A history of the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University

Share

By Sheldon J. Lachman

Preface

This is an attempt to sketch a brief history of the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University. It is not entirely an objective history; the author has permitted his impressions, opinions, and judgments as well as a few anecdotes to intrude.

The author has no credentials as a historian and his sole qualification in writing it, if it is one, is length of association as a psychology faculty member for 48 years (1946-1994) and acquaintance with the first department chairperson and all subsequent chairpersons.

Although I received all three degrees, B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Michigan, I attended three other universities (University of Detroit, Ohio State University and Wayne State University) as an undergraduate before receiving the B.S. At Wayne State University I elected two courses with Ernest B. Skaggs and one with S. Edson Haven. Later as a post-degree student I also elected a course with W. C. F. Krueger. Therefore, I had some acquaintance with the faculty and they with me before I received an appointment to the department.

Since much of this history is dependent on memory and probably bias of the author, some material (e.g., dates) must be regarded as closely approximate rather than rigorously precise.

Summary of the development of Wayne State University

1896, Central High School, now called the Old Main Building, newly built then, on the block West Warren-Cass-Hancock-Second, was opened.

1897, Detroit Junior College was established. It shared space in the same building as the high school.

1923, The City College of Detroit, essentially a four-year liberal arts college, replaced the junior college. Shortly thereafter Central High School found new premises.

1933, The City College of Detroit (later the College of Liberal Arts) joined with Detroit Teachers College, the Detroit College of Medicine, the Detroit College of Pharmacy, and the Detroit City College of Law to form a single institution known as the Colleges of the City of Detroit.

1934, The Colleges of the City of Detroit was renamed Wayne University.

1935 and beyond, Beginning in the late 1930s the university began to expand northward. It purchased many large houses on Putnam, Merrick, Second, and Cass Avenue which were used as faculty offices and small classrooms. It also purchased a hotel, Webster Hall, at the southeast corner of Cass and Putnam which immediately became a dormitory and student center, and later became a faculty office building. It was renamed David Mackenzie Hall (after a former College of Liberal Arts dean). The first new university building was constructed at the northwest corner of Warren and Cass Avenue, the Science Building. During World War II, in the early 1940s, several "temporary classrooms" were built (of Quonset-hut type material) north of the Main Building, many of which were used for 15 years or more. From its inception, Wayne University was a municipal institution operating via the Detroit Board of Education, until 1956 when the state of Michigan assumed responsibility for the university and it was renamed Wayne State University.

Organization of the department history

I have divided development of the Department of Psychology at Wayne State University into three periods. During the period that Ross Stagner was chairperson, the department underwent its greatest transitions.

Prior to Stagner's arrival, it was a sound but small department concerned primarily with undergraduate education in psychology and with serving other units of the university (e.g., introductory psychology for nurses, introductory psychology for pre-education students, the psychology of music for the music school, etc.).

During the period of Stagner's tenure as chairperson, the department maintained or increased its quality, expanded in size and developed cogent doctoral programs in several areas including in particular clinical psychology, social psychology, industrial psychology, and general- experimental psychology. Thus, three periods are to be considered:

  1. The pre-Stagner period, 1923-1957 (34 years).

    1. Ernest Burton Skaggs, chairperson (1923-1947)

    2. Wilson McTeer, acting chairperson (1947-1951)

    3. W. C. F. Krueger, acting chairperson (1951-1952)

    4. Wilson McTeer, acting chairperson (1952-1954)

    5. C. M. Louttit, chairperson (1954-1956)

    6. Wilson McTeer, acting chairperson (1956-1957)

  2. The Stagner Period, 1957-1973 (16 years).

    At various times Stagner took leaves of absence to fulfill Fulbright or other scholarly obligations. The following people served as acting chairpersons during such times: Eli Saltz, Donald N. Elliott, Charles M. Solley.

  3. The post-Stagner period, 1973 to present.

    1. Sheldon Alexander, chairperson (1973-1983)

    2. M. Marlyne Kilbey, chairperson (1983-1992)

    3. Alan R. Bass, interim chairperson (1992-1995)

    4. Donald V. Coscina, chairperson (1995-present)

Psychology courses were apparently taught at the Detroit Junior College. No catalogs of Detroit Junior College are available in the Wayne State University Reuther Archives, except those of 1917-1918 and 1922-1923. The earlier catalog indicates "Psychology" (not offered in 1917 – 1918) which suggests that the college had earlier offered psychology courses or intended to offer such courses at a later time. The catalog does list Floyd M. Langworthy and Alfred G. Papworth, apparently members of the zoology department, who later taught psychology courses.

In the College of the City of Detroit catalog for 1923 and 1924, two psychology courses are listed: Introductory Psychology and Experimental Psychology.

In the 1924-1925 catalog, Ernest B. Skaggs, a Ph.D. student under W. B. Pillsbury and John F. Shepard at the University of Michigan, is listed as one of two psychology faculty members; the

other is Langworthy. Apparently Skaggs was appointed as chairman in 1923. In a disagreement with the administration, Skaggs resigned as chairman of the psychology department in 1947 and as a faculty member in 1949.

Skaggs at the time of assuming responsibilities at Wayne had recently completed his Ph.D. requirements; his dissertation research involved experimentation on retroactive interference. His later research involved primarily brass instrumentation of various kinds. He also wrote two introductory textbooks, A Theoretical and Experimental Textbook of Psychology (1934) and Human Psychology (1939).

William Charles Frederick Krueger was appointed junior instructor in 1928 and Wilson McTeer in 1929. Each earned the Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. At that time the department of psychology at the University of Chicago, the seat of American functionalism, had a strong faculty which included such psychologists as Harvey Carr, Karl S. Lashley, Marion Bills, and L. L. Thurstone.

The City College of Detroit became one of the Colleges of the City of Detroit in 1933 and was to become the College of Liberal Arts of Wayne University in 1934. The Department of Psychology was part of the College of Liberal Arts until 1992 when it was incorporated as part of the newly established College of Science.

In 1936 S. Edson Haven, a Ph.D. under Harold Burtt at Ohio State University became a member of the department. Ohio State University also had a strong department of psychology which included Sidney L. Pressey, Herbert Toops, Horace B. English, and H. H. Goddard. Although Haven's background was in industrial-personnel psychology, Haven was appointed primarily to assume responsibility for the course in psychological statistics and in this area Ohio State was particularly strong.

This quartet, Skaggs, Krueger, McTeer and Haven was the nucleus of the department between 1936 and 1947.

Samuel Waldfogel, Ph.D., 1946, University of Michigan, served in the psychology department from 1941 to 1948 at which time he received an appointment to Massachusetts General Hospital. Waldfogel taught courses such as the psychology of adjustment, physiological psychology and abnormal psychology.

In 1947, four instructors were added - Sheldon Lachman, Marion McPherson (actually she began work in the department two years earlier), Roy Robinson, and V. M. Tye. None of those people had a doctorate. World War II had recently ended. The university was flooded with students, including a large number of veterans. Ph.D.s in psychology, for the most part, were insufficient for the demand. All of these newly-appointed instructors later earned their doctoral degree - McPherson at Indiana University under J. R. Kantor, Tye at Ohio State University under Herbert Toops and Robinson and Lachman at the University of Michigan.

Solomon C. Grossman became student assistant to Professor Skaggs in 1924 and served the department in various positions from that time until the late 1940s. In the early 1930s he earned the M.D. degree and later became a psychiatrist. During World War II he performed as a psychiatrist in the military service. Dr. Grossman was responsible for developing and teaching two new courses - "Psychopathology" and "Psychoanalysis." It is possible that the course in psychoanalysis was among the first taught in an American university because at that time (the 1930s) academic psychology in the United States, largely oriented toward an experimental approach, was violently opposed to psychoanalysis.

In 1947 Skaggs resigned as chairman of the department in a dispute with administration over class size. The assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts wanted to put as many students into a classroom as it would hold and Skaggs maintained that his advanced course would be appropriate only for fewer students. The dean won and Skaggs resigned as chairman.

From 1947 through 1951, by appointment of the dean, Wilson McTeer was made Acting Chairman of the department (not Acting Chair or Acting Chairperson; such refinements in language did not then exist). After the 1951-1952 academic year, McTeer refused to serve further unless given permanent chairmanship. There was no consensus in the department for the chairmanship so W. C. F. Krueger served as Acting Chairman for one academic year, 1951- 1952. McTeer then resumed the acting chairmanship for two years, 1952-1954.

In January 1948, Arthur W. Kornhauser, a nationally prominent psychologist who had long been a faculty member at the University of Chicago (as well as Director of the Psychological Corporation branch office in Chicago) and a faculty member at Columbia University, was appointed professor of psychology by the administration. This is the only psychology faculty appointment of which I am aware made without consultation with or action of the psychology faculty.

For the academic year 1948, C. G. Browne (Ph.D., Ohio State University) and Charlie D. Moon (Ph.D., Boston University) were appointed assistant professors in the Department of Psychology.

In 1949 Donald N. Elliott (Ph.D., Purdue University) and Meade Killion (Killion had only a master's degree at that time) became members of the psychology faculty.

In January 1950, Gerald Rosenbaum (Ph.D., University of Iowa under Kenneth Spence) and in September 1950 Edith Jay (Ph.D., University of Chicago under L. L. Thurstone) were appointed assistant professors in the department.

Largely at the instigation of C. G. Browne and Arthur W. Kornhauser, graduate work to the master's level began in 1948 and was given further impetus later by Gerald Rosenbaum and Donald N. Elliott.

As an interesting sidelight: Kornhauser and Browne got along very well during the first year of their association. Kornhauser was an extreme liberal socially and politically; Browne was an outspoken republican and extremely conservative, i.e., reactionary. The reason why the two got along so well in the beginning was that Kornhauser believed that Browne was kidding, that Browne was "putting him on," that Browne adopted his position with humorous intent.

Kornhauser did not believe that anybody could be so far to the right. (In my comments at the Browne retirement party, I said that "Browne wants to revive feudalism" and that his motto was "Onward and forward into the 16th century." Browne, sitting at the head table, enthusiastically agreed with me; he had a good sense of humor.) When the light dawned for Kornhauser, a strong antagonism developed between the two. And for several years thereafter the department was divided on many issues with some supporting Kornhauser's position and some supporting Browne's position – very few were neutral. (The people without tenure tried to be.) Another aspect of the situation was that Browne very much wanted to be chairman.

Kornhauser had no such aspirations; he was mainly concerned with accomplishing his own research and guiding the research of graduate students and did not care to be bothered with the time-consuming chores of administration. But under no condition did he want the chairmanship to go to Browne.

The search for a permanent department chairman was carried on vigorously from 1947 onward. Many psychologists, a large number of them quite well-known, were contacted, and many came to campus to be interviewed and to provide presentations. Rejection for the position almost always came from the candidates and not from the department. However, after seven years of effort to recruit a chairperson, C. M. Louttit, an administrator at the University of Illinois - Urbana, accepted the position as chairman in 1954. Louttit was then editor of the Psychological Abstracts which he brought with him and earlier he had been director of the psychological clinic at Indiana University and editor of the Psychological Record there. During World War II he was lieutenant commander in the United States Navy.

Louttit was an inspiring organizer and leader, but unfortunately, before he had served two years, he was diagnosed as having leukemia and he passed away within one month of that diagnosis.

The doctoral program was initiated in the fall of 1955 while C. M. Louttit was chair of the psychology department and also of the university-wide (inclusive of business administration, sociology, education, social work, etc.) ph.d. program. During the first year of the program, seven students were admitted; these were James Dennerl, Shirley Dobie, James Grisell, Simon Herman, Rosemary Stark, Paul Sullivan, and Herbert Waldman. All were interested in clinical psychology except Herman who was interested in the industrial-organizational area. Gerald Rosenbaum had major responsibility for course instruction and for supervising the theses. He was the spark-plug for the program (in clinical psychology) and its director from the beginning until he retired in 1989. James Grisell finished his doctoral requirements first with Shirley Dobie completing them soon after. Both were awarded the Ph.D. at the 1959 graduation; both later served for many years at the Lafayette Clinic. Paul Sullivan for many years taught in the College of Education at Wayne (Dennerl, Herman, and Waldman are now deceased).

Most faculty in the department specialized in nonclinical areas and it was only gradually that students with expressed interests in other (i.e., nonclinical) areas began applying. The first such applicants were in the industrial-organizational area which is not particularly surprising since both Arthur Kornhauser and later Ross Stagner were well known and highly regarded in that area and Browne's research contributions were in the same area.

After Louttit's demise, McTeer again served as acting chairman for a year (1956-1957). Then in the Fall of 1957, again from the University of Illinois, the department was fortunate in attracting as psychology chairman, Ross Stagner. At the University of Illinois, Dr. Stagner was professor of psychology and labor relations. Earlier for 10 years, 1939 to 1949, he had served on the faculty of Dartmouth College. (For three of those years during World War II, 1943 to 1945, he was assistant personnel director at the Koppers Company in Pittsburgh.) Between 1935 and 1939 he was on the psychology faculty at the University of Akron. Stagner had performed sound experimental research studies, as well as research in social and industrial psychology, and was the author of a pioneering book on personality. Stagner's first selection for appointment to the department was Eli Saltz and within a few years Joel Ager, B. F. Auld, David Asdourian, Sandor Brent, Kenneth Davidson, James Dent, B. P. H. Poschel, Samuel S. Komorita, Hjalmar Rosen, and Charles M. Solley also became members of the expanding department.

Among others to join the department later were Lynn Anderson, Reubon Baron, Alan R. Bass, Gerald Cooke, Ira J. Firestone, Allen R. Harrington, Thomas D. Hollman, Robert J. Kastenbaum, Gerald Leventhal, Sheldon G. Levy, Craig T. Ramey, Cary Lichtman and Lillian Troll.

At the time Stagner assumed the chairmanship, although the psychology doctoral program had been established, no one had yet received a doctoral degree in psychology.

In 1947 when I began full-time teaching at Wayne State University, the standard teaching load was 15 hours and everyone taught 15 hours a week including the chairman. By 1957 when Stagner arrived, the student teaching load had been reduced to 12 hours.

Administration was interested in the number of students a department could be credited with teaching and Stagner reached the following agreement with administration by which the number of introductory psychology students could be handled more expeditiously. Dr. Krueger would prepare a series of introductory psychology lectures televised via other monitors in other classrooms. The performance could be viewed simultaneously in several classrooms at once. (This was necessary because few classrooms available to psychology seated more than 40.) Obviously this would free faculty to teach more of the advanced courses and it permitted an increase in the number of students accommodated by the psychology department. In exchange for this, Stagner secured agreement from the administration that full-time faculty members would teach only two courses (six to eight hours) per term and would have student assistants for up to 8 hours a week. It thereby also gave faculty more time for research.

In 1958 Stagner acquired part of what had been a Bendix Corporation building on Hancock east of Cass for use as a psychology animal research facility; the other part of the building was used for biological research. I had done earlier animal research in the attic of 436 Cass Avenue.

After the arrival of David Asdourian, the fourth floor of the Old Main Building was acquired to provide more adequate research facilities. More recently such research space has been obtained in the Life Sciences Building.

It may be appropriate at this time to report that Ernest B. Skaggs was essentially a brass- instrument experimental psychologist. He did not have much tolerance for other kinds of psychology, which he considered soft science. Clinical psychology was particularly anathema to him. Thus, a department of clinical psychology (to the master's level) was developed in the College of Education, the program being led by Gertha Williams1, with whom Skaggs did not get along very well. Likewise much that should have been in the industrial-organizational-personnel area developed in the Department of Management in the College of Business Administration. And social psychology was offered by the sociology department. What made this a problem for the psychology department in reasserting a right to these courses was the fact that a university rule outlawed the duplication of existing courses and the departments in possession of various courses were reluctant to give them up.

1: Gertha Williams was successful in securing a summer session teaching assignment at Wayne University in 1936 for Kurt Lewin immediately after he immigrated to the United States.

At the graduate level, there was a further problem. Although administration of the psychology doctoral program was assigned to the Department of Psychology, all psychologists on the graduate faculty, regardless of what department, were members of the psychology doctoral program. Thus, psychologists in the College of Education, the College of Business Administration, the Sociology Department, the School of Social Work, the Department of Psychiatry and other psychologists at the university who qualified as graduate faculty were part of the doctoral program. This made for a burdensome conglomerate and a serious complication in implementing the doctoral program - making decisions about course requirements, developing and grading qualifying examinations, appointing examining committees, and in many other ways. Fortunately, psychologists outside the psychology department eventually found the extra meetings and obligations burdensome and lost interest in the program, which then became exclusively that of the Department of Psychology.

Personal comments on the core four

Ernest B. Skaggs, W. C. F. Krueger, Wilson McTeer and S. Edson Haven

These four were essentially the Department of Psychology from 1936 to 1947 and three of the four were part of the department between 1929 and 1965.

I first became acquainted with Ernest B. Skaggs when he was 44 years old. He was a tall, gaunt, dour Scot with sandy hair at that time. His general contour apparently was similar to that of Abraham Lincoln. Skaggs strongly identified with and took great pride in psychology as a science and stressed the desirability of precise repeated measurement and the need for statistical treatment of data. In the classes I elected with him there was a Blue Book examination every week and unannounced quizzes covering the most recent lecture and class assignment were interjected occasionally. In his lectures, Skaggs spent much time in explaining and clarifying the most complex material.

It is alleged that at the end of the first meeting of a class Skaggs was teaching a student approached him and said: "Dr. Skaggs, I'm an epileptic and I thought you should know that I am likely to have a seizure in your class." Skaggs said: "You won't have a seizure in my class." The student answered: "But I've had seizures in every class." Skaggs again said: "You won't have a seizure in my class." The student persisted with: "But this is beyond my control. I've had seizures in every class I've ever taken." Skaggs retorted sternly: "Young man, you won't have a seizure in my class." The student never had a seizure in the class Skaggs taught. Skaggs was a believer in authoritarian direction.

W. C. F. Krueger was a rather stout person and not particularly tall. He spoke with a German accent but had not been raised in Germany. He grew up in Iowa. However, his parents were immigrants from Germany and while he was growing up German was spoken in the home. Krueger was a good-humored gentleman and, although his courses were as content-oriented and demanding as any, his manner of presentation, his use of language, his comments about the class material were such that his class spent as much as a third of the period laughing.

Krueger taught a wide variety of courses. One of them was the Psychology of Music. Krueger was talented as a violinist. He taught the course in Psychology of Religion; again, he had some special qualifications in that he was an ordained minister as well as possessor of a bachelor's degree in philosophy. He developed and taught a course on the effects of drugs on consciousness and behavior (Krueger's master's degree was in chemistry), which may have been among the first psychology courses in the country relating drugs and psychological processes. Although marijuana and mescaline were discussed, the primary concerns were with the effects of caffeine and nicotine. It is alleged that a student in commenting on one of Krueger's lectures one day said: "Today Dr. Krueger talked about the harmful effects of nicotine so long and made me so anxious, I could hardly wait for the class to end so I could get into the hall and light up a cigarette."

S. Edson Haven was always neat and exceptionally well-groomed. His lectures were very well organized. He contributed further coherence to each lecture by writing on the blackboard in complete sentences all of the relevant points. His handwriting was small but highly legible. His examinations were always multiple-choice and always returned at the next class meeting. Not only were the questions and answers discussed in class, but each student received a slip indicating his or her ranking on the examination.

Haven was quite competent in dealing with certain student problems. Occasionally a student would tell Dr. Haven he needed to consult with him, but that Haven's office hours were in conflict with the student's other classes or with the student's work schedule. Haven offered various alternative times and other options but in each case the student found conflict. Finally, Haven would tell the student he would meet with him at his office at 6:00 a.m. "There's no class conflict or work conflict for either of us." The seriously motivated student would meet him. The pretender was stymied.

I never had a course with Wilson McTeer. He was the one person in the Core Four who was interested in and elected to serve on university and college committees. He was helpful in suggestions he made to me early in my teaching career. The one outstanding characteristic I remember about Wilson McTeer, however, is that I could never get a "yes" or "no" answer from him. He would provide an answer to any problem or question I raised with him, but it was always a circuitous answer. I don't remember ever getting a "yes" or "no" answer or even a brief answer to any question or issue with which we were mutually concerned.

Of this early group, Haven and McTeer did little research, although McTeer published a brief book on motivation (The Scope of Motivation, 1972) at about the time that he retired. Haven and Herbert Toops published a book titled "Psychology and the Motorist" in the mid-1930s which, though widely ignored, included a number of research innovations and some reasonably accurate predictions about the future of activities relating to automobiles and motorists. The major research contribution of Skaggs was in his doctoral dissertation which inquired into some characteristics of retroactive interference and a single subsequent study in the same area; for the most part, his postdoctoral research seems to me to be quite pedestrian. However, Krueger in my judgment was ingenious in designing and implementing research studies. He did studies on overlearning, on the shape of the learning curves, and on the calibration of nonsense syllables with respect to their association values. (Hilgard incorporated Krueger's list in the Hilgard article on learning in the S. S. Stevens handbook.) Krueger's work in the learning area was frequently cited. Later, he did a clever study on honesty - a la Hartshorne and May, but with college students.

Sheldon Alexander, chairman, 1973-1983

Dr. Sheldon Alexander succeeded Ross Stagner as department chairman in 1973 and served in that capacity for 10 years. Alexander earned his doctorate in the social psychology area at the University of Rochester with Vincent Nowlis and was granted a postdoctoral fellowship to the University of Illinois where he studied with Charles E. Osgood and Ivan Steiner. He spent the next seven years on the faculty of Southern Illinois University. Immediately prior to coming to Wayne, Alexander was an administrative officer at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Alexander continued development of the department in the manner already effectively begun by Ross Stagner. He secured highly qualified new faculty and, although many of them were lured by opportunities perceived to be elsewhere, he was successful in locating highly competent replacements. Among those who joined the psychology faculty during Alexander's tenure as chairman were:

In developmental psychology: John M. Broughton, Thomas Z. Cassel, Joseph M. Fitzgerald, Joseph Jacobson, Gisela Labouvie-Vief, Hilary Ratner, Carolyn Shantz, and Glenn Weisfeld.

In industrial-organizational psychology: Ramon Henson, Andres Inn, and Jeffrey T. Walsh.

In clinical psychology: Glenn Davison, LaMaurice Gardner, Mark S. Goldman, Alan G. Glaros, Annette Rickel, Rochelle Robbins, Melvin Schwartz, Milton Strauss, and R. Douglas Whitman.

In social psychology: Steven A. Lewis, Harriet McCombs, and Alida Quick. In Biopsychology: Robert F. Berman and Alice Young.

In cognitive psychology: Daniel K. Rourke, Linda Sala, and Michael Tanenhaus.

During Dr. Alexander's first term at Wayne, the fall quarter of 1973, there was something of a disturbance in the large introductory psychology class - a class with about 200 students in a nearby class auditorium which I taught. The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) throughout the term regularly interrupted class and began a commotion. Their stated basis was that the newly revised Hilgard, Atkinson, and Atkinson introductory textbook, which I had adopted as the class text, contained a discussion of the recent contributions of Arthur Jensen which, therefore, made the textbook racist and the course instructor a racist, from the standpoint of the SDS. (One possible interpretation of this distorted view point is that the SDS had vigorously opposed America's participation in the Vietnam war. U.S. participation in the war had now ended and the SDS needed a new issue.)

The next term, the winter quarter, Ross Stagner handled the large lecture section and there was very little SDS disruption.

However, during the Spring quarter, Eli Saltz was in charge of the large introductory lecture. He was subject perhaps to more abuse than I. The SDS somehow obtained front and profile photographs of Eli and taped up posters around campus with those pictures and a headline, "WANTED FOR RACISM."

A major contribution made by Alexander was his securing a separate building for the psychology department. He negotiated and obtained a small two-story building on West Warren between Cass and Woodward Avenue (71 West Warren) which had served a child welfare function, the Children's Aid Society of Detroit. The building was designed by architect Albert Kahn who had also designed the General Motors Building. The structure was modified to accommodate psychology faculty offices, a few seminar rooms, and the Louttit Reading Room. Alexander deserves special credit for implementing the move because a substantial minority of the members of the department, including mainly senior faculty, signed a petition not to move in the hope of securing something better at a later time. The move was fortunate for within just a few years it was apparent that the costs to renovate Mackenzie Hall were exorbitant and the building was demolished to make a parking lot. Under those conditions psychology faculty would have been put into any facilities available.

Dr. M. Marlyne Kilbey, chairperson, 1983-1992

In 1983 when Sheldon Alexander declined to solicit a renewal of his position as chairperson, a search was initiated and after members of the department had interviewed several candidates, the position was offered to Dr. M. Marlyne Kilbey, who accepted. Dr. Kilbey at the time was chairperson at Middle Tennessee State University at Murphreesboro, Tennessee; her areas of expertise were in the biopsychology area, more specifically in psychopharmacology. Dr. Kilbey's doctorate was earned at the University of Houston. She later was a member of the faculty in medical psychology at the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Kilbey served as department chairperson at Wayne from 1983 to 1992. For one calendar year, 1989, Dr. Kilbey took a leave of absence to serve as advisor to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

During her nine-year period as chairperson, the following psychologists joined the department faculty: Ernest L. Abel, Alan M. Delamater, Karen Ebeling, Jeremy Hall, Rolando R. Henry, Leslie Isler, Melissa G. Kaplan, Felicia Seaton, Patricia Siple, Lois Tetrick, Rebecca A. Treiman, Jalie A. Tucker, Kathryn Urberg and Rudy E. Vuchinich.

It should be pointed out that Leslie Isler, Melissa G. Kaplan and Kathryn Urberg had previously held appointments in the Department of Family and Consumer Resources and became part of the psychology faculty when that department was dissolved. Likewise, during the period of Dr. Kilbey's tenure, Karen Ebeling and Jeremy Hall were appointed in the rank of visiting professor.

Dr. Alan R. Bass, associate chairman, acting chairman, and interim chairman

At various times, Dr. Alan R. Bass served as associate chairman, acting chairman, and interim chairman of the department of psychology. He served as associate chairman to Dr. Sheldon Alexander. He continued to serve as associate chair to Dr. M. Marlyne Kilbey. He served as acting chair while Dr. Kilbey was an advisor to NIDA during the calendar year 1989. Dr. Bass seems not to have been interested in the position of "permanent" chairperson but in a sense the positions were imposed on him by members of the department who had confidence in him and his judgment.

During Dr. Bass's period as interim chairman (1992-1995), the following people were brought to the department in the rank of assistant professor: Dr. Douglas Barnett, Dr. Rita Casey, and Dr. Lisa Rapport. Dr. Paul Toro joined as an associate professor.

While acting chairman, during 1989, Dr. Sebastiano Fisicaro and Dr. John Mullennix joined the department.

Most recently, Dr. Bass served as associate chairperson for Dr. Coscina to facilitate Coscina's transition to chairmanship responsibilities.

Dr. Donald V. Coscina

Dr. Donald V. Coscina was selected by the department of psychology as its newest chairperson early in 1995 and assumed responsibilities of the chair in June 1995. His doctorate is from the University of Chicago and for many years he was on the faculty of the University of Toronto.

His areas of expertise are in biopsychology, particularly in animal psychopharmacology, brain lesion research, and motivation and emotion. At present in addition to his administrative obligations, he is endeavoring to develop a proper laboratory for his own research.

It seems to me the primary problems for the department are to rebuild the Industrial- Organizational Psychology Program; a nationally prominent senior person is needed in addition to at least one another. In addition, strengthening of the biopsychology program is necessary due in part to the loss of so many in that area recently, particularly Dr. Alice Young who is now an associate dean, Dr. Robert Berman who left for opportunities at another university, and Dr. David Asdourian who recently retired.

A few anecdotes

Space problems at Wayne University

Detroit Junior College which later (in the 1920s) became City College of Detroit and still later the College of Liberal Arts of Wayne University was largely confined to the building surrounded by Warren, Cass, Hancock and Second Avenues, now often called the Main or the Old Man Building. Almost all faculty offices, as well as classrooms, laboratories and the library, were located there. The structure, built about a century ago, had earlier been the Central High School of the City of Detroit.

As enrollments increased, the university began to acquire some of the large and stately homes north of the Main Building. Those homes were on streets like Putnam, Merrick, Kirby and Palmer which ran through what is now a central part of the campus.

One of the homes might contain office space for the sociology faculty, the history faculty or the Romance Languages faculty. The psychology building was at 436 Putnam, located approximately at the present south entrance to State Hall.

There was also demand for more classroom space. Most of the homes incorporated a large living room or dining room which could be adapted as a classroom to seat a maximum of about 18 to 20 students.

As World War II came to a close in 1945, the military services released millions of service people and the government offered them special opportunities to attend college. Thus, Wayne University, like so many other universities at that time, began to expand. Physical facilities were largely gained by acquiring more of the homes in the vicinity and by erecting "temporary buildings." (Many of those temporary buildings were used for as long as 10 or 15 years.) Space was at a premium. To illustrate the problem, the following anecdote has been many times repeated:

A student attending class in the front room of one of the homes asked to be excused to use the restroom. He ran up the stairs to the second floor and the sign on the door read: "WOMEN. MEN'S ROOM IS IN THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR." So the student ran down the stairs and up the stairs in the next building where he found the room marked "MEN." In desperation he opened the door - and there he found a professor holding class.

The introductory psychology course

In the mid-1960s a special meeting of the psychology faculty was held to discuss organization of the introductory psychology course. One of the questions for discussion was how to begin such a course. There were many suggestions including the following:

"Psychology had its origins in philosophy and therefore it is desirable to begin with a philosophical perspective."

"Psychology is essentially a biological science and therefore it should begin with the biological foundations of behavior."

"No! What it is that distinguishes psychology from biology is its social orientation and therefore the place to begin is with social phenomena."

"A historical background is the proper introductory basis for the introductory course."

"Begin the psychology course with a discussion of personality or intelligence, something that will have widespread interest for the student, something that will excite them."

"Begin the course by showing the practical applications of psychology - in advertising, in personnel selection and placement, in criminology, in counseling and psychotherapy. Demonstrate the practical value of psychology."

"Psychology is a science and the serious student should know that at the beginning. Begin with a section on scientific method, statistics and measurement; that will be of value long after other course content has been forgotten."

Learning, perception, motivation and other suggestions were made, attacked and vigorously defended. Everyone in the department had spoken at least twice during the long, enthusiastic discussion except W. C. F. Krueger, a rotund, scholarly and serious man who had served longest on the faculty (since 1928). Ross Stagner, who was chairman at the time, noticed this and said: "Bill, you haven't said a word. You've taught introductory psychology longer than any of us. Do you have any opinion on this matter?"

Krueger had a slight German accent. With only brief hesitation, he said: "Well, you know, no matter how you slice it, it's still the same baloney."

Pre-meeting caucus

Marion McPherson's office was directly across the hall from mine in the psychology building at 456 Putnam. On the day of a department faculty meeting, we met in Marion's office at lunchtime and began to discuss the agenda which had been duplicated. I don't remember who said what about the forthcoming meeting or the exact words, but the gist of it was that we predicted how the meeting would proceed:

"Skaggs will call the meeting to order and without preliminary comments will say 'The first item on the agenda is important and deserves priority.'"

"Then Krueger will make several remarks about the proposed project, not all of which are relevant."

"And then McTeer will give a history of the issue in the university, in the college and in the department."

"Then Haven will suggest three reasons why it can't be done."

We went through the agenda item by item and predicted the reaction on each. (On any important issue, those four seniors were the only ones qualified by department rule to vote. Roy Robinson, V. M. Tye, Marion McPherson and I were in attendance but had no participation and no vote on any issue of significance. We each held only the master's degree and were not tenured.)

Anyhow, the meeting was called to order and in the beginning, it unfolded almost exactly as predicted. Skaggs introduced the topic in just about the words we had earlier formulated. Krueger made a few courteous but not relevant comments. McTeer began to review the history of the issue. I could hardly contain myself. Marion and I tried hard not to look at each other. I was staring out the window at a squirrel in the tree nearby in hopes of distracting myself. Then Haven began to indicate the problems with implementing the proposed project. Marion covered her mouth while she burst out laughing and quickly left the room.

Haven asked: "Is Mrs. McPherson ill?" (She did not return to the meeting.) I said: "Yes. I think something she ate for lunch disagreed with her."

As the meeting proceeded a great many of our predictions were verified. It was with great difficulty that I controlled myself. Frankly, I was surprised (if not astonished) by the accuracy of our forecasting.

C. G. Browne and the Journal Club

Professor Skaggs began a Journal Club long before I arrived at Wayne. It was a monthly meeting of the department faculty in which one member of the department led discussion of a research study in progress, one recently completed, or one which was in the planning stage. As new faculty arrived, they were expected to present a review of their dissertation research at a Journal Club meeting.

C. G. Browne arrived in September 1949. He had completed his doctoral work at Ohio State University where his research was directed by Carroll Shartle. Browne had studied the organization of a tire and rubber company in Akron. On the basis of that study he proposed a new kind of organization, symbolized in the form of a concentric organizational chart. In contrast to the traditional organizational chart in which the chief executive was represented at the top and authority flowed downward to successive echelons, in Browne's concentric organizational chart the chief executive was represented in the center with successive positions being represented in surrounding circles. Authority and responsibility flowed outward from the center. Browne indicated as advantages of the concentric organizational chart that it provides better representation of the dynamics of personal relationships as they exist in an organizational structure, it eliminates the "above and below" concept, it presents an organization without loose ends, it eliminates the upside-down organizational structure, and it simplifies designing and understanding.

Browne in his dissertation and his discussion preserved anonymity by disguising the actual company name. He called it the Congo Rubber Company. But several members of the department were curious and interested in the actual company name, especially Professors Kornhauser and Haven. Browne was resistant to revealing the name but after we pledged to keep the name to ourselves, as a professional confidence, Browne gave us the name. The company was well-known nationally with a favorable reputation for producing a quality product.

It develops that within six months after the company adopted the Concentric Organizational Chart, it went bankrupt.

Length of the dissertation

Once when I had finished counseling a student in my office, he noticed my dissertation and said: "That's pretty long, isn't it?"

I replied: "No. It's about a hundred pages long. That may be about average or perhaps a little below average for dissertations in psychology. On the other hand, I've seen dissertations in philosophy which ran to more than a thousand pages and required two volumes."

The student was much impressed. "A thousand pages!" he repeated.

"But then Professor Krueger in our department who received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago wrote a dissertation at the other extreme with regard to length. The dissertation was only eight pages long."

Commented the student: "Gee, he must have found something."

Getting sufficient subjects

At a psychology department meeting during the 1960s early in the academic year, it was ascertained that for faculty research, graduate student research and cooperative research with other institutions, more than 3,500 human subjects would be required. However, there were only 800 students registered in the introductory psychology course. Various suggestions were made as to how to recruit additional subjects. Finally, one faculty member suggested: "We can solve the problem in the following way. Let's require that each student in the introductory course be required to supply himself or herself and four friends. That means for each student there are five subjects. Five times 800 will provide 4,000 subjects, all the subjects we need."

Charles M. Solley immediately responded: "It won't work because the students have overlapping friends."

A second to the motion

At a department meeting in the early 1960s, an issue was on the floor and it seemed that everyone in the department had an opinion about it and used every opportunity to present his or her point of view. Most were either strongly in favor or strongly opposed and at times heated words were exchanged. Twice someone proposed to bring the motion to the floor but it received no second. The third time it was proposed, Krueger seconded the motion and it was brought to a vote. When Stagner counted the votes the motion lost by one vote, 18 to 17.

Krueger voted against the motion he had seconded.

Stagner then said to Krueger: "You participated in the discussion and you seconded the motion, didn't you?"

Krueger said: "Yes, I did."

Stagner wanted to know: "Then why did you vote against it?"

Krueger said: "I was always against it. The matter was discussed and overdiscussed. It was time to go on to other things."

Fritz Redl – Two anecdotes

Fritz Redl was a psychologist but not in the Wayne department of psychology. He was a popular lecturer in the School of Social Work. Fritz Redl completed his Ph.D. at the University of Vienna, had some association with Sigmund Freud and was strongly psychoanalytic in orientation. Redl worked with delinquent children, largely through public agencies and was reputed to have had remarkable success both in understanding them and in treating them. He was co-author of a book titled Children Who Hate in which he disclosed his major findings and which found substantial acceptance among psychologists.

Anecdote 1

Dr. Redl was a popular lecturer and held classes in the largest lecture rooms available in the university at the time. If students had questions he would graciously interrupt his lecture and redirect his attention to answer the question. One day there were an unusually large number of questions and Redl was pressed to continue his lecture to make his intended points. In any case he cut-off the final questioner with: "You'll find the answer to that in my book, Children I Hate."

Anecdote 2

Fritz Redl was scheduled to be the after-dinner speaker at a dinner of a psychoanalytic society to end a five-day convention. He was supposed to have written out his speech and send it to the master of ceremonies so that the master of ceremonies could make some relevant comments about it. However, he never did that. When he arrived at the meeting, the society president (who was also the master of ceremonies) asked him for the speech. Fritz said: "I haven't prepared it yet, but I'll do so tonight and I'll give it to you tomorrow." When Fritz met the master of ceremonies the next day he admitted that he had not yet prepared it, but would do so soon. At last the day of the dinner arrived, and Fritz said to the master of ceremonies: "I'm sorry, but I haven't had time to prepare the speech in writing. I'll just have to speak off the cuff." The president was, of course, perturbed but there was nothing to be done about it. After the dinner when the president introduced Dr. Redl, he made several laudatory remarks about Redl's accomplishments and awards which he had received "and in conclusion with regard to juvenile delinquency I can think of no who knows less about that subject than our speaker of the evening." (At a meeting of psychoanalysts, what more can one say?)

1997

Back to listing