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About this icon's image: An undated photo of Graham Oliff at his workbench in the Instrument Shop on the basement level of the Psychology Research Building (probably in the mid-1970s). Oliff was the first member of the Technical Support Group hired when the Psychology Research Building opened in 1965. He retired from the Department in 1989.


History of Psychology's Technical Support Group

OVERVIEW

When asked recently what questions should be asked to frame a history of the Technical Support Group in Psychology, Ross Henderson suggested three fundamental questions about how the group began:


 

1) Who had the vision for the group?
2) Who got the money to get it started?
3) Who oversaw its development and maintenance?

When Jim Smith was posed these questions, he said the answers were clear:

1) Kenshalo
2) Kenshalo
3) Kenshalo


 

Jim, the one person remaining who was there at the beginning, is the undisputed authority. We think it is fair to say that Dan Kenshalo is the person to be credited with getting our large Technical Support Group established and funded in the mid-1960s, and well-managed for years afterwards. The present document will provide some facts and memories about those beginnings, about the talented people who have made up the group over the decades, and about the evolution and expansion of the group as technology changed drastically in the nearly 50 years since 1965.


1950 - 1965: But, there is also a history to recount about technical support for the Department's researchers before the mid-1960s, and we will begin with that part of the story which is based on recollections by faculty who were there.
Technical support in Psychology: 1950 to 1965


1965 - 1975: During about a 10 year period beginning in the mid-1960s, there was a great expansion of the Technical Support Facilities, stimulated by the large grants for a new Psychobiology research building and new faculty and technical support personnel. That era is recalled in historical documents found at the following link.
Technical support in Psychology: 1965 to 1975


1975 and Beyond: By about the mid-1970s, advances in technology and the demands of researchers led to an organization of Technical Support Facilities into several categories that have persisted until the present day. These "shops" include Instrumentation, Electronics, Computing, Biomedical Engineering, Graphic Design, Information Technology, and Facilities Management. A history of the post-1975 era is found at the following link.
Technical support in Psychology: 1975 and Beyond


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