Saturday, December 04, 2010

Village Corner Shuts Down South U Store

From the December issue of the Ann Arbor Observer comes word that Village Corner, a mainstay for 40 years at the corner of S. University and S. Forest, closed in early November and is now in "hibernation," pending a move to a still-to-be-found new location. VC's website details the situation and notes that "The December 2010 issue of Ann Arbor Observer misquoted Dick [Scheer, the owner] as stating we're 'shooting for a reopening in a new location sometime in 2012.' In fact, we plan to reopen in a matter of weeks, not months or years." VC and the adjacent bicycle store are giving way to a new high-rise student apartment complex.

For those not familiar with VC (and it's hard to imagine many Ann Arborites would fall into that category), it was a store that defied easy labels. It was like a convenience store, but much bigger, or like a supermarket, but much smaller. It was also said to have one of the Midwest's finest and most extensive wine collections. My memories of VC include always seeing copious supplies of flyers for upcoming campus-area events tacked up by the entrances, and the local public radio station playing world music in the background.

Living in the South U area my second year of grad school, I frequently popped into VC, either to pick up a snack of, say, orange juice and a brownie, or for a few days' groceries. Along with VC, other South U neighborhood establishments of my grad-school days, such as Pizzeria Uno, the Bagel Factory, and Community Newscenter (bookstore), are gone.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Warsaw Conference Honors Zajonc

Back on May 13-14 of this year, a conference was held in Warsaw, Poland to celebrate the career of the late Bob Zajonc. The conference organizers now have videos, still photos, and abstracts from the event up on a website. Several Michigan faculty (current, relocated, and retired) and graduates of the Ph.D. program participated. There's also a Facebook group honoring Bob, which is where I learned of the conference page.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Claude Steele's Book "Whistling Vivaldi"

I recently finished reading the book Whistling Vivaldi, by Claude Steele. Claude's brief stint as a professor at Michigan (1987-1991) overlapped partially with my cohort's time and I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten to know him as part of my graduate training.

Though Claude spent the better part of the last 20 years at Stanford (before recently moving to Columbia University to become provost), he writes at considerable length about his time in Ann Arbor. It was at UM, in fact, that his interest in, and initial research on, stereotyped group members' college underperformance (relative to these students' entering academic credentials) really crystallized.

This research is well-known within social psychology (and beyond) under the rubric of stereotype threat. In the book, Claude details several stages of stereotype-threat research he, his students, and outside investigators have undertaken over the past 20 years. In discussing research from his own lab, Claude talks about many of the graduate students who've worked with him, including Steve Spencer. Now a professor at Canada's University of Waterloo, Steve was in on the ground floor of stereotype-threat research at Michigan and remains very active in this area. Chris Crandall, who completed his doctoral studies at Michigan shortly before Claude's arrival and has independently done research pertinent to stereotype threat, is also cited throughout the book.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Pat Gurin Wins APF Award for Work in the Public Interest

While leafing through my copy of the new (July-August 2010) American Psychologist, I saw that Pat Gurin had won the American Psychological Foundation's Gold Medal Award for Life Achievement in Psychology in the Public Interest (announcement). The APF appears to be affiliated with the American Psychological Association (APA), with a focus on fundraising and grant awards to conduct research and provide services with a prosocial aim. The write-up accompanying Pat's award citation focuses on her research on the benefits of diversity in higher education (which was used in the University of Michigan's defense, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, of its affirmative action programs) and on her mentoring of students from diverse backgrounds. As the summary also notes, Pat is officially retired, but remains active at Michigan with "intergroup dialogue" research, a nine-university project.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Former UM President Fleming Dead at 93

Former UM president Robben Fleming has died at age 93. As I previously wrote about, Fleming participated in the Group Dynamics Seminar during my first semester of grad school (Fall 1984).