About this icon's image: A collage of Edward Conradi's photo and a December, 1988, headline announcing that the FSCW alumnae had endowed an eminent scholar chair in Psychology in Conradi's name. Conradi received his Ph.D. in psychology from Clark University in 1904 and was President of FSCW from 1909-1941.
As the Department began this 20-year period, several influences were about to converge that would trigger wholesale changes in governance procedures and the configuration of academic areas, both of which had been stable since the 1950s. The faculty worked with exemplary collegiality to resolve issues that, in some ways, were thrust upon it by outside events. In the later years of this period, the Department successfully continued the momentum and progress achieved in earlier eras, but in a newly configured context.
The popularity of Psychology courses for undergraduates continued to pose significant challenges for maintaining quality in instructional settings. Of course, the huge changes in technology that occurred during this period greatly influenced the Department's research activities and its day-to-day functioning. Although the number of faculty remained more or less stable in this period, the composition of the faculty changed as a result of departures, retirements and deaths.
Influences That Spurred The Department's Major Changes In This 20-year Period. Modern readers might want to get a sense of three influences which provide a context for understanding many of the structural changes in the Department's organization and governance processes. First, early in the period there was a quite limited awareness among faculty about administrative issues and procedures in both the Department and the University. Second, the faculty became increasingly concerned about shortfalls in the amount of funding the Department received from the College of Arts & Sciences. And finally, just a few years into this period, a new Dean of Arts & Sciences was appointed, with far-reaching consequences for Psychology. Click here to see a short explanatory note on each of these influences.
Challenges From Popularity Of Undergraduate Psychology Courses. In this period, the Department faced a particular challenge to provide quality undergraduate instruction in the face of burgeoning undergraduate enrollments. One measure of the faculty's success in meeting this challenge is the record of awards received for excellence in undergraduate teaching and advising from the University and the College of Arts & Sciences. In this 20-year period, Psychology faculty received a total of 23 such awards, including 2 Distinguished Teaching Professor Awards, 14 awards for Excellence in Teaching, and 7 awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. (Specifics of these awards can be found in the "Awards and Honors to Psychology's Faculty" section of the Archive.) The Department's strategies for coping with high undergraduate enrollments while providing quality instruction differed in the two decades of this 20-year period. These different strategies, and their outcomes, are described separately for each decade under headings in "The Details" sections below.
Impact Of New Technologies. These were times of great technological change in the country and, eventually, in the universities. In the Psychology Department, the leading edge of that change was experienced by laboratory researchers who had the benefit of custom-made interfaces for data collection, and devices for data analysis, designed and constructed by the Electronics and Computer shops in the Technical Support Group (see "History of Psychology's Technical Support Group"). Eventually, the availability of desktop computers such as Apple II computers (in the late 1970s) and IBM PCs (in the early 1980s) encouraged the use of computers in faculty and administrative offices. The result was major changes in the process by which scholarly work and grant proposals were prepared, in the way some teaching functions were carried out, in the process for budgetary decisions, and in the evaluation of graduate student applications. In the early 1990s, offices and labs in the Department's two buildings were interconnected by Ethernet, which set the stage for many other changes. The Department's first web site was mounted in the mid-1990s. Click here for details of how changes in technology affected the Department in this period.
Assembling A Department History. In the late 1980s it was realized that many faculty from Psychology's earliest FSU years were nearing retirement and that the Department was about to lose day-to-day contact with key players who knew that part of our institutional history. This realization suggested a project to assemble a history of FSU's Psychology Department, which has evolved into the present-day Scarborough Historical Archives. Click here for details about the Scarborough Historical Archives' origins..
Changes In Faculty During This 20-year Period. Many new faculty were hired, and several faculty retired including some who had played significant roles since the early years of the Florida State University era. Unfortunately, some faculty were also lost to untimely death. The surprise availability of an Eminent Scholar Chair in Psychology (the first in the College of Arts & Sciences) provided a particularly important opportunity for faculty expansion that was fulfilled by the mid-1990s. Click here for details of hiring, retirements and deaths between 1975 and 1995.
Arguably, the events of the 1975 - 1995 period provided the Department with a solid foundation for its subsequent evolution into a key science department at FSU.
More detailed accounts of major events in this 20-year period are presented here, divided into successive decades of the period.
1975 - 1986
The first 10-year period coincided with Joe Grosslight's final decade as Chair (1975-1986). After the huge increase in faculty, research space, technical support staff and graduate students during the previous 15 years, the mid-1970s began with the Department maintaining the excitement and momentum of its recent past. Joe Grosslight was beginning his second decade as Chair, the hiring of new faculty continued at a good pace, faculty research and teaching was increasingly successful in all the ways that matter, and enrollment in psychology's undergraduate courses grew at a fast pace.
However, other events occurred in these years that eventually led to significant change in Departmental governance and academic areas. In particular, a new Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences (in 1979) required the Department to begin electing its Chair for 3-year terms, and also challenged the suitability of some of our traditional academic areas in a "science" department in the College. Although faculty were increasingly successful in scholarship and teaching, in attracting external research funding, and in coping with burgeoning undergraduate and graduate enrollments, there was a growing sense that the Department's successes were not suitably reflected in the College's allocation of funds. Change seemed to be warranted.
1986 - 1995
In the second 10 years of the period (1986-1995), faculty continued to be productive and successful, and graduate and undergraduate enrollments increased. Early in this period the faculty also adopted new procedures for self-governance, and re-organized the Department's traditional academic areas in a significant way for the first time since the 1950s. Late in the 1980s, donors of the first endowed Chair in the College of Arts & Sciences designated Psychology as the home Department for that Chair, providing a major opportunity to enhance a new area of academic research and training. In the later years of this period, the Department succeeded in making significant additions to the faculty and in improving the quality of undergraduate instruction through a variety of means. During these years, the Department became comfortable with its new pattern of electing a Chair from the regular faculty every 3 years, and with the new wide-spread involvement of faculty in all aspects of its governance.
Michael Rashotte served the first 3-year term as Chair (1986-1989) following Joe Grosslight's 20-year run in that position. George Weaver completed this period with two 3-year terms as Chair (1989-1995). Throughout, faculty worked with collegial enthusiasm to make the major transitions go as smoothly as possible. Key faculty spent hours preparing Psychology's first bylaws for faculty self-governance, and many faculty assumed newly created administrative roles and committee assignments to guide the Department in its new era. Significant faculty hiring was achieved, including several positions related to the Endowed Chair provided through the generosity of alumnae of Florida State College for Women. Productivity of faculty in research and grant activity accelerated, and effective strategies were implemented to cope with the huge increase in undergraduate enrollment. At the end, the Department was a different and stronger entity than at the beginning. A solid foundation had been laid for future developments.