By Gordon E. Legge
DEAR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF MINNESOTA PSYCHOLOGY,
I am pleased to introduce the inaugural issue of our Department of Psychology magazine. I hope this magazine will enhance communication among the important groups making up our community — alumni and friends, students, faculty, and staff. As you may have heard, the University has embarked on an ambitious mission to become one of the top three public universities in the world. We are all aware of the great tradition of Minnesota Psychology — Lashley, Skinner, Paterson, Meehl, and many others. With our cooperation and collective energy, psychology will play a key role in helping the University achieve this great goal.
Psychology continues to be a vibrant force on campus, with nearly 1,300 undergraduate majors, about 150 Ph.D. students, and more than 40 faculty. Our undergrad majors enjoy increasing opportunities to work on research with faculty and to enroll in community internships. They receive academic and career guidance from our excellent advising program directed by Holly Hatch-Surisook.
Our marquee course, Introductory Psychology (Psy 1001), remains the largest and most popular course on campus. It is taught by several of our top faculty and includes innovations such as a web-based streaming video version of the lectures.
In recent years, we have seen major turnover among our faculty. As distinguished faculty who began their careers in the 1960s and 1970s reach retirement age, we have recruited young faculty with new and exciting research interests. Cognitive neuroscience, affective neuroscience, behavior genetics, cross-cultural psychology, and political psychology have become hot new areas of prominence in the department, adding to our traditional broad-spectrum strength in psychology.
It was because of this new energy in the department that I accepted our dean’s invitation to become department chair in 2006. I have been a member of the department’s cognitive and biological psychology program for many years. My research area is visual perception with applications to impaired vision. Since I have impaired vision myself, I have a personal as well as a professional interest in the topic.
John Campbell, my predecessor, guided us for five years with skill and grace, and played a pivotal role in our ongoing faculty- recruiting initiative. His scholarly accomplishments in industrial and organizational psychology were recognized by the American Psychological Association with its 2006 Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology.
All of us in the community of Minnesota psychology share an interest in human nature: What makes people tick? In seeking answers to that question, the department continues to value two great traditions — the basic science of psychology and the applications of psychological science to the health and well-being of society. In this inaugural issue of our magazine, we feature some wonderful applications of psychological science. For example, you will read about Jim Butcher’s work on the MMPI (the test that made Minnesota famous!) and Joyce Bono’s research on leadership. In next year’s issue, look for features on exciting research findings emerging from our labs.
We look forward to hearing from you and to staying in touch. For more information about the department, have a look at our website at www.psych.umn.edu. You may contact the department at 612-625-2818, or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GORDON E. LEGGE,
Ph.D. PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT
CHAIR AND DISTINGUISHED MCKNIGHT UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR