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Newsletter Winter 2021

Warm Winter Greetings from Psychology

Alumni Spotlight

Erika James, LSA Psychology: PhD (1995)

Dean of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business

In 2020, Erika James became the first female and first person of color to serve as Dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Read more about Erika's career and how her time as a graduate student in our Department helped shape her research passions and initiate some of her most important personal and professional relationships.

Alumni: Share your Career Experience

We would love to hear from alumni who have pursued psychology careers or careers in other fields! If you would like to share your post-graduate career experience, please contact us.

Donor Impact

Ira Bernstein, LSA Psychology: BA (1959)
The Louis Bernstein Undergraduate Psychology Research Fund

The U-M curriculum gave Ira Bernstein (BA: Psychology Honors, 1959) an ideal space to explore his interests and provided him with the scientific skills he needed to succeed in graduate school and a 50+-year career as a researcher. The fact that he met his wife of nearly 60 years at U-M was also an added bonus! Now he is giving back to help future students have similarly enriching experiences. Read more.


Arnold Sameroff, Professor Emeritus of Psychology
LSA Psychology: BA (1961)
The Sameroff Lecture Series in Developmental Psychology

Through a series of generous gifts, Dr. Arnold Sameroff and Dr. Susan McDonough have established and supported the Sameroff Lecture Series in Developmental Psychology since 2015. In 2020, they donated again to ensure that the series will continue into the future. Read more about Sameroff’s pioneering research and the importance of the lecture series for the developmental psychology community.

New Teaching Awards in Memory of Emeritus Faculty

Bill McKeachie

To honor the memory of Emeritus Professors Wilbert J. (Bill) McKeachie and J. Frank Yates and to celebrate inspirational and transformational teaching in the discipline of psychology, the Department will debut two new teaching awards this spring.  

The Wilbert J. McKeachie Award for Excellence in Lecture-Based Teaching will recognize outstanding teaching in the traditional lecture format, and the J. Frank Yates Award for Excellence in Seminar-Based Teaching will recognize extraordinary teaching in smaller, more interactive courses.

J. Frank Yates

Read more about the legacy of Bill McKeachie (here) and J. Frank Yates (here).    

Faculty Research Spotlight

Stephanie Preston, Professor of Psychology (Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience)

Valuing Evidence-Based Reasoning Through Teaching and Training

In our politically polarized, social-media-saturated world, evidence-based reasoning skills are more crucial than ever. For decades, Stephanie Preston has helped students develop those skills. Now, with support from the Martin and Ruth Jaffe Research Fund, she and her collaborators plan to expand outside of the classroom to teach those skills to the public. Read more.

Lecturer Highlight

Jennifer Cummings with students in 2019

Jennifer CummingsLecturer IV

“Teaching here means working with some of the greatest minds in the field at all levels: undergrads, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. This brings opportunities to connect with people from many backgrounds and with differing perspectives that have enriched my life in innumerable ways.” Read more.

New Book Published

Ethan Kross, Professor of Psychology 

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It

Penguin Random House, 2021

In Chatter, Ethan Kross explores the myriad ways our silent conversations with ourselves can help us or harm us. Listening to negative or disorienting self-talk—which Kross refers to as “chatter”—can have deleterious effects on our professional, social, and personal lives. Constructive self-talk, however, can actually improve our satisfaction and performance. Kross draws on the latest research to teach readers how to harness their inner voices and ultimately lead happier, more productive lives. Read more.

Faculty Retirement

Nick Ellis, Professor of Psychology; Professor of Linguistics; Research Scientist in the English Language Institute

Retires 5/31/2021

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

The Department of Psychology's Diversity Committee's This is DEI initiative showcases the range of work (research, teaching and mentorship) being conducted by Psychology faculty and students on diversity, equity and inclusion. Click on the slide to read the full interview!

Undergraduate Student Research Spotlights

Yun Gi Hwang, Major, Psychology Honors with Spanish Minor

Yun Gi Hwang’s thesis focuses on how parents influence children’s bilingualism and culture and how those variables affect children’s literacy and academic outcomes. Read more.

Aleija Rodriguez, Senior, BCN Honors

Aleija Rodriguez’s thesis focuses on understanding the roles of multiple proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Read more.

In Memoriam

Toby Jo (Epstein) Jayaratne (1947-2020)
(Psychology PhD: 1989), Assistant Research Scientist in the School of Public Health and Department of Women's & Gender Studies

Irwin Pollack (1925-2021)
Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Research Scientist Emeritus in the Mental Health Research Institute

J. Frank Yates (1945-2020)
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Psychology; Professor Emeritus of Business Administration

Exploring the Mind Talks

A monthly series of community talks by U-M Psychology Faculty. All talks will be recorded remotely and available to stream online. Shinobu Kitayama's talk is available to stream now. More information and streams of past presentations can be found here.

Giving Blueday: Save the Date - March 10, 2021

Thank you to our donors for supporting the Department of Psychology. Every gift matters. While the pandemic has brought tremendous hardship locally and worldwide, we continue to be optimistic and determined to re-unite fully and re-engage in person in the year ahead. As we plan for restoring full operations, we are asking for your support. Your gifts can help support rich hands-on, skill building opportunities for our students. For additional information on Giving Blueday, please visit the Giving Blueday page.