Students and colleagues across campus are remembering Todd (TJ) McCallum, associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, for his warm, caring nature and positive spirit. After a yearlong battle with a chronic illness, McCallum passed away Dec. 5.
McCallum, who joined Case Western Reserve’s faculty in 2002, had a way of drawing people in, said Heath Demaree, professor and chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences.
“He really had a warm spirit about him,” he added.
McCallum loved teaching and working with undergraduate and graduate students, colleagues said—as evidenced by his nominations for the Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Jackson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring.
Just a few weeks ago, he told colleague Sandra Russ, Distinguished University Professor and Louis D. Beaumont University Professor, how proud he was to be part of the Department of Psychological Sciences.
“TJ especially loved teaching the graduate interviewing course,” Russ said. “He thought it was a place where he could convey his humanistic approach about how to interact and respect clients.”
That humanistic approach was apparent to all who interacted with him.
Julie Exline, professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences, explained that one senior colleague trusted McCallum’s opinions so much, he’d often turn to him when a difficult or controversial situation arose in faculty meetings.
McCallum’s work mainly focused on older individuals—rooted in stress and coping with end-of-life care. He worked with caregiving families to gain a better understanding of the stress they experienced. In addition, he researched how technology could enhance the lives of senior citizens, finding that tablet usage allowed them to feel uplifted and more fulfilled.
In 2009, he established the Brain Emporium, a computer lab for elderly individuals in the Cleveland area to exercise their brain through cognitive-enhancement programs.
“He really had a heart for working with older adults and improving their lives,” said Exline.
McCallum earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California at Berkley in 1989 and went on to receive a master’s in developmental psychology from Columbia University in 1991 and a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California in 2002.
Outside of his work, McCallum was an avid sports fan, and the Chicago Cubs were among his favorite teams. Last year, he watched in person as his team won game six of the World Series.
“He’s going to be sorely missed,” Demaree said.
Information on services will be shared in The Daily as soon as it is available.