Letter from the Chair

Legge_Small_15b&w.jpg
Dear Alumni and Friends
of Minnesota Psychology,
Welcome to this year's issue of our psychology department magazine. As one of the strongest departments on campus, psychology continues to play an important role in the University's aspiration to become one of the top three public universities in the world. This year we are recruiting faculty members nationally and internationally in the areas of clinical psychology, industrial/organizational psychology, multicultural psychology, and behavior genetics.
This issue of the magazine highlights several of our strong basic research programs. The cover story describes research in vision science. As you will read, vision science is an exciting interdisciplinary field that draws on cognitive science, neuroscience, computer science, optics, and
ophthalmology. People are visual beings, and we can learn a great deal about the human mind and brain by studying vision.
This is an exciting year for politics. In September, the Republicans held their presidential nominating convention in
St. Paul. And, of course, we will have a presidential election in November. The psychology and political science departments are proud sponsors of the University's nationally respected Center for the Study of Political Psychology. In this issue, you will read about Gene Borgida's research at the intersection of psychology, law, and politics, and about Chris Federico's research on race and politics.
Our department is justly famous for its work on behavior genetics, including the influential work with twins done by Tom Bouchard and colleagues. In this issue, read about the ongoing research of Matt McGue (recently appointed a Regents Professor) and Bill Iacono. We are also proud of Irv Gottesman, a 1960 Ph.D. from our department and one of the father figures of behavior genetics, who has been honored with a recent major American Psychological Association (APA) award.
Our undergraduate program continues to flourish. During the past academic year, we introduced a new version of the senior project course (Psy. 3902). Majors now choose among three options  --  research lab, community engagement, or an individualized project. I wish you could have shared with me the excitement generated by the students who displayed their findings at two recent poster sessions. It's clear that these projects are succeeding in linking course work in psychology with its applications in research and real-world human experience. Special thanks to Professor Tom Brothen, who has overseen the redesign of this course.
In 2006 our department received an APA Culture of Service Award. The citation pointed out that "the Department has a long history of commitment to service within the profession and to the public." The department has used the accompanying cash award to initiate a program of small grants for psychology undergraduate majors. The goal is to assist our students in activities linking their psychology studies with outreach and public engagement. In this issue, you will read about Maureen Kunkler, one of our 2008 APA Engagement Award winners.
Many of you who were psychology students will have benefited from the wise leadership of two committed educators, John Campbell and Holly Hatch-Surisook. I am pleased to tell you that John was honored for his contributions to graduate
education with the all-University Director of Graduate Studies Award. Holly was honored for her contributions to our undergraduate program with the all-
University John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
We look forward to hearing from you and to staying in touch. For more information about the department, have a look at our Web site at www.psych.umn.edu. You can contact the department by phone at 612-625-2818, or you can reach me by e-mail at legge@umn.edu.

Best wishes!
Gordon E. Legge, Ph.D.
Psychology Department Chair and
Distinguished McKnight University Professor

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This page contains a single entry by cla published on November 25, 2008 2:35 PM.

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