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162003Volume 16, Issue7July 2003

Presidential Column

Henry L. Roediger, III
Henry L. Roediger, III
Washington University in St. Louis
APS President 2003 - 2004
All columns

In this Issue:
Focus on Academia: The Complete Academic

About the Observer

The Observer is the online magazine of the Association for Psychological Science and covers matters affecting the research, academic, and applied disciplines of psychology. The magazine reports on issues of interest to psychologist scientists worldwide and disseminates information about the activities, policies, and scientific values of APS.

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Up Front

  • Focus on Academia: The Complete Academic

    Universities are fascinating places. Since 1965, when I began my freshman year in college, I have spent the greater part of my life at six universities (Washington & Lee University for undergraduate work; Yale University for graduate work; and then on the faculty at Purdue University for 12 years, the University of Toronto for three years, Rice University for eight years, and now Washington University in St. Louis for seven years). Studying universities and their inhabitants has become an avocation. Each university has its own ethos, its own peculiar characteristics, and its endearing student customs. W&L has a fancy dress ball, Purdue has Swine Day and a Pork Princess (really - or at least it did when I was there), Rice has a Beer-Bike Marathon, and my current home has something called W.I.L.D. - Walk In, Lie Down. (Don't ask).

More From This Issue

  • MBA Student Stereotypes ‘Entirely Accurate’: Latham Motivates with Social Science Research

    Part of Gary Latham's job is to teach MBA students to appreciate and value social science research. Latham, of the University of Toronto, discussed his experience at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association. Latham has learned to be creative in teaching his students about research. He has turned to Lewin's famous dictum, "No research without action, no action without research," to develop a way to instruct MBA students about research. His methods work; by the time his students graduate, they are true believers in the power of social science research. The key to Latham's success lies in involving his students in research that is directly applicable to their lives.

  • Increasing Student Involvement at WPA

    This year's annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association marked the inaugural meeting of the WPA Student Council of Representatives. The creation of the Student Council is the latest in a series of moves designed to foster student involvement in WPA. For example, WPA has recently established an endowment to provide students with scholarships and research support. WPA's conference programs include material designed for graduate students, such as last year's workshop on getting published and this year's symposia on the ins and outs of getting a job in academia. Last year, WPA added a Graduate Student Representative position to their board of directors.

  • At the Intersection of Psychology and Medicine

    Editor's Note: The following column is from a presentation by Siegfried Streufert and Usha Satish at the 2003 annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association. The more than 40-year-old behavioral complexity theory and the much newer science-wide complexity theory consider many observed phenomena as "open systems" that can only be sufficiently understood and (where possible) predicted at their current level of multidimensional functioning. Human behavior (in behavioral complexity theory) as well as all phenomena studied by science (ranging from atoms to economies in science-wide theory) constrain the options of lower level components that make up a system.

  • Psychologists in Non-Traditional Academic Departments

    Re-engineering Social Encounters By Robert Kraut Robert Kraut is the Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human Computer Interaction and Social Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his PhD in social psychology from Yale University in 1973. He conducts research on the design and impact of computer-mediated communication systems. More information is available at

  • NINR Sleep Research Means Wake-Up Call for Policy

    Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have turned on its head a century of what we thought we knew about sleep loss. Earlier studies had people convinced that they adapted to repeated sleep loss and so it posed no great risk. Today, rigorously controlled laboratory investigation funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research shows that "that's categorically not the case," says APS Member David Dinges. His finding that chronic sleep loss comes at a high price in cognitive performance is now being applied to work rules for truck drivers and airline pilots, astronauts and medical interns.

  • The Changing Image of Psychology: The Rise of Applied Psychology

    Data from the National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education show tremendous growth in the number of psychology degrees granted at all levels. Over the past 30 years, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded each year has more than doubled, as has the number of doctorates. The number of master's degrees has nearly tripled. In contrast, the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded in economics, political science, and Sociology has remained stagnant. What becomes of all these new psychologists? There has been a striking decline in the proportion of psychologists entering academic positions in favor of applied positions in business and government.