Friday, October 30, 2009

25th Anniversary of My Cohort Entering Grad School

Last week, I went to Ann Arbor for a small academic conference. The timing couldn't have been any better, as this fall semester marks the 25th anniversary of when my cohort and I began graduate school at U of M. I took extensive photos on this recent visit, featuring some of the important people and locations from 1984, but also conveying the changes that have made the U of M what it is in 2009. One constant, of course, is the beautiful array of fall colors...

Across the top is a shot of the UM Diag, which I entered from the southwest corner. Arranged clockwise, the next picture shows a walkway behind (west of) the Social Work and Education buildings going toward the Business School; followed by a view from the Rackham Graduate School's fourth-floor patio, looking toward the North Ingalls Building. (You can click on all of the photos displayed in this entry to enlarge them.)

The only barber who has ever cut my hair in Ann Arbor is Bill, with whom I'm pictured below by one of the chairs at State St. Barber Shop (OK, maybe once or twice an associate of Bill's in the same shop gave me a haircut). I was a regular from 1984-1989 and, as I've visited Ann Arbor every few years since then, I've made it a point to get a haircut from Bill every time. This last trip was no exception. As can be seen, Bill has the shop all decked out in Michigan athletic paraphernalia, including the jerseys of many great Wolverines of modern history.

Another important figure from 1984 with whom I touched base is Professor James Jackson. When my cohort entered grad school, James was serving as social psychology program director, so part of his job was to hold a weekly seminar for us neophytes, where he would socialize us into the field, see how each of us was doing with our respective first-year projects (on which we worked primarily with our individual advisors), and just make sure we were all doing OK in general.

Back in '84 -- and all through my time in grad school, in fact -- there was no central psychology building, with each program (e.g., clinical, developmental, biopsychology) housed in a different location on campus. Social psych was housed in the Institute for Social Research (ISR; on top in the montage below). In '84, before Engineering completed its move to North Campus, there was a building on East University next to Ulrich's bookstore called East Engineering, which is where the introductory statistics course taken by all first-year psychology grad students was held. During the 1990's, East Engineering was refurbished and given the imaginative and creative new name "East Hall." Psychology (and mathematics) now occupy East Hall, shown below the picture of the ISR. You can see how, above one of the doors to the Psychology Department, the engraved title "Engineering" remains as a reminder of the building's past.

During my first year of grad school, I lived in a graduate-student dorm on the North Campus (Baits Parker), which necessitated using the campus bus system to travel to and from Central Campus, where all the academic buildings for a psychology student were. I considered visiting my old residence hall during this recent visit, but time was short, so I contented myself with a walk past the Central Campus bus station...

In contrast to the above photos depicting things that have (mostly) stayed the same over the past 25 years, this last montage shows how UM is also ever-changing. The new North Quad residence-hall complex is being constructed on State St., by Huron and Washington, where the Frieze Building once stood. As I photographed it from my room at the Campus Inn, North Quad really seems to blend in well with the surrounding area (in my opinion, at least), with the famous UM Bell Tower in the background. For traditionalists, however, a portion of the Frieze Building's exterior has been preserved and incorporated into North Quad (lower left insert)

What will UM look like in 25 more years? I hope to be around to see it, but I don't want the time to fly by too quickly!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

20th Anniversary of 1989 Michigan Men's NCAA Basketball Championship

The new issue of Michigan Today includes an article on the 20th anniversary of the University of Michigan men's basketball team winning the NCAA championship. That Wolverine team was famous for having its coach, Bill Frieder, bolt a few nights before the start of March Madness to sign with Arizona State for the next season, following secret negotiations. Athletic Director (and football coach) Bo Schembechler denied Frieder's request to finish the season with UM, inserting hoops assistant Steve Fisher into the head coaching role. And the rest, as they say, was history.

The 1988-89 academic year was when I completed my Ph.D., so I was there for the Wolverines' basketball championship. I distinctly remember where I was during each of the team's six NCAA tournament games, and the whole thing was great fun.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Visiting with Bob Josephs

I recently caught up with Bob Josephs at this year's SPIT (Social Psychologists in Texas) conference in Austin. Bob was in the same graduate-student cohort with me at Michigan, although in an unconventional way.

As I and my fellow incoming students were starting out at Michigan in the Fall 1984 semester, Bob was beginning grad school at the University of Washington. However, when Bob's advisor, Claude Steele, moved from U-Dub to Michigan in the Fall 1987 semester, Bob came along. In terms of graduate-school experience, Bob was the equivalent of the Fall '84 entering cohort, so he was grouped with us.

Upon completing his Ph.D. at UM, Bob joined the faculty at the University of Texas-Austin for the Fall 1990 term, and he's been there ever since. As I discussed with Bob during SPIT, it seems relatively rare for someone to have had one -- and only one -- position since completing grad school. For one thing, it requires someone to land a tenure-track job immediately, without the need for a post-doc or visiting position. Then, one has to like one's department and university, and the department and university have to like you (i.e., grant you tenure).

Bob is by no means the only graduate of the Michigan Ph.D. program to stay exclusively in one place, but it seemed easier for us to generate names of people who've moved at least once than names of people who've stayed put.