At the turn of the century students at Florida State College in their first term of the junior year could take James' Psychology offered in the Department of Philosophy. Either Sanford or Titchener's Experimental Psychology book was used for the experimental portion of the course. By special arrangement post-graduate courses could be taken in physiological, comparative and social psychology.
In 1902 the first psychology laboratory in Florida was established at Florida State College. The laboratory included equipment for experimental work in the following areas: hearing, sight, haptics and organic sensations, taste and smell, and affective processes.
In 1905 Florida State College became Florida Female College. In 1907-1908 The School for Teachers offered two courses in psychology which included a brief study of the brain and nervous system and conditions of effective mental activity. In 1909 The Florida Female College became Florida State College for Women and Dr. Edward Conradi was named President. Conradi received his Ph.D. from Clark University in psychology. In 1909 the Philosophy department listed two psychology courses. One was a three-semester hour course required of juniors which presented a general introduction to the study of consciousness. The second course was Psychology of Religion that was also open to graduate students.
In 1912 President Conradi was listed under Philosophy and Psychology and taught two experimental psychology courses. The first experimental psychology course gave chief attention to sensation, perception, attention, memory and affective processes. The chief aim of the course was "...to teach students to psychologize and to introduce them to the methods of experimental psychology." The other instructor, Nathaniel Salley, was also dual listed in Education and Psychology and taught General and Child Psychology. For the first time psychology was listed as a separate department.
In 1918 a major was provided with no courses for freshmen or sophomores. The major required five semester hours the junior year and six in the senior year. Two advanced courses were also offered for candidates for Master's degree. One of these courses was the Psychology and Physiology of Vision.
Apparently in the late teens and early 1920's there was again a question of where Psychology should be administratively. In 1917 it was listed with Sociology and in 1921 back with Philosophy. In 1921 there were six courses including Business, Social and Genetics. Also available for seniors who had a year of college physics was an advanced experimental course. This course was for the study of visual sensations and perceptions.
The following year Conradi, Finner and Bassett provided 13 courses with Finner listed as instructor in 11 of the courses.
The late 1920's was a significant growth period for Psychology. By 1930 there were six faculty members offering a total of 28 courses. Included was The Psychology of Personal Efficiency, "The Planning of Life to Attain its Major Values," and a course, The Psychology of Aesthetics, "Examination of the Psychological Aspects of Beauty." The department also provided a Behavior Clinic for "Children with Problems of Behavior" and graduate work for the master's degree. In 1931 Dr. Hugh Waskom was on board as an Associate Professor.
In the early years of the Great Depression Psychology retained its six faculty positions although some salaries were reduced, including President Conradi's (from $8,500 to $6,000). Just before the beginning of World War II (1940-41) the Psychology Department, with seven faculty members, provided 40 courses plus DIS and graduate work. Also it was reported in 1941 that there were 18 rooms for Psychology laboratories on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Education Building. Included were a semi-sound proof room, a dark room and rooms for observation of children. Undergraduate majors were expected to take 24 semester hours of work in the department.
Following World War II (1947) Florida State College for Women became Florida State University. This was the last year Dr. Finner served as Department Head, and the faculty now consisted of a total of 10 members. Three years later the instructional staff had grown to 16 plus two teaching assistants. The faculty in 1950 included Howard Baker, Winthrop Kellogg and Dan Kenshalo.
In the Finner and Waskom eras, close ties were developed with the College of Education. There were joint appointments which have continued down across time. For example, Harold Cottingham in Counseling and Guidance was on Psychology's roster from 1947-1952.
A number of changes occurred in the psychology program in the early 1950's. There was a progression of changes associated with child psychology courses. These included Child Development, Child Development Institute, Institute of Human Development, Human Development Clinic, the Psychological Clinic, Child Counseling Services and Guidance Services. Ralph Witherspoon and Doug Smith were the dominant figures in these and other changes.
In the Fall of 1953 Waskom called Dick Husband in Ames and asked that he come in January instead of the following September, as Waskom had a faculty member who was going on leave. Dr. Husband would add an area not covered in the course offerings--Industrial Psychology.
Lawrence Chalmers, Wally Kennedy, Rychlak and I joined the department in September 1957. At that time Psychology was largely located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the Education Building. The Board of Control and University Personnel occupied most of the space in the basement of the building. Office and laboratory space was variously located on and off the campus. Part of my laboratory was located in a house at the comer of Jefferson and Woodward streets. Initially I shared office space with Wally Kennedy in a small room on the 4th floor of the Education Building. The room had space for a small desk and one chair and access was through a conference room (now histology).
Administratively Dr. Waskom functioned as a department Head and not as Chairman. For example, he typically made out teaching schedules and advised the faculty of their assignments. My first term I was assigned Educational Psychology--a new course for me. When Education moved across campus, an animal room was established on the west side of the 4th floor. Faculty and students were responsible for animal maintenance. Dr. Waskom appointed me as the nominal supervisor of the animal room. On my appointment he asked me to go with him to inspect the facility. On leaving the room he pulled up the legs of his trousers to discover a dozen fleas on his legs. I assumed his metabolism was better than mine inasmuch as I had no fleas.
During the construction of the Kellogg Building (early 1960's) a passer-by inquired who was building the swimming pool. A water pipe had burst and filled the area excavated for the building. As we moved into the building in 1965, some of us experienced construction problems. My animal room was painted so it could be washed with a hose. The first time we attempted to hose the walls the water did not go to the center floor drain but went out the door and down the elevator shaft.
Joe Grosslight became Chairman in 1966 and immediately began a recruiting drive to fill gaps and add depth to some areas of the program. By 1970-71 the faculty had doubled to over 40 members plus adjuncts and dual appointments. Joe's recruiting was his effort to keep the program abreast of the professional changes in the discipline which were occurring at the national level.
Mike Rashotte assumed the Chair in 1986. The department was indeed fortunate to have within its rank a person who could step in as Chair with an eye on increasing program quality and building on the existing organization and structure. I especially appreciated Mike's performance as Chair as a result of a history of pinch hitting for Dr. Waskom several times in the early 1960's and for Joe Grosslight in 1972-73.
In the academic year of 1988 two related events were underway in the Department of Psychology. There was a good possibility of obtaining an Endowed Eminent Scholar Chair. The Chair would honor psychologist Edward Conradi who was President of the University from 1909 to 1941. The originator of the idea for the Chair was Kitty Hoffman (for whom the Hoffman Teaching Laboratory in Chemistry was named). Kitty Hoffman, Sara Srygley and I were members of the Conradi Chair Fund Raising Steering Committee during the discussions of the proposed Chair and its location. Paula Fortunas, FSU Foundation Vice President for Planned Giving, was instrumental in the early funding of the Chair, and in the Fall of 1989 the first Chair in the College of Arts and Sciences became a reality. The Chair is to be located in perpetuity in the Department of Psychology. A related event was also underway in 1988. Mike Rashotte, who was Psychology's Chair, suggested a history of the department be arranged via a photographic display of the faculty and former faculty members. Additionally, he expressed the desire to display some of the laboratory equipment used in years past which still existed around the department.
As a result of discussions among a number of the senior faculty members it was decided to get photographs of those faculty members with a minimum tenure of 20 years in the department. It was also agreed to include those with less than 20 years who were no longer in the department but judged to have made significant contributions to departmental programs. The expressed desire was to include all faculty who directed graduate students in their Ph.D. programs so that in future visits of the graduates to the department they would see the photographs of their professors.
In gathering the material for the Chair a number of Conradi's photos became available. His photograph was used as a starting point with the other photographs aligned in chronological order of tenure in the department and in keeping with the agreed criteria for inclusion. Unfortunately, a number of former faculty members did not respond to our request for photos. However, Psychobiology photographer Charles Badland's expertise in photographing current faculty and in his reproduction of photos from originals of various sizes and quality, pictures in yearbooks and from other sources, made it possible to arrange the photos into groups with a pleasing perspective. The challenge of how to hang the photographs was nicely handled by facilities manager Stan Warmath. Stan also agreed to collect the old lab equipment for eventual display.
In June 1989 there was a dedication of a series of photographs in a ceremony in room 229 KRB, where a number of the presentations gave a "Historical Perspective" of the department. This event and the reality of the Edward Conradi Endowed Scholar Chair convinced Mike Rashotte that the time was right for the department to have a document which pictured the route it had followed in years past. It was the consensus of the senior faculty that the document should embody, in addition to the distant past, some of the recent efforts as expressed during the presentations of the Historical Perspective ceremony. Howard Baker, Dick Husband, Dan Kenshalo, Wally Kennedy and I were asked by Mike to assume the responsibility for gathering the desired information and assembling a brief history. This Committee decided that a major portion of the document would be the "recollections" of the early years in the department by the members of the Committee. Their "memories" would include a brief account of the early History of the University and of the early History of the Department. The members of the Committee represented a cross section of the areas offered in the discipline with the exception of the School program. Will Nelson was asked to "recollect" for that area. Additionally, the Committee felt it could significantly enhance the purpose and goal of the effort by obtaining "recollections" from former faculty members. Accordingly, included in the Appendix are letters received in response to their request. Dr. George Weaver, the current Chair of the department, has added A Brief Update.
The Appendix also includes copies of pages from University bulletins and related sources listing faculty members and course offerings at selected intervals from the turn of the century to 1989. The growth in number of faculty members, in course offerings and in program diversity is evident.