Carolyn West, Ph.D., M.A.

Associate Professor ; Graduate Faculty
West, Carolyn

Contact information

Dept: Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences
Room: GWP 419
Phone: 253-692-5652


  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 1994.
  • M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 1988.
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 1986.


Armed with my first adult library card, at age 12 I checked out the book Scream Quietly or the Neighbors Will Hear. This book was one of the early academic efforts to investigate domestic violence. Today, I spend my professional life writing, training, and consulting. My primary goal is to produce research that can be applied to real life problems. For example, I create culturally sensitive training material for domestic violence/sexual assault advocates.

In 1997, after completing my second post-doctoral fellowship at the University of New Hampshire, the opportunity to help build an institution and a psychology program drew me to UWT. I teach a range of psychology courses related to violence and sexuality, including Family Violence, Human Sexuality, Sex Crimes and Sexual Violence, Sexual Deviance.


I study the long-term consequences of intimate partner violence and sexual assault. I also investigate the hypersexualization of young women in the media.


For me, teaching is like intellectual performance art. I move between lecture, discussion, video, and group activities. Every student is encouraged to participate. My overall teaching philosophy is simple: Be authentic. Always treat students with respect and dignity. Encourage students to speak in their own voices. Have fun.

TPSYCH 202 Human Sexuality - Surveys biological, psychological, and social determinants of human sexuality and sexual behavior. Topics include cultural diversity, sexual development (physical and psychological), sexual health, reproduction (pregnancy, contraception, abortion), development of sex, gender orientation, adult sexual bonding, sexual abuse and assault.

TPSYCH 401 Family Violence - Comprehensive interdisciplinary investigation of the pervasive social problem of family violence. Explores the history, theoretical explanations, causes, and consequences of family violence, including intimate partner violence, date and marital rape, elder abuse, and child physical and sexual abuse.

TPSYCH 403 Psychology of Black Women - Applies a psychological and feminist framework to the examination of black women's lives and development. Emphasizes the coping techniques used by black women throughout history. Topics include mental health, violence, male-female relationships, and cross-racial friendships.

TPSYCH 431 Sexual Deviance - Examines various psychological, sociological, and biological theories that purport to explain the causes, consequences, and cure for atypical sexual behaviors, including fetishism, exhibitionism, sexual addiction, pedophilia, and erotophonophilia (lust murder).

TPSYCH 432 Sex Crimes and Sexual Violence - Examines sexual criminality, its nature, characteristics, dimensions, and ramifications in American society and internationally. Topics include, sexual assault, sex offenders and survivors of childhood sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, and child pornography.

Selected Publications

  • West, C. M. & Johnson, K. (2013, March). Sexual violence in the lives of African American women. Harrisburg, PA: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence/Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
  • West, C. M. (2012). Partner abuse in ethnic minority and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender populations. Partner Abuse, 3(3), 336-357.
  • West, C. M., (2010). Resistance as recovery: Winning a sexual harassment complaint. In A. White (Ed.), African Americans doing feminism: Putting theory into everyday practice (pp. 175-188). New York: State University of New York Press.
  • West, C. M. (2009). Still on the auction block: The (s)exploitation of Black adolescent girls in rap(e) music and hip hop culture. In S. Olfman (Ed.), The sexualization of childhood (pp. 89-102). Westport, CT: Praeger Press.
  • West, C. M. (2008). "A thin line between love and hate?" Black men as victims and perpetrators of dating violence. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, 16(3), 238-257.
  • West, C. M. (2008). Mammy, Jezebel, Sapphire, and their homegirls: Developing an "oppositional gaze" toward the images of Black women. In J. Chrisler, C. Golden, & P. Rozee (Eds.), Lectures on the psychology of women (4th ed., pp. 286-299). New York: McGraw Hill.
  • West, C. M. (Ed.). (2002). Violence in the lives of Black women: Battered, black, and blue. New York: Routledge (A monograph published simultaneously as Women & Therapy, 25 (3/4). Winner of the American Psychological Associations Carolyn Payton Early Career Award, 2004


  • I strive to develop courses that encourage community activism. I invite speakers from community organizations, such as the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and YWCA domestic violence shelter. Over the years, my students have met people living with HIV and batterer treatment providers. This exposure has inspired students to volunteer at these agencies.

Professional Service

  • I deliver keynote addresses, conduct workshops, consultant with government agencies, and customize training material to educate and equip professionals with the skills to provide culturally sensitive domestic violence/sexual assault services.

Honors and Awards

  • University of Washington Distinguished Teaching Award, 2013 (nominated in 2001, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011)
  • University of Washington Outstanding Woman of the Year Award, 2011
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association (APA), Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35), 2004
  • Grants

    • University of Washington, Tacoma Funds to Support Research, Teaching and Teaching Improvement ($2,000), 2013
    • Bartley Dobb Professorship for Study and Prevention of Violence, Grant awarded by University of Washington Foundation ($135,000), 2005-2008
    • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Research Supplement for Underrepresented Minorities Program Grant No: 3 R01AA012219-04S1 ($63,443), 2003