It is with great sadness that we received the message that our dear colleague Susan died peacefully on the 26th of October 2019 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth. Beside the Integrated Model of Group Development, Wheelan also created and validated both the Group Development Observation System (GDOS) and the Group Development Questionnaire (GDQ).
Wheelan was born in Providence, Rhode Island and she was a graduate of Bay View Academy, Stonehill College and the University of Wisconsin/Madison with a Ph.D in Psychology. She was a professor of Psychological Studies and Faculty Director of the Center for the Study of Psychoeducational Processes at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for 28 years.
She is the author of many books, including Group Processes: A Developmental Perspective and Creating Effective Teams: A Guide for Members and Leaders. In 2015 she received Sage Publishing’s Cornerstone Author Award to celebrate her work as a mainstay in the discipline of group research and the lasting impact of her work. She has also written over 60 research articles for publication.
Wheelan worked for many years as a consultant and as president of GDQ Associates, Inc. She consulted and conducted research projects throughout the United States and Europe with hospitals, school systems, prisons, corporations, and non-profit organizations, such as the Provincetown AIDS Support Group She had a passion for social justice and worked politically her whole life to change the world for the better.
In 2005 Wheelan came to Sweden for the first time to certify what would be the first group of Swedish GDQ consultants. A Swedish translation of the GDQ was made. She came to Sweden many times over the years and certified consultants, and helped develop a certification process and build a community around the GDQ. Susan’s legacy in the form of the GDQ lives on and there are now two thousand certified GDQ consultants in the world. Thousands of groups have been helped in their development by the GDQ and Wheelan’s deep insights into group processes.
Christian Jacobsson, head of research, GDQ Associates AB, Sweden
Maria Åkerlund, CEO of GDQ Associates, Sweden
Felice Tilin, Ph.D. President of GroupWorks Consulting, LLC United States