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Melissa Sturge-Apple

Melissa Sturge-Apple

Interim Dean of the Warner School of Education & Human Development

Dean's Office

PhD, University of Notre Dame (developmental psychology)
MA, University of Notre Dame (developmental psychology)
MEd, Harvard University (risk and prevention science)
BA, University of Rochester (psychology and economics)


Melissa Sturge-Apple was appointed interim dean of the Warner School of Education and Human Development at the University of Rochester on July 1, 2024. Before this role, she served as vice provost and dean of graduate education at the University of Rochester since 2019 and as dean of graduate studies in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering from 2016 to 2019. 

In 2006, Sturge-Apple returned to her alma mater as a faculty member in the psychology department and researcher at the Mount Hope Family Center. Earlier in her career, she was a school counselor at the middle and high school levels for six years.

As vice provost and dean of graduate education, Sturge-Apple led the development of education, execution and promotion of the strategic vision for graduate education across six graduate schools and over 100 graduate degree programs at the University of Rochester. She focused on enhancing the graduate education experience, emphasizing educational excellence, fostering a culture of respect, providing career development guidance, building academic and social mentorship, increasing alumni engagement, and administering fellowships and awards. During her tenure, she elevated the quality of graduate education and facilitated cross-collaboration among schools’ faculty and staff, ensuring the University remained competitive in recruiting strong students and providing them with a quality education and experience. 

An accomplished scholar, Sturge-Apple is renowned for her research on family processes, parental functioning, and child development, particularly in families at risk. Her research has been published in over 100 empirical papers in leading journals such as Developmental Psychology, Child Development, and Development and Psychopathology. She received the Reuben Hill Research and Theory Award for Best Paper from the Council of Family Relations in 2007 and 2019. Additionally, she has served as associate editor for two top-tier psychology journals and has been a member of national scientific review committees at the National Institute of Health (NIH). Sturge-Apple has led seven large-scale research projects funded by NIH that total more than $35 million. Guided by the values and traditions of the University of Rochester, she has led interdisciplinary research teams aimed at improving the lives of children and families experiencing violence, abuse, neglect, or trauma through basic science research and clinical trials of evidence-based interventions.