Sandra Sgoutas-Emch, PhD

Sandra Sgoutas-Emch
Phone: (619) 260-4005
Fax: (619) 260-6867
Office: Camino Hall 001J

Director, Center for Educational Excellence (On Sabbatical)
Professor, Psychological Sciences
Core Curriculum Chair

  • Dr. Sgoutas-Emch earned her B.A. in psychology from Emory University. She completed her Masters and Ph.D. in biological psychology from the University of Georgia. She received a two-year postdoctoral NIH fellowship in psychoneuroimmunology at the Ohio State University medical school before coming to USD.

Sandra Sgoutas-Emch is a professor of psychology and director of the Center for Educational Excellence at the University of San Diego. She has been a professor at the university since 1992. During her tenure at USD, she has also been the director of the gender studies program. She teaches courses in health psychology and behavioral neuroscience. Dr. Sgoutas-Emch has research interests in the efficacy of alternative medicine, the impact of stress, and women’s health issues.

Dr. Sgoutas-Emch is a CO-PI on the AFFIRM grant, a five year award funded through the NSF ADVANCE program has three primary goals. It will foster an environment that understands, embraces, and supports a diverse faculty, recruit women faculty (with a particular emphasis on women of color), and support the retention and advancement of female faculty.

Dr. Sgoutas-Emch’s has published in a variety of journals including Psychophysiology, the Journal of Civic Engagement, the Journal of Religion and Health, and College Student Affairs Journal. She has worked many projects that examine the impact of stress on our campus particularly in underserved students. The results were implemented in a strategic plan for the university to help students deal with the stress they are experiencing.  As director of the Center for Educational Excellence, Dr. Sgoutas-Emch has worked with many faculty in helping to support their teaching and faculty development. She has designed numerous studies regarding the scholarship of teaching and learning that include examination of best pedagogies for teaching courses such as statistics and biopsychology. Furthermore, her most recent research has focused on models of community engagement and the impact of student learning and community.

Other studies have examined the psychosocial factors that are related to women’s experiences with their menstrual cycles and the efficacy of alternative medicine to help relieve pain. Her main area of interest is the relationship between spirituality, faith and health behaviors.

Areas of Interest

Dr. Sgoutas-Emch teaches courses in both behavioral neuroscience and health psychology areas. She has developed courses on stress and such specialty areas such as hormones and behavior and brain, behavior and immunology. She is affiliated with both the gender studies and Ethnic Studies programs and teaches courses that focus on diversity issues. She has a long history of incorporating community service learning in her classes. Dr. Sgoutas-Emch has been the recipient of the innovation in experiential education award at the university and in 2007 received a faculty fellowship from California Campus Compact and the Carnegie Foundation for incorporating political engagement in the classroom. In 2015, Dr. Sgoutas-Emch was a national finalist for the Thomas Ehrlich Engaged Faculty Award given by Campus Compact.