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Dr. Jim McGaugh wins 2015 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology

December 3rd, 2014 by Ron Rogers
Photo: James McGaugh

Dr. Jim McGaugh

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.

Photo –



Psychology Holiday Get-Together

December 3rd, 2014 by Ron Rogers
Holiday Party Flyer

Holiday Party Flyer

Dr. Tom Tutko

November 18th, 2014 by Ron Rogers


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 

Psych 190/195 Capstone Topics for Spring

November 12th, 2014 by Ron Rogers


Winter Registration and Schedule

November 3rd, 2014 by Ron Rogers

Winter Schedule

Full schedule: 

Winter Session classes run daily from January 5 to January 16, 2015. Tuition and fee information can be found at

Subject Catalog Section Class Nbr Mode Max Units Mtg Start Mtg End Instructor
PSYC 1 01 10010 LEC 3.00 9:00:00 12:10:00 Van Selst,Mark
PSYC 102 01 10011 LEC 3.00 9:00:00 12:10:00 Jones-Hagata,Laura Beth
PSYC 110 01 10012 LEC 3.00 9:00:00 12:10:00 Wagner,Naomi
PSYC 117 01 10013 LEC 3.00 13:00:00 16:10:00 Trafalis,Sandra
PSYC 135 01 10014 LEC 3.00 13:00:00 16:10:00 Huntsman,Laree
PSYC 154 01 10016 Hybrid 3.00 13:00:00 16:10:00 Oyamot,Clifton M
PSYC 160 01 10017 LEC 3.00 9:00:00 12:10:00 Del Chiaro,Steven
STAT 95 01 10018 LEC 3.00 9:00:00 12:10:00 Rogers,Altovise

How to Register?

Full information:

Advanced Registration

  • Advanced registration begins Thursday, October 30, for SJSU matriculated students
  • Advanced registration begins Wednesday, November 12, for Open University (OU)/Non-SJSU students

Advanced registration stops Wednesday, December 17, for all students. If you wish to register for a class after this date, please follow instructions for Steps to Take After Advanced Registration Closes.

Registration is generally available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Normal maintenance occurs Monday evenings 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Online Registration

Consult the “Class Schedule” for information (section #, 5 digit class code, day, time, location, faculty name and dates) of your intended courses for that term.

First time or previous-term undergrad/post-bachelor OU students can register online within a certain time frame (refer to calendar for dates) by following the MySJSU tutorial.

First time students see Open University Registration – New Students

Previous-term students see Open University Registration – Continuing OU Students

Paper Registration

Students disqualified from Fall 2014 and other students who are unable to register online complete the Winter 2015 Registration form and fax to 408.924.2077, or submit in person to window “R” in the Student Services Center at 9th and San Fernando, Downtown, San Jose.



Annual Second Harvest Food Drive

October 10th, 2014 by Ron Rogers


Education for the Joy of It – Dr. Robert J. Pellegrini

October 2nd, 2014 by Ron Rogers


By Dr. Robert J. Pellegrini

This book is targeted to all current or prospective high school students, college students, or anyone 

Image: Book Coverelse who aspires to strengthen the educational foundation upon which to build the rest of her/his life — with the hope that it is especially helpful to people who might otherwise become, or have already been formal educational program dropouts or lockouts. I cannot guarantee that applying what is offered here will ensure an “A” grade, or achievement of one’s life goals.  But I do guarantee that I have tried to summarize critical elements of thought, feeling, and action oriented to such objectives.

Part I of this book is all about how to work both hard and “smart” to experience the joy of academic success.  Hard work is necessary to achieve anything worthy of pride in our own creative effort.  But it’s not just how much or how hard we work at things.  It is also “how smart” we work that determines our life outcomes.  And what I mean by “working smart” is working efficiently and effectively.  The goal here is to help all students reap as much as possible from their educational investment, whatever that investment may be in terms of time, money, energy, and self-disciplined personal sacrifices.

Part II is about what it takes to achieve great success at anything in life.  The format for this second part is, essentially, a psychological profile of outstanding achievers.

From both my professional and personal experience, I’ve learned how vitally important education can be as an avenue to a pro-socially valued and personally satisfying life.  And once again in 2014, I find myself championing an approach designed to facilitate human development through educational opportunity in a program I call “Life Construction 101” — designed not just to augment efforts to help at-risk students, but to help every student enjoy academic success experiences.

Education For The Joy Of It is the “user’s manual” for that Life Construction 101 program.  Accordingly, the Appendix to this book presents a brief, structured exercise designed to provide a very preliminary template for initiating the construction or reconstruction of one’s life.

And that’s it.  A little book that I hope will be one of the biggest books its readers ever read.

About the Author

A Past-President of The Western Psychological Association (WPA), San Jose State University Professor Emeritus of Psychology Bob Pellegrini received his B.A. degree from Clark University Phi Beta Kappa and with High Honors in Psychology.  Supported by National Institute for Mental Health fellowships, he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Denver, with clinical and research pre-doctoral internships at The University of Colorado School of Medicine, Children’s Asthmatic Research Institute and National Jewish Hospitals in Denver, and National Science Foundation-sponsored post-doctoral study at Stanford University.

At SJSU he taught and mentored thousands of students, many of whom in underserved minority population educational programs including a B. A. degree program he co-founded at the California Department of Corrections’ Soledad prison.  To help students maximize their learning gains per unit of time invested, he created several study guides produced by major academic publishers.  His commitment to giving SJSU students “the best introductory psychology course available anywhere at any price” has been acknowledged in teaching awards as SJSU and Western Psychological Association outstanding professor of the year, and invited contributions to prestigious educational events such as the Lewis M. Terman Master Lecture Series.

Bob’s award-winning work as a social scientist/educator has focused on illuminating and promoting actualization of human potential.  This book is the owner’s manual for his Life Construction101 project, designed to provide students, especially those most at risk for educational failure, with skills and perspectives to help them experience success in high school, college and throughout life.

At age 69 and 70, Dr. Pellegrini again qualified for the USA Bodybuilding Championships by placing 2nd and 1st, respectively, in his master’s division finals of the nationally-sanctioned 2010 San Francisco and 2011 San Jose contests.

Donations Making a Difference

September 18th, 2014 by Ron Rogers

Through generous gifts, endowments and grants, the Department of Psychology is proud to award 10 Scholarships (read below) to our students each year. These awards recognize our students’ academic excellence, research creativity, service, and educational resilience.

We are dedicated to growing these financial awards in both size and number.  Your support toward that goal is greatly appreciated by our faculty, staff, and, especially, our remarkable students. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more about our giving opportunities or if you would like to discuss establishing a new scholarship fund.


Dr. Ron Rogers 
Chair of Psychology

How can you contribute to our students’ success?

  • Navigate to the “Give to SJSU” page
  • Enter your donation amount
  • Skip the “areas of giving” section
  • Type one of the fund names below in “Other Purpose”
  • Complete the remainder of the form
  • Click the “Make a Gift” button!


Current Gift Opportunities

Research and Scholarship

  • James and Becky McGaugh Research Award. An annual award to a student whose research involves advancing society’s understanding of learning, memory, and/or biopsychology.
  • Robert and Marlee Hicks Scholarship. An annual award to a student whose research involves advancing society’s understanding of motivation.
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research in Psychology. Annual scholarship award to one or more Psychology Students in recognition of his/her exceptional research.
  • Outstanding Graduate Research in Psychology. Annual scholarship award to one or more graduate Psychology Students in recognition of his/her exceptional graduate student thesis/research. 

 Academic Excellence and Career Advancement

  • Frank D. Payne Memorial Scholarship. Two $500 annual scholarships to academically exceptional students with plans to pursue careers in psychological research.
  • Ronald G. Rabedeau Memorial Scholarship. This annual $1,000 award is to encourage and support students studying in the areas of NeurosciencePsychobiologyExperimental PsychologyStatisticsLearningMotivation, or combinations thereof.
  • Charles W. Telford Memorial Scholarship. In memory of the first Chairman of our Department. An annual $250 scholarship to academically exceptional students in Psychology.

 Educational Resilience

  • John and Vivian MaCrae Scholarship for Exceptional Educational Resilience. An annual scholarship recognizing educational success in spite of great personal challenges.
  • Exceptional Educational Resilience in Psychology.  Annual scholarship award for one or more Psychology Students who have demonstrated exceptional educational resilience.  

Service to Department, University, and/or Community

  • Exceptional Service in Psychology. An annual scholarship award to one or more Psychology Students who have demonstrated exceptional service to the University or the community.  

Other Opportunities

  • Psychology Discretionary Fund. This general giving fund provides us the financial resources required to respond to needs in a time of diminishing State support.

Career Center Fall Events and Resources

August 26th, 2014 by Ron Rogers

By Denise Hamilton (,
Liberal Arts Employment Specialist, Career Center

The following is a snap-shot of events and services that the Career Center has to offer this upcoming fall semester.


Don’t miss, the Nonprofit & Public Service Job, Internship, and Volunteer Forum October 8th from 12:30pm-4:30pm in the Student Union Ball Room!  We are hosting this educational and recruitment event for the first time with NOVA.  The forum will kick-off with a panel from 12:30pm-1:30pm.  The panel will consist of representatives from nonprofit, city, state, and federal government.  Then at 2pm students, alumni, and community members can meet with 40+ organizations and agencies from around the bay area.  This event is appropriate for any class level!  Several faculty have added this event to their syllabus as an assignment or just for extra credit.  Please feel free to do the same if it fits within the goals of your course.

  • Business, Government, & Nonprofit Job & Internship Fair:  Another event not to be missed, especially for those students seeking a job or internship.  This event will take place in the Student Union Ball Room on September 18th from 12pm-4pm.  We are expecting 85 employers representing these various sectors.  Another great event to add to your syllabus!
  •  Social Media Panel:  Social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram have taken over the way we communicate with each other and the world.  Because of this, companies and organizations are hiring for positions to manage their online or social media presence.  This panel will explore this emerging career field!  Join us on, Wednesday November 4th in Student Union Ballroom C from 2pm-4pm to learn more.


  •  Faculty Toolkit:  Everything you need to integrate SJSU Career services into your classroom is right here!
  •  Graduate/Professional School Resources:  We just revamped our grad school page with helpful videos and resources.
  •  Big Interview:  This is the go to tool to help students prep for interviews.
  •  GoinGlobal:  This new tool, accessed through SpartaJobs, is key to any abroad job or internship search.
  •  SpartaTrack:  Just like an academic plan, students need a career development plan to follow and guide them.  This link will take you to just that!  Note that students will fall in different sections regardless of class year.


  • One-on-one:  I LOVE meeting with students!  Students can make an appointment with me via SpartaJobs.  My appointments this fall will take place on Mondays from 1:30pm-3:30pm at the Career Center.  I can be flexible and schedule outside this time frame if necessary.  The center also offers drop-in advising hours for quick resume review and/or questions.

  • Career Advice Drop-In:  NEW this semester, I will be hosting a drop-in career advice session at the ACCESS Center in Clark 240 on Wednesday’s from 1:30pm-3:30pm, starting September 3rd.  Students can come by with any career related question or concern to discuss!