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Hammer confirmed as new head of community health sciences, counseling and counseling psychology

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Media Contact: Kirsi McDowell | Senior Communications Specialist | 405-744-9347 |

Dr. Tonya HammerDr. Tonya Hammer was appointed as department head for the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling and Counseling Psychology by the OSU/ A&M Board of Regents on July 1, 2023, after serving as interim department head for one year.

From Belton, Texas, Hammer holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, respectively. In 2001, she earned a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.

Her first faculty appointment was at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. In 2013, she began as an assistant professor on the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa campus. In her time as department head, she hopes to help each of the individual programs within her school realize their goals.

ASPIRE magazine spoke with Hammer about her promotion.

What do you enjoy most about working in our college?

So many things — but the main highlight is the collaborative nature of the leadership in the college. Working with Dean [Jon] Pedersen and others on the leadership team helps to make my job fun and inspiring.

Beyond becoming department head, what is your biggest accomplishment during your tenure at OSU?

Being promoted to full professor in 2022 was a major accomplishment in my career. My involvement in helping the master’s counseling program obtain re-accreditation twice during my time at OSU has been a wonderful feeling as well — exhausting, but wonderful.

What goals do you have for the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling and Counseling Psychology?

Increasing enrollment in the undergraduate and newly approved doctoral program for public health, continuing to train outstanding master’s and doctoral level clinicians in counseling and counseling psychology, and building our new Bachelor of Science in Nursing into one of the premier nursing programs in the country. I hope to support the faculty in my unit as they seek to produce scholarly work that is innovative and contributes to our community and the university’s land-grant mission.

What was your influence in pursuing a career in counseling education?

I was volunteering with youth and felt inadequate having only a degree in English. I decided I wanted to become better equipped to help them and went back to school. I fell in love with the field and quickly knew I wanted to obtain my doctorate and teach.

As a member of the counseling community, what advice do you have for students navigating life on campus?

It’s so important to have a sense of belonging in order to be successful. Get involved, meet people, find your connections. If you need help, ask. We have so many resources on this campus to help students.

What are your hobbies?

I love to cook for other people. I have found a love for antiquing in the last few years, helping my mom to find items to sell in her shop at an antique mall in Salado, Texas. I also love to travel.

Photo By: Kelly Kerr

Story By: Kirsi McDowell ASPIRE Magazine

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