Hello SJSU Psychology Alumni!
We hope you enjoy the alumni newsletter for the Spring semester. As always, please keep in touch and let us know if you’d like to contribute a column to the newsletter.
-Erin Woodhead, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology and Editor
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Announcement from Provost Andy Feinstein (March 20, 2015)
I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Walter R. Jacobs as Dean of SJSU’s College of Social Sciences, effective July 6, 2015.
Dr. Jacobs comes to us from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, where he served as founding dean of the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies and held a faculty appointment in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. Prior to that, he served for 14 years on the faculty of the University of Minnesota, including a five-year stint (2007 – 2012) as chair of the department of African American and African Studies.
Dr. Jacobs pursued an eclectic academic path, receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology from Indiana University.
Beyond his academic and administrative credentials, Dr. Jacobs brings to SJSU a passion for teaching, having received multiple awards for excellence in undergraduate teaching. He is an active and accomplished scholar, having written or edited numerous texts and authored a personal memoir about “sociological ghosts.” (He has also actively blogged on the life of a new academic dean, as you will note in his digital profile.)
During the search process, Dr. Jacobs demonstrated uncommon sensitivity to the importance of collaborative decision-making and an exceptional focus on serving students. As he wrote in his introductory letter to the search committee, “I encourage faculty and staff to put students first; our discussions and unit strategies are based on what is best for student welfare and learning outcomes.”
I am confident that the students, faculty and staff members, alumni and supporters of our College of Social Sciences will find Dr. Jacobs to be a very able, energetic and inclusive leader. Please join me in welcoming him to San Jose State and thanking Interim Dean Jan English-Lueck for so ably serving the college during this leadership transition.
by Allison Arbuthnot Sanders, staff writer
The President’s Scholar Award recognizes a faculty member who has achieved widespread recognition based on the quality of scholarship, performance or creative activities. This year’s winner comes from the College of Social Sciences. He will be honored at the 16th Annual Faculty Service Recognition and Awards Luncheon on March 11, 2015. Tickets are available for purchase.
To examine Kevin Jordan, professor of psychology and this year’s President’s Scholar, by the numbers is impressive. In 30 years of service to the university, Jordan has supervised 80 master’s theses, secured nearly $200 million in research funding, and authored or co-authored (often with students) some 80 academic papers and presentations. This marks the seventh professional award he’s received from SJSU, NASA and the Western Psychological Association. He’s also a veteran surfer who has been braving waves for 50 years.
“I don’t fit the traditional mold of a scholar, but it’s wonderful to train scientists and get them in the right place to do great science.”As project director of numerous cooperative agreements between San Jose State and the Human Systems Integration Division at the NASA Ames Research Center, Jordan’s current human factors research supports the Congress-mandated Next Generation Air Transportation System project, which aims to improve safety and efficiency of air travel while minimizing environmental impact by 2025. It’s a tall order that Jordan and his team are tackling though research on the visual perception and ergonomic issues of air traffic control operations.
“Our team is making great inroads with the Next Gen Air Transportation System project,” says Jordan, citing outcomes like new virtual vision technology that allows planes to move through fog and software solutions for safely sequencing planes arriving on runways. Says nominator Sheila Bienenfeld, former dean of the College of Social Sciences: “Professor Jordan’s research has an impact on the lives and safety of all air travelers, as well as anyone involved with aviation.”
Not bad for a researcher self-taught in human factors. “The SJSU job description I applied to in 1984 said ‘human factors or visual perception,’ which was my specialty,” says Jordan with a laugh. “When I arrived, the dean kept introducing me as his new human factors person. I would correct him: ‘No, I’m your new perception person!’ Eventually they said it enough that I believed them. Necessity is a great teacher.”
Jordan says the hallmark of his career has been his work with graduate students as research assistants. “It’s the most gratifying thing in the world to know that I’ve contributed to the next generation of scientists who will contribute to the next generation of breakthroughs.” Though he spent over two decades on campus, Jordan hasn’t been in the classroom for five years. “I loved teaching,” he says. “I miss it immensely. But you come to a point in your career where you have to ask yourself: How can I best serve the university? And I do that through research at NASA Ames.”
This annual lecture is the result of a generous endowment to honor the remarkable work of Professor Alan E. Kazdin who is the Musser Professor of Psychology at Yale University, Director of the Yale Parenting Center, and an alumnus of our department, graduating with “Great Distinction” in 1967.
Each year we invite distinguished and influential psychologists from across the nation to inspire a new generation of psychologist to shape the future of our field and our society.
2014 – 2015 Lecture
How Psychologists Can Improve Public Policies Regarding People with Addiction and Mental Illness
Dr. Keith Humphreys
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
Student Union Ballroom C
3:00 – 4:30 pm
For his work in the multinational humanitarian effort to rebuild the psychiatric care system of Iraq and in the national redesign of the VA health system’s mental health services for Iraq war veterans, he won the 2009 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Public Interest. He and the authors of “Drug Policy and the Public Good” won the 2010 British Medical Association’s Award for Public Health Book of the Year.
Dr. Humphreys has been extensively involved in the formation of public policy, having served as a member of the White House Commission on Drug Free Communities, the VA National Mental Health Task Force, and the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During the Obama Administration, he spent a sabbatical year as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has also testified on numerous occasions in Parliament and advises multiple government agencies in the U.K.
Event Flyer (.pdf)
Dr. Kevin Jordan has been awarded the Wang Family Excellence Award in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Service. The award acknowledges Kevin’s unique and distinguished contributions as a CSU faculty member over his remarkable career.
The Wang Family Excellence Award recognizes four outstanding faculty members and one outstanding staff member who, through extraordinary commitment and dedication, have distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements. Their activities advance the university’s mission, bring benefit and credit to the CSU, and enhance the CSU’s excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.
The Wang Family Excellence Award was originally established in 1998 when then-CSU Trustee Stanley Wang provided $1 million to recognize the remarkable contributions of the CSU’s faculty and administrators over a 10-year period. Trustee Emeritus Wang has generously agreed to reinstate the award with a $300,000 gift that will provide a $20,000 award to each of four faculty members and one staff member annually for three years, beginning in 2015.
Congratulations to Kevin and thank you for all you’ve done for our students, department, and university.
LOUISVILLE, Ky., Dec. 2, 2014
A brain scientist who helped explain how our emotions affect what we learn and remember has won the 2015 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology.
James McGaugh, a neurobiology and behavior research professor at University of California-Irvine, received the prize for discovering that stress hormones play a key role in determining why we remember some things more vividly than others.
Hormones such as epinephrine and cortisol activate the brain’s emotional center, the amygdala, which in turn regulates other brain areas that process and consolidate memories – a sequence that explains why our emotional experiences are easier to recall, he found.
“His work has transformed the field,” said award director Woody Petry. “It has profound implications for helping us understand and treat memory disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.”
McGaugh began studying emotion and memory in the 1960s when he found that giving animals stimulants immediately after training helped them remember their exercises. Later, he learned that naturally occurring stress hormones had a similar memory-enhancing effect.
Recently, he has studied people with highly superior autobiographical memory to see if differences in their brain structure may account for the trait.
McGaugh joined UC-Irvine in 1964. Besides founding and directing its Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, he also served as executive vice chancellor, academic affairs vice chancellor, biological sciences dean and department chair. The university named McGaugh Hall on its campus after him in 2001.
He held posts in the psychology departments at University of Oregon and San Jose State University after earning his doctorate in physiological psychology at University of California-Berkeley and his bachelor’s degree at San Jose State.
His work has been featured on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” described in dozens of textbooks and cited in more than 15,000 academic papers.
This year’s award is $100,000 each.
Dr. Thomas Arthur Tutko
Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Sept. 8, 1931 – Nov. 6, 2014
Thomas Arthur Tutko passed away peacefully on Thursday morning. He touched many lives through his energetic enthusiasm for life.
Tom was born in Gallitzin,PA and graduated from Gallitzin High School. He joined the Marines for a couple of years and then went to Northwestern University where he earned a doctorate in psychology.
He arrived at San Jose State University in September 1961 where he taught a variety of psychology classes. His students loved his classes and they nominated him for “The Distinquished Teaching Award.”
Tom also had an exceptional talent for public speaking, was very humorous, dynamic, and had a passion for sports. Consequently, he did speeches all over the United States and other countries as well. He wrote five books and several papers, developed a psychological test, gave several thousand speeches, taught a hundred plus classes, and counseled athletes, teams, individuals and companies. He was on popular television shows such as the Johnny Carson Show and worked with teams such as the 49er’s and the Miami Dolphins. During his 38 year career he literally touched the lives of thousands of people through his speaking and writing. He lived life fully!
Professor Lynda Heiden, whose masters thesis Tom chaired, remarked that he was one of the funnest people she’d ever met. Along with Bruce Ogilvie, Tom was pivotal in developing the field of Sports Psychology, which is highlighted in this 1974 article in People Magazine.
Tom is survived by his loving wife, Kathy; devoted children Ann Phipps and Mark Tutko of San Jose, Jane Tutko Donovan of Danville, and Sharon Tutko of St. Louis, PA. He is survived by his grandchildren Natalie and Olivier Phipps of San Jose, Jasmine Donovan of Danville, Ari and Effie Tutko of Bellevue, WA, Sonia Tutko of San Jose, and Simon Avrushenko of St. Louis, PA and one great grandchild Ernest Dorcich of San Jose. He is survived by his step children Chad Payton of Aptos and Travis Payton of San Jose and step grandchildren Quemille Caldwell of Antioch, Skyler and Kayden Payton of San Jose and two great step grandchildren Wayne and Willow Hayes of Antioch. He is also survived by his sister Rosie Benzie of Gallitzin, PA. And last but not least, he is survived by his beloved caregiver of seven years, Jose Alvarez Zamora of Aptos. Tom’s humorous, energetic, enthusiastic spirit of joy for life will always be endearingly remembered and bring a sparkle to those of us who knew him.
Private memorial services were held.Adapted from original obituary published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Nov. 18, 2014