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Abigail Panter, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Abigail Panter, Ph.D. Abigail Panter, Ph.D.

Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, College of Arts and Sciences | UNC-Chapel Hill


Panter's areas of emphasis include high-impact educational practices, general education curriculum and student access to higher education.



Abigail Panter, Ph.D. Publication



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Abigail Panter is senior associate dean for undergraduate education and a professor of psychology and neuroscience in the L.L. Thurstone Psychometric Laboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As senior associate dean, she oversees all of the College’s programs in undergraduate education: academic advising, undergraduate research, student success and academic counseling (including the Learning Center, the Writing Center, peer mentoring and Summer Bridge), student retention (including transfer coordinators, Carolina Firsts), undergraduate curricula (including First Year Seminars), the Office of Innovative Instruction, Robertson Scholars and Honors Carolina/the Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence (including distinguished scholarships).

Panter is also principal investigator for The Finish Line Project, funded by a $3 million First in the World grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Designed for first-generation college students — as well as rural, transfer and historically underserved students — the project includes curricular innovations, outreach and support, and pathways for timely and affordable degree completion.

Her areas of emphasis include high-impact educational practices, general education curriculum, evidence-based
approaches, first generation students, STEM participation, proactive holistic advising, policies and procedures for monitoring academic progress, predictive analytics, student access to higher education, and assessment of student learning outcomes.

She is past president of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division on Quantitative and Qualitative Psychology. As a quantitative psychologist, she has developed instruments, research designs and data-analytic strategies for applied research questions in higher education, personality and health.

Her books include: The APA Dictionary of Terms in Statistics and Research Methods (2013), The APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology (2012), The Handbook of Ethics in Quantitative Methodology (2011), and The Sage Handbook of Methods in Social Psychology (2004).

Panter has been a member of the Carolina faculty since 1989.

Areas of Expertise (14)

Undergraduate Education

Undergraduate Curriculum

Student Retention

Student Success

Educational Diversity

First Generation College Students

STEM participation


Learning Outcomes

Student Access to Higher Education

Academic Advising

Predictive Analytics

Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods


Accomplishments (6)

Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professorship for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (professional)

UNC-Chapel Hill. 2008-2013.

Psi Chi Undergraduate Teacher-of-the-Year Award (professional)

UNC-Chapel Hill. 2008, 2003, 1997, 1992.

J. Carlyle Sitterson First Year Teaching Award (professional)

UNC-Chapel Hill. 2007.

Jacob Cohen Award (professional)

Award from the American Psychology Association for distinguished teaching and mentoring. 2003.

Access Award for Supporting and Encouraging Students with Learning Disabilities (professional)

Learning Disabilities Services, UNC-Chapel Hill. 2003

Tanner Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence

UNC-Chapel Hill. 1992.

Education (3)

New York University: Ph.D., Psychology 1989

New York University: M.S., Psychology 1987

Wellesley College: B.A., Psychology and French Studies 1985

Affiliations (7)

  • Division of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods American Psychological Association (President)
  • Graduate Record Examinations Advisory Board
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Task Force on Race-Neutral Strategies in Undergraduate Admissions (Chair)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Undergraduate Admissions Advisory Committee (Chair)
  • Administrative Boards of Arts and Sciences (Chair)
  • Task Force to Facilitate Research on Pedagogical Innovation at Carolina (Chair)
  • UNC-Chapel Hill Educational Policy Committee (ex officio)

Media Appearances (1)

UNC professor receives $3 million grant from new First in the World program

UNC News  


(Chapel Hill, N.C.—Oct. 1, 2014) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been selected to help the United States once again be first in the world in college graduates. Abigail Panter, senior associate dean for undergraduate education and psychology professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, will receive $3 million over four years to develop the Finish Line Project, designed to improve undergraduate retention. The grant’s executive director is Cynthia Demetriou, director of undergraduate retention in the college. The grant comes from the Department of Education’s new First in the World program, created to drive innovations in higher education that increase college completion, value and affordability. Of nearly 500 applications, 24 schools were selected to receive a share of the fund’s initial $75 million. The grant winners represent 17 states, 19 public, private and nonprofit four-year institutions and five public and private two-year institutions. Grants ranged in size from $1.6 million to $4 million. Each of the winning projects addresses at least one of these priorities: increasing college access and completion, increasing community college transfer rates, increasing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) enrollment and completion, and reducing time to completion.

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Articles (4)

Moral character in the workplace

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology


Winner of the 2016 Outstanding Article Award, International Association for Conflict Management Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., Turin, N., & Norse, L. A., & Kim, Y. In two three-month diary studies and a large cross-sectional survey, we identified distinguishing features of adults with low versus high levels of moral character. Adults with high levels of moral character tend to consider the needs and interests of others and how their actions affect other people (e.g., they have high levels of Honesty-Humility, empathic concern, guilt proneness), regulate their behavior effectively, specifically with reference to behaviors that have positive short-term consequences but negative long-term consequences (e.g., they have high levels of Conscientiousness, self-control, consideration of future consequences), and value being moral (e.g., they have high levels of moral identity-internalization). Cognitive moral development, Emotionality, and social value orientation were found to be relatively undiagnostic of moral character.

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APA handbooks in psychology: APA handbook of research methods in psychology

American Psychological Association

Cooper, H. (Ed.-in-Chief), Camic, P., Long, D., Panter, A. T., Rindskopf, D., & Sher, K. (Assoc. Eds.). (2012). The three-volume APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology features descriptions of many techniques that psychologists and others have developed to help them pursue a shared understanding of why humans think, feel, and behave the way they do.

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Does race matter in educational diversity? A legal and empirical analysis.

Rutgers Race & the Law Review


Daye, C. E., Panter, A. T., Allen, W. R., & Wightman, L. F. This article reports The Educational Diversity Project’s findings on two empirical questions: (1) Do students differ by race upon entering law school? (2) Do any differences contribute educational benefits to students, institutions, or society? Extensive quantitative and qualitative empirical data support the finding that a racially diverse law student body provides educational benefits. Many differences students present are associated with diversities of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives, expectations, and outlooks that are related to their race. Diversity fosters richer interactions and positive educational outcomes. Race contributes to the achievement of educational diversity that benefits students, their institution, and society.

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The effects of educational diversity in a national sample of law students

Multivariate Behavioral Research


Gottfredson, N., Panter, A. T., Daye, C. E., Allen, W. R., & Wightman, L. F. Controversy surrounding the use of race-conscious admissions can be partially resolved with improved empirical knowledge of the effects of racial diversity in educational settings. We use a national sample of law students nested in 64 law schools to test the complex and largely untested theory regarding the effects of educational diversity on student outcomes. Social scientists who study these outcomes frequently encounter both latent variables and nested data within a single analysis. Yet, until recently, an appropriate modeling technique has been computationally infeasible, and consequently few applied researchers have estimated appropriate models to test their theories, sometimes limiting the scope of their research question. Our results, based on disaggregated multilevel structural equation models, show that racial diversity is related to a reduction in prejudiced attitudes and increased perceived exposure to diverse ideas and that these effects are mediated by more frequent interpersonal contact with diverse peers. These findings provide support for the idea that administrative manipulation of educational diversity may lead to improved student outcomes. Admitting a racially/ethnically diverse student body provides an educational experience that encourages increased exposure to diverse ideas and belief systems.

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