chris heavey

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Chris L. Heavey, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Provost, Professor of Psychology

Executive Vice President and Provost
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Chris L. Heavey is the executive vice president and provost at UNLV. In this role, he serves as the university's chief academic officer and works closely with the president in overseeing academic and budgetary policies and priorities for the campus. Learn more about the office of the executive vice president and provost.

As a professor of psychology, he conducts research to improve understanding of the inner experience and its relationship to mental health. He is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the thoughts and feelings that make up the consciousness of people as they go about their everyday lives.

Heavey has been at UNLV for more than 30 years, during which time he has been recognized for his award-winning work. He has also held multiple leadership positions during his career, including senior vice provost, dean, vice provost for undergraduate education, director of general education, associate dean, interim department chair, and president of the Nevada State Psychology Board.

He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He also holds a master’s degree from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz.

Teaching Experience

Heavey has taught a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology, including General Psychology (PSY 101 and HON200A), Introduction to Statistical Methods (PSY210), Research Methods (PSY 240), Personality Psychology (PSY 435), Basic Principles of Psychotherapy (PSY 451), Intervention with Adults (PSY 726), Teaching of Psychology (PSY 757), General Practicum (PSY 767), and Family Therapy Practicum (PSY 794).  He has designed or redesigned several courses, such as Psychology of Marriage (PSY 494), History and Foundations of Clinical Psychology (PSY 714), and Marital Therapy Practicum (PSY 767).

While serving as Director of Clinical Training and Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology, he led the development of a successful clinical psychology doctoral program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA).  Enrolling approximately 50 students annually, it continues to be one of the most popular doctoral programs at UNLV.

In his role as provost, Heavey oversees a variety of initiatives broadly designed to improve teaching and learning outcomes at UNLV.  He is committed to educational equity in the classroom and eliminating the achievement gap for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Research Interests

Heavey researches inner experience, or the thoughts, feelings, sensations and other experiences that populate awareness. He uses the Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES) method to explore the experience of people who share a common feature, such as those suffering from depression, as well as the characteristics and phenomena of normal, unaltered consciousness.

Descriptive Experience Sampling involves asking subjects to pay attention to their ongoing inner experience at randomly chosen moments as they go about their day-to-day activities. Subjects subsequently describe these moments of experience during an interview. Written descriptions of these moments of experience then are combined to develop a profile of an individual or a group of individuals.

Other areas of interest for Heavey include how inner experience relates to other psychological constructs (e.g., personality, emotional intelligence, etc.), exploring the experience of naturally-occurring emotions, and how methodological variations in procedures used to research inner experience influence findings.