work examines two specific areas of sexual risk: sexual behaviors related to the transmission of HIV/AIDS (unsafe sexual practices) and sexual aggression (i.e., acquaintance rape). Dr. McNair is also interested in the dyadic nature of alcohol use and sexual risk-taking, and has begun to investigate the changes in alcohol consumption and sexual risk-taking that occur in dating couples over the course of their relationships.

Dr. McNair has served as major professor for over 10 doctoral students in clinical psychology at The University of Georgia, where she was actively involved in both undergraduate and graduate training. She considered her contributions to the education of junior scholars to be among the most rewarding aspect of her career at UGA, where she was actively involved in increasing the numbers of African-American graduate students in the Department of Psychology.