Tuesday, October 31, 2006

James Hilton Moves to UVA

In response to my recent Michigan-Princeton-Waterloo overlap analysis (immediately below the present posting), I received word that longtime UM professor (and Princeton Ph.D.) James Hilton had moved to another university in an information technology (IT) capacity. After a little bit of web searching, I see that he's now at the University of Virginia (news release).*

James joined the Michigan social psych faculty in the Fall 1985 semester (I'm virtually certain of the timing). I entered the graduate program in Fall 1984, and the faculty search/hiring process that yielded James was my first exposure to job talks, meetings with candidates, and other such events. James's research focused on person perception and self-fulfilling prophecies; during his first few years at UM, the graduate students with whom he primarily worked (based on a review of article references) included Steve Fein and Bill von Hippel.

As noted in the above-linked UVa news release, James also left a lasting impression with his teaching. The basic undergraduate social psychology lecture course had several hundred students, with students also attending discussion sections of around 25 for an hour a week. I was a Teaching Assistant for James one semester and, in addition to leading a couple of sections, I attended the lectures.

I would say that within the first 10 minutes of his first lecture of the semester, James had the students in the palm of his hand. His sense of humor -- sardonic, but not acerbic -- was very effective with the students.

For example, in setting the stage for his presentation on the classic social-psychological finding that people prefer to affiliate in anticipation of a stressful event rather than wait alone (see description of the Schachter study toward the bottom of this document), Hilton reminded the class of a common occurrence on exam days.

Almost invariably, it seems, students gather in the hallway before a test, to discuss material from their notes with other students. Why do students show up early? , James asked the class. Was it because they wanted to allow enough travel time in case they blew out a tennis shoe along the way? No, he insisted. It could well be because affiliation with others would help to alleviate the pre-test anxiety.

The UVa news release also mentions that James is returning to what sports fans would identify as "ACC Country," Virginia being close to Hilton's boyhood home of North Carolina. In another of his memorable classroom demonstrations, James once started lecturing in a heavy North Carolina accent, driving home the important person-perception point that the presence or absence of a Southern accent would likely lead people to judge him differently.

Best wishes to James as he begins this new phase of his career!

*Hilton returned to the University of Michigan in 2013 as Dean of Libraries.

[The information above about the size of the large lecture courses was edited slightly from an earlier version, for clarity.]

Monday, October 16, 2006

Social Psychologists Who Spent Time at Michigan and Princeton and/or Waterloo

It's been almost exactly a year since my last "overlap analysis," which was between Michigan and the University at Buffalo/State University of New York (see October 2005 archives). In an overlap analysis, of course, I list people who have official affiliations with both of the institutions in question, as students, post-doctoral fellows, and/or faculty members (I tend to exclude cases in which someone served only in a brief visiting position at one of the schools).

Each of my previous analyses has looked at UM in conjunction with one other school. In thinking about which school to examine next for overlap with Michigan, I considered Princeton University and the University of Waterloo. I quickly realized that there were some people who had ties to all three institutions -- Michigan, Princeton, and Waterloo -- in addition to the many who were associated with two of the three.

Variety is the spice of life, so for a little change of pace, I now present my first three-way overlap analysis. The various combinations are shown first via Venn diagram, with a more detailed list of the named individuals following [names updated 10/17/06 ].

Michigan, Waterloo, and Princeton
(All three of the following individuals received graduate degrees from UM and had faculty/research positions at Princeton and Waterloo; see their respective webpages for further detail)

Geoff Fong

Ziva Kunda (deceased)

Paul Thagard

Michigan and Princeton

Steve Fein (Princeton undergraduate, UM Ph.D.)

Ann Ruvolo (Princeton undergraduate, UM Ph.D.)

Michelle Buck (UM undergraduate, Princeton Ph.D.)

Pete Ditto (Princeton Ph.D., UM post-doc)

James Hilton (Princeton Ph.D., UM faculty member; now at University of Virginia)

Nancy Cantor (Faculty and administration at both UM and Princeton)

Michigan and Waterloo

Diane Holmberg (Waterloo undergraduate, UM Ph.D.)

Sara Konrath (Waterloo undergraduate, current UM graduate student)

Jesse Chandler (Waterloo undergraduate, current UM graduate student)

Mark Baldwin (Waterloo Ph.D., UM post-doc)

John Ellard(Waterloo Ph.D., UM post-doc)

Sandra Murray (Waterloo Ph.D., UM post-doc)

Geoff Haddock (Waterloo Ph.D., UM post-doc)

Steve Spencer (UM Ph.D., Waterloo faculty)

Dov Cohen (UM Ph.D., Waterloo faculty; now at Illinois)

Waterloo and Princeton

Mark Zanna (Faculty at both)