About this icon's image: The cover-page of the program for the dedication of the new Psychology Building in July 2008 is shown. The 103,000 square-foot building houses offices, labs and teaching facilities for the entire Psychology faculty. It also includes the Stan & Paula Warmath Courtyard, made possible by their generosity.


The 1995-2012 period saw many significant events that moved the Department into a new century with strong momentum and a sense of change and advance. A faculty/staff retreat was held early in the period to map future directions. A new Psychology Building was planned, funded, constructed and occupied during these years, providing the entire faculty with a single physical home for offices and research space for the first time in decades. In 2003, Psychology celebrated the twin milestones of 100 years on campus, and 50 years of doctoral training. For the first time since the 1960s, the Dean of Arts & Sciences was a research psychologist, Don Foss, whose academic appointment was in the Department.

Although many long-time faculty and staff members retired in this period, excellent replacements were recruited and the long-standing collegial spirit among faculty and staff remained intact. The high quality of Psychology faculty was recognized by awards such as the Robert & Eugenia Morcom Endowed Professorship and two Robert O. Lawton Professorships. A Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar Professorship and hiring in the University's cluster-hire program provided significant new faculty who offered varied approaches to focused research problems. Grant funding from federal, state and private sources reached an all-time high for faculty and graduate students in all academic areas. Psychology faculty played the central roles in attracting significant funding from the State to establish a center for reading research, which has become a preeminent State and national resource. The organization of academic training areas was refined, and plans to enhance collaboration among faculty and students in the different academic areas were put into action. Annual celebrations of research activities by graduate and undergraduate students were instituted.

This 17-year period was as busy, innovative and exciting a time in the Department's history as any described in this Archive. Of course, there were difficult times too, particularly when we experienced the untimely deaths of three active faculty members.

Two Department Chairs - and a Long-Term Associate Chair. The Department was fortunate that the two faculty members it elected as Chair during this period were remarkably successful in managing the many changes. Each of these Chairs was a "first" for the Department: Rob Contreras (1995-2002) was the first Chair from an ethnic minority group, and Janet Kistner (2002-2012) was the first female Chair. In addition to maintaining successful research and graduate-student supervision, they arranged for the hiring of several significant faculty members, encouraged important advances in the scholarly atmosphere of the Department, and facilitated several historic changes including successfully negotiating the administrative labyrinth leading to completion of Psychology's new building in 2008.

The Department continued to benefit from the skills, wise counsel and experience of Ellen Berler in the position of Associate Chair. Ellen initially served in this position during the six years when George Weaver was Chair (1989-1995), and added another 17 years in that position during the Contreras and Kistner years. In addition to work in the Clinical and the Applied Behavior Analysis areas, she provides an extraordinary administrative perspective on over 25 years of Departmental history.

Click here for more about the Chairs and Associate Chair in the 1995 - 2012 period.

Academic Areas. The Department reinstated a Social Psychology area, better-defined it's Cognitive Psychology area, expanded its Neuroscience area, introduced a Developmental Psychology focus, and enhanced its Clinical training by the opening of a new Psychology Clinic in the new Psychology building. In 1999, the Department established a Masters Program with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis headquartered at FSU's branch campus in Panama City, Florida. Also, Psychology faculty from the Cognitive and Clinical areas played key roles in establishing the interdisciplinary Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) in 2002. Most of these changes are described in detail in Histories of Psychology's Academic Programs.

Coping With High Undergraduate Enrollment & Providing Quality Instruction. High enrollments in undergraduate Psychology courses and labs continued to pose challenges for providing quality instruction. A major step forward occurred in 2006 when a new 220 seat Psychology lecture hall became available as the first phase of the new Psychology Building was completed (below, left). In 2008, when the entire building was completed, the Department offered new facilities for undergraduate classes, laboratories, and advising, including a new computer laboratory in Room A108 (below, right). Dedicated space for Psi Chi, the undergraduate honors society in Psychology, was also provided. During this period, the Department hired the first non-tenure track faculty for teaching large-enrollment courses.



Changes In Faculty & Staff 1995 - 2012. During its earlier period of great expansion [1965-1975] the Department hired a large number of faculty, technical-support and office-staff personnel. Many remained as long-term members who contributed to the advances recounted in our history. Because hiring was so clustered 30+ years ago, however, an unusually large fraction of the Department's faculty and staff became eligible for retirement during the present period, a sharp increase from retirements during the previous 20 years [1975-1995] when only 6 faculty and 1 senior technical-support person retired. Undoubtedly, some decisions to retire were facilitated by the Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP), introduced in 1998, which offered attractive fiscal benefits for retiring faculty and staff in the Florida Retirement System. In addition to a large number of retirees in this period, the Department suffered other significant losses through the untimely deaths of 3 active faculty members, and the departure of its long-time business manager. Needless to say, these circumstances presented a major challenge and opportunity to recruit new faculty and staff that would further enhance the Department's research and teaching activities. The Department's Chairs and faculty committees worked effectively during this period to hire many new faculty and staff, including a distinguished scholar for a Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar Chair, the first in the Department. The Department also hired its first faculty in non-tenure track positions to help teach heavily enrolled courses. Finally, an innovative Masters Program with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis was established at the Panama City Campus under the co-directorship of Jon Bailey and Ellen Berler, working from the main campus; new faculty hired for this program were Panama City appointments.  Click here for details of hiring, retirements and deaths between 1995 and 2012.

Planning, Funding, Constructing and Occupying a New Psychology Building. Since 1902, Psychology's teaching and research activities had been concentrated in locations near the main gate of the Institution, first in a laboratory in College Hall, and then in the old Education Building which served as home-base for the Department after 1918.  Click here for a brief overview of main-campus locations for Psychology. (Also: see Psychology In the Beginning 1902-1930).

During the present period, a large new building for Psychology on the West side of campus was successfully planned, funded, constructed and occupied. In 2008, the new Psychology Building was opened with modern teaching, research, office and technical-support facilities for the entire Department, including dedicated space for the Psychology Clinic and the Florida Center For Reading Research. This significant milestone required the skilled work of two Chairs - Rob Contreras early in the process, Janet Kistner in the years after 2002 - and the Director of Facilities, Stan Warmath, who served as the liaison between the Department's faculty/staff and the personnel from architects/construction groups. Stan oversaw the project on a day-to-day basis.

The historic events surrounding groundbreaking, construction, and dedication of the new building were well documented in photos and videos.  Click here for details of the groundbreaking, construction and dedication of the Psychology Building.

SELECTED DEVELOPMENTS: 1995-2002 and 2002-2012

Detailed accounts of some major events in this 17-year period are presented here, divided into the 1995 - 2002 years when Rob Contreras served as Chair, and the 2002 - 2012 years when Janet Kistner was Chair.

1995 - 2002

Department Retreat (1997). About a year into his first term as Department Chair, Rob Contreras proposed the idea of a day-long retreat at which the entire faculty would consider issues and opportunities. He appointed a planning committee of faculty from all academic areas to suggest topics and format. The retreat, held on January 18, 1997, at the Golden Eagle Golf Club, included small-group discussions among faculty from different academic areas focused on a variety of topics, including initiatives to strengthen and increase interactions among areas, new faculty hiring, curriculum issues, and graduate student recruiting and training. The recommendations of each group were reported to the entire gathering for further discussion. Don Foss, Dean of Arts & Sciences, whose academic appointment was in Psychology, was a participant. The photo shows Rob Contreras addressing the group at the start of the retreat. Several themes emerged from the discussions which helped guide future policy and initiatives in the Department. For example, a graduate seminar on the topic of Aging taught by faculty from three academic areas (Mark Licht, Clinical; Neil Charness, Cognitive & Behavioral Science; Karen Glendenning, Neuroscience) was an early instance of how the retreat encouraged integration of multiple faculty perspectives on broad themes. Such multi-area approaches in research and in teaching were to become more common in subsequent years, to the advantage of graduate training and collaborative research initiatives. Click here to see the schedule for the day-long Retreat, and a photo of a discussion group at work.

Handling A Major Controversy About A Faculty Member's Positions On Genetics & Race. A controversy arose concerning positions taken on the role of genetics and race by a senior faculty member in the Neuroscience area. These positions, highly publicized in local and national media, became a divisive issue in the Department and on campus. The handling of this controversy by Department and University administrators, and by faculty and students, echoed admirable stands taken in handling two major controversies in the Department's earlier history which were firmly based on the fundamental principle of academic freedom.  Click here for an account of the controversy on genetics and race.

Masters Program in Psychology With a Specialty in Applied Behavioral Analysis is Established at FSU's Panama City Campus (1999). In 1982, Florida State University acquired a branch campus at Panama City (Florida) when the State Legislature and the Board of Regents assigned FSU the administrative responsibility for the Panama City campus of the University of West Florida. In subsequent decades many undergraduate courses in Psychology (and other fields) were taught at FSU's new branch campus by faculty whose primary appointment and duties were on the Tallahassee campus. A Masters Program in Applied Psychology was begun at Panama City, but closed in the late 1990s due to low enrollments. Jon Bailey, with a long record of doctoral students in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at FSU's Psychology Department, proposed that a non-thesis M.S. program might be established at Panama City with a specialty in ABA. Ellen Berler, with a long record of administrative accomplishments at FSU's Psychology Department, joined Jon as a co-founder of the new program. The Masters Program with a specialty in ABA began in 1999, with Bailey and Berler serving as its co-directors (Berler stepped down from this position in Fall, 2011). From the beginning, the Masters program had resident faculty at the Panama City campus, all Ph.D. Board Certified Behavior Analysts, hired by the Panama City Dean, with some oversight by the Tallahassee Department. Jon Bailey was also a regular instructor in the program, in addition to his duties in the FSU Department. The program has been very successful in attracting students as well as interest from employers for its graduates. Students in the program live in Panama City or in Tallahassee, taking classes by means of interactive TV technology and with hands-on training at agencies in the communities. Although Jon Bailey retired in 2007 as Professor Emeritus from his appointment in the Tallahassee Department, he continued to teach and advise in the program. The web site for the Masters Program is: http://www.pc.fsu.edu/Academics/Graduate-Programs/Psychology-Applied-Behavior-Analysis. A detailed history of behavioral training at FSU's Tallahassee campus and at the Panama City Campus can be found in the Archive at "Histories of Psychology's Academic Programs".

Florida Center for Reading Research Is Established (2002) A detailed account of this important development can be found in Histories of Psychology's Academic Areas.  Click here for A History of the Florida Center for Reading Research by Joseph K. Torgesen (2012).

A Francis Eppes Eminent Scholar Appointment in Psychology: Roy Baumeister (2002)

Eppes Eminent Scholar Professorships are named after Frances Eppes, a grandson of President Thomas Jefferson, who played a vital role in the 1850s in convincing the Florida Legislature to locate FSU's earliest institutional predecessor (The Seminary West of the Suwannee) in Tallahassee. Eppes Professorships have primarily been used to attract distinguished scholars to join the faculty. In 2002, Psychology was successful in attracting Roy Baumeister as an Eppes Professor. Roy (Ph.D. Princeton, 1978) came to the Department from Case Western Reserve University. He is the senior member of Psychology's Social Psychology area of graduate training.

2002 - 2012

2003: Celebrating 100 Years of Psychology On-Campus and 50 Years of Doctoral Training. In 2003 the Department celebrated the first 100 years of Psychology on-campus, and 50 years of doctoral training. With the strong support of the Department Chair, Janet Kistner, the Scarborough Historical Archives Committee planned events for a day-long gathering. A poster was printed to note some main achievements during the FSCW and the FSU years of Psychology, and a second poster was made listing all the doctoral graduates by year since the first doctorate in 1953. These two posters, shown below, were mailed to all alumni, and were distributed to faculty and friends of the Department. They can be found elsewhere in the Archives in versions that allow interactive contact with the images in the 100 Year poster (see Welcome) and access to a searchable file of all doctoral graduates which is kept current (see Psychology's History of Graduate Training).



Psychology celebrated its Centennial in morning and afternoon sessions on April 5, 2003. The morning session included presentations by senior faculty about Psychology's history on campus, and an optimistic update about the impending new Psychology Building by Janet Kistner.  Click here to see the program of events for the celebration, and photos from the morning session.

The afternoon session focused on cultural diversity in Psychology's doctoral training program. It included a symposium at which Ph.D. alumni from the 1960s and '70s recounted their experiences as early minority students in our program. It also included a presentation by an undergraduate Psychology Major who was the first to assemble the facts about racial and ethnic diversity of psychology doctoral recipients at FSU between 1953 and 2002. Daniel Hollar, the undergraduate, subsequently enrolled in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at FSU and earned his Ph.D. in 2010 under the direction of Thomas Joiner.  Click here to see a detailed program for the afternoon session, biosketches of participating alumni, the full text of the paper describing diversity in our doctoral recipients, and photos from the afternoon event.

Annual Graduate Research Day Begins. In Spring, 2003, Psychology initiated a department-wide celebration of research by graduate students. The first Graduate Research Day was held in the auditorium of FSU's Claude Pepper Center on the main campus near the Psychology Department. Here is how the Department's web site at the time described the goal of the event and its outcome:

The Department of Psychology held its inaugural Graduate Research Day on April 18, 2003. Graduate Research Day was designed to highlight past and ongoing student research, facilitate collaboration between divisions of the department, and enhance the professional development of graduate students by encouraging and enabling them to present their research in a professional forum. This year's event featured eight oral presentations and twenty poster presentations. It was a well-attended first edition of what promises to become an annual departmental tradition!

In subsequent years, Graduate Research Day has become a popular annual event showcasing ongoing research by current graduate students in all areas of the Department. From the beginning, the event included a keynote address by a distinguished graduate or current faculty member. In the inaugural event, that speaker was Jim Smith who had the unique status of being both a distinguished FSU graduate and a current faculty member. Since 2008, Graduate Research Day has been held in the atrium and lecture halls of the new Psychology building. It provides a vivid display of the breadth and sophistication of ongoing research by graduate students in the Department's laboratories.  Click here for more about the first Graduate Research Day in 2003.

Annual Undergraduate Research Day Begins (2009). In 2009, the Department initiated an annual Undergraduate Research Day at which undergraduates present completed research projects to faculty and other students. This event, modeled on the successful Graduate Research Day, is held late in the Spring Semester and attracts wide Departmental interest. The day includes poster and oral presentations. Psi Chi awards a cash prize for best poster. Oral presentations are made at a luncheon by students whose papers have been accepted for the prestigious Howard Baker Undergraduate Research Award competition, which was initiated in 1991.
Click here for more about the Howard Baker Award and a list of awardees.

Two Robert O. Lawton Professors in Psychology. In 2009 and, again, in 2010 the Department was honored to have two of its faculty recognized as Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professors, the University's highest faculty award. Rick Wagner (left) was the 2009 Lawton Professor, and Thomas Joiner (right) was the 2010 awardee. The awarding of Lawton Professorships to faculty in a single department in successive years had only occurred once since the award was initiated in 1957. Click here for the University's citations on the occasion of the Wagner and Joiner awards

Endowed Chair & Professorship. The quality of the Department's faculty was recognized by two notable gifts - an Endowed Chair, and an Endowed Professorship.

The generosity of Russell and Eugenia Morcom made possible the Russell & Eugenia Morcom Endowed Chair in Psychology, which is focused on research in reading. The initial incumbent was Joe Torgesen (left), who held the Morcom Chair from 2005 until his retirement in 2009. Joe, the founder of FSU’s Florida Center for Reading Research, wrote "A History of FCRR 2002-2012", which can be found in Histories of Psychology’s Academic Programs. In 2010, Rick Wagner (right) became the second incumbent of the Morcom Chair. Rick has continued to play a key role in FCRR and in the Psychology Department’s research effort in reading.

The R. Bruce Masterton Endowed Professorship became possible through the generosity of a graduate from our department.  Bill Jenkins completed his doctoral work in 1980 in what was then called the Psychobiology/Neuroscience area (now “Neuroscience Area”).  Bill’s major professor, the late Bruce Masterton (1932-1996), joined the Department in 1967 as part of the huge expansion in faculty during that period.  Bill endowed the professorship in memory of his major professor.  In 2012, Rick Hyson, Professor in the Neuroscience area, became the initial incumbent of the Masterton Professorship.
Click here for more details about this professorship as described in a news item at the time of its first award.

James C. Smith Lecture Initiated. The first annual James C. Smith lecture was held in October, 2008, in the auditorium of the new Psychology Building. The endowment of this lecture series was provided by Stan and Paula Warmath. Students, colleagues and friends of Jim Smith have augmented the endowment.

Smith Lecturers are distinguished researchers in behavioral neuroscience selected by a committee that includes Jim's former students. Lecturers spend several days on campus, meeting with students and faculty and making a public presentation. The inaugural speaker was Stephen C. Woods, Director of the Obesity Clinic at the University of Cincinnati. The poster for the first James C. Smith lecture is shown at right. This popular event attracts students and faculty from all areas of the Department and the Program in Neuroscience, as well as attendees from other universities.

Dedication of Rooms Honoring Howard D. Baker & Dan R. Kenshalo in the New Psychology Building. The Department honored two of its founding faculty in the FSU era by dedicating rooms in their name in the new Psychology Building. Howard Baker died in 2004; Dan Kenshalo died in 2007. On January 31, 2008, Room A204 of the new Psychology Building was dedicated as the Howard D. Baker Seminar Room. On March 21, 2008, Room A101 was dedicated as the Dan R. Kenshalo Lecture Hall during a Memorial Service held in his honor. The plaques shown below were mounted at the entrance to each room in March 2008.




MAIN: (850) 644-2040 · FAX: (850) 644-7739 · PSYNET · myFSU · HELP

Comments to: webmaster@psy.fsu.edu    DESKTOP VERSION