Department of Psychology

School Psychology Primary Program Faculty

Currently, Drs. Leigh Ann Fisler, Tracy Cruise, and Qingqing Zhu are the faculty with primary responsibility for the program.

Classes are taught by many other faculty members within the Psychology Department as well as in departments within the College of Education and Human Services.  Approximately 8 - 10 students are accepted into the program each year. 


Dr. Leigh Ann Fisler, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator

Dr. Leigh Ann Fisler Dr. Leigh Ann Fisler (Tipton) received her PhD in School Psychology from the University of California, Riverside and completed her post-doctoral training with the UC Riverside SEARCH Autism Center and UCLA PEERS® program. She then taught at California State University, Los Angeles in the Masters in Science, Counseling option in School Psychology program.

Her research interests include transition to adulthood for youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and improving school-based services for students with developmental and behavioral health challenges. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP). Dr. Fisler teaches introductory school psychology courses, intervention, and provides school psychology internship supervision. She is passionate about supporting the training recruitment and retention of students from marginalized backgrounds in order to increase the diversity in the field of school psychology.

For questions on admission to the program, please email Dr. Fisler at  


 Dr. Tracy K. Cruise

Dr. Tracy CruiseDr. Cruise teaches undergraduate courses, including PSY 380 Introduction to Clinical Psychology and PSY 251 Personality and Adjustment. Within the School Psychology program, she teaches PSY 541 Practicum I: Orientation to School Psychology; PSY 543 School Psychology Practicum III: Consultation & Assessment; and PSY 544 School Psychology Practicum IV: Evaluation & Intervention. Courses she instructs in the Clinical/Community Mental Health program include PSY 571 Group Processes and Group Psychotherapy; PSY 574 Professional Issues in Clinical/Community Mental Health; and PSY 576 Family Therapy. Dr. Cruise also provides clinical supervision and direct services in WIU’s Psychology Clinic.

Historically, Dr. Cruise has been interested in the predictors of negative outcomes for sexual abuse victims. For example, do factors associated with abuse or aspects that occur after the abuse (e.g., disclosure or cognitive interpretation) predict outcomes. More recently, Dr. Cruise's research interests regard supervision and how direct training in supervision impacts supervisor and supervisee satisfaction.

Dr. Qingqing Zhu

Dr. Qinqqing Zhu, School Psychology Faculty Dr. Zhu joined Western Illinois University in 2020 after having earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Kansas. She completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (LEND) training program at the University of Kansas Medical Center and completed her internship in a private practice focusing on neurodevelopmental evaluations. Most recently, she worked as a school psychologist at Springfield Public Schools. Dr. Zhu teaches courses in assessment, child development and childhood problems, and the school psychology practicum.

Dr. Zhu's research interests include psychometric properties of psychological measures, including translations and cross-cultural comparisons of the instruments. She is also interested in exploring the efficacy of conducting assessment and intervention through alternative models (e.g., telehealth). 


Dr. Jeff Laurent, Emeritus Professor

Dr. Jeff Laurent, School Psychology Coordinator

Dr. Laurent joined the Program faculty in 2006. He earned his Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Laurent taught at Illinois State University and the University of Alabama, and worked as a school psychologist in central Illinois before coming to Western. 




Dr. Ruth Kelly, Emeritus Professor

Dr. Ruth Kelly, Professor Emeritus Dr. Kelly arrived at Western Illinois University in 1994 with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. She worked as a school psychologist in Minnesota for twelve years before accepting her position at Western. She served as coordinator of the School Psychology Program from 2008 to Fall 2019. 



Dr. Paula S. Wise, Emeritus Professor

Dr. Paula Wise.Dr. Wise arrived at Western Illinois University in 1977 with a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. She served as coordinator of the School Psychology Program from 1978 to 2008.