Department History

1957: The State Legislature authorized the creation of the State College for Alameda County (later to be renamed several times).

1959: The State College for Alameda County enrolled its first students (400 of them, 100 full time). It was housed in temporary quarters in downtown Hayward. The President of the College was Fred Harcleroad. Two programs of study were offered: Elementary Education and Business.

1960: The California State College system was created by the Donahoe Act, including this College as one of the campuses in the system. The name of the State College for Alameda County was changed to Alameda County State College. The college hired its first Professor of Psychology, Dr. William L. Sawrey, whose primary professional interest was in heredity and behavior. Dr. Sawrey was hired with a joint appointment in Statistics, and went on to found both departments. Psychology courses were administered from the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences, one of six divisions in the college. Statistics courses were administered from the Division of Science and Mathematics.

1961: Dr. Arnold Mechanic (who worked in the area of verbal learning) joined Dr. Sawrey. At that time, Dr. Mechanic was one of the Associate Editors of the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

1962: Dr. Mark Lewis (behavioral psychology) joined Drs. Sawrey and Mechanic.

1963: The Alameda County State College changed its name again, to became California State College at Hayward, and moved to the location of its Hayward Hills Campus. This name change was heavily favored by Hayward politicians. Only two buildings were sufficiently complete to be occupied: Science and Fine Arts (later to be re-named Education and Art). Science still lacked doors, which allowed goats to roam the halls and classrooms and snakes to ride the elevator. The original campus plan was for the ceremonial entry to the campus to be from the East, between those two buildings, leading toward the administration building. That space was later occupied by the Business and Technology Building.

The Department of Psychology was formed with Dr. William Sawrey as the Acting Chair. He chose to be "Acting Chair" planning to hire an official chair at some point in the future.

The B. A. degree in Psychology was offered for the first time. The philosophy behind the program was to emphasize basic psychological science and methodology (including statistics), and to enable all students to get hands-on laboratory experience beyond that which is available in the typical undergraduate program.

Two new faculty joined the department. Dr. Donald L. Strong (abnormal psychology) was also the first Director of Counseling Services, and continued to split his appointment for the remainder of his career. Dr. Cletus J. Burke was a mathematical psychologist, actually paid to work on a grant by the National Science Foundation rather than by the university. His appointment was also split, with a joint appointment in Statistics. Like Dr. Mechanic, Dr. Burke was one of the Associate Editors of the Journal of Experimental Psychology. It was not necessary for him to teach, but he chose to teach voluntarily until he died. The first Department Secretary was Betty Soderstrom, who left after just one year.

At the time of the construction of the Science Building, or shortly thereafter, the department installed six large "Green Boxes" (Industrial Acoustics Sound Isolation Chambers) in South Science 215, which otherwise would have been a large empty room. The Green Boxes were in heavy use by faculty and students for experiments until they were removed. They resembled refrigerators, but were large enough to hold two people on chairs, a small table, and some equipment.

The university had a mainframe computer, but smaller computers did not exist. Prior to computers, some experiments were controlled by relay rack programming and various modules for decision making.Hunter timers and ClockCounters controlled other experiments.To "control experiments" meant to present a sequence of events like open the shutter on a slide projector, turn on LED lamps, and measure the time of the subject's response. To set these up one needed to connect a bunch of wires; "programming" involved moving the wires around. Data were read from the clock counter by hand and recorded by pencil and paper for each trial individually. Anyone who ever used Hunter timers learned (the hard way) that these had exposed terminals charged to 300 volts DC. One touch would send you halfway across the room. To make matters even worse, a large capacitor could store the charge for days after the timers were turned off. One learned that before doing anything with the wiring it is advisable to short these terminals, drawing a large spark and thereby discharging the capacitor. Only a very few students mastered the art of doing this.

1964: Two more Psychology faculty were hired: Dr. Lawrence Wheeler (perception), Dr. Kenneth B. Pool (industrial psychology and testing). In addition, Dr. Ronald J. Schusterman (animal behavior), was hired as a part-time lecturer. Dr. Lewis left the employ of the university. Beverly McDaid became the second Department Secretary.

1965: The Department of Psychology moved from the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences to the Division of Science and Mathematics. Dr. Roy T. Matsumoto (conditioning and learning) and Dr. Judith A. Hunt (physiological psychology) were hired.

1966: Dr. Norman Livson (developmental psychology) was hired to became the first official Chair of the Department of Psychology. However, the department counts Dr. Sawrey as the first Department Chair, despite the fact that he was only the "Acting Chair." Dr. Georgia Babladelis (personality and testing) and Dr. Richard L. Floyd (cognitive psychology) were also hired. Dr. Lewis left the employ of the university. Elizabeth Flory became the third Department Secretary.

Dr, Floyd recalled some of the available equipment when he came to the department, in addition to the relay rack programming equipment: finger mazes, a hand dynamometer, a reaction time apparatus, a Muller-Lyer illusion board with a slide for varying the length of one arrow, a pursuit rotor, a mirror image drawing apparatus, Hunter Timers, an oscilloscope, HP high-end tone generator and equally high end VTVM. There were also memory drums, rats in Skinner boxes, and physiological equipment like a microtome, stereotaxic apparatus, stereomicroscope, a "Physiograph," Grass Stimulators, and oscilloscopes.

1967: Dr. Ellis E. McCune became the President of California State College at Hayward. Dr. Arthur E. Whimbey (individual differences and testing) and Dr. Mark Eastman (social psychology) were hired. At this time the Department of Psychology had 13 tenured and tenure-track faculty, plus Dr. Schusterman, for a total of 14.

1968: The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Robert Moulton (abnormal psychology), Dr. Allan Netick (physiological psychology), Dr. W. Clem Small (conditioning and learning), and Dr. Arnold E. Stoper (sensation and perception). Dr. Pool left the employ of the college. Drs. Eastman, Floyd, and perhaps Whimbey were early advisors of the Psychology Club. At that time, students in the club often got together to talk and "bond" in addition to sponsoring programs. There was a lot of talk about being open about sex, a popular topic at that time, and activities such as drumming on the lawn.

1969: The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Stuart T. Klapp (cognitive psychology). Dr. Klapp discovered that the Green Boxes were a very safe place to be during earthquakes when he rode one out with George Eggleton, one of the School Equipment Technicians. However, he also noted that they were constructed so that if a padlock were installed in the place provided, a person inside the box could close the door on himself and thereby lock himself in even if the lock was not actually closed. Because the box is soundproof, this would have been a very undesirable outcome. Fortunately, no one ever did this. He arranged for Tom Palmer, the School Equipment Technician, to saw off the lock things and install new ones that did not have this property.

1970: The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Robert H. Buckhout (social psychology), Dr. Eleanor L. Levine (developmental psychology and linguistics), Dr. Fred Leavitt (comparative psychology and psychopharmacology), and Dr. Joan Sieber (social psychology). Dr. Eastman left the employ of the college. Jo Jorgenson became the fourth Department Secretary. Drs. Moulton and Buckhout became advisors for a short-lived but important group called the Associated Students of Black Psychology which enabled students to relate the contents of formal education to their own life experiences.

1971: California State College at Hayward became California State University, Hayward. The six divisions of the college were dissolved to become four schools of the University: the School of Arts, Letters and Social Science; the School of Business and Economics; the School of Education; and the School of Science. The Department of Psychology was in the School of Science. The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Vicki R. Cohen (cognitive psychology), Dr. Nancy Harrison (cognitive psychology), Dr. Jordan Rosenberg (conditioning and learning psychology), and Dr. David G. Tieman (cognitive psychology). Dr. Buckhout left the employ of the University.

1972: The California State College system became The California State University and College. The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Alan Monat (personality psychology and stress and coping) and Dr. Michael Patch (social psychology), and also hired Dr. Ronald Schusterman as a tenured faculty member with a half-time appointment in the Biology Department and Dr. John D. Lovell (perception) as a full-time lecturer. The Department had 24 tenured and tenure-track faculty, plus Dr. Lovell, an all-time high. Assisted by Dr. Strong, Dr. Small became the advisor of the Psychology Club, increasing the emphasis on club-sponsored career-related programs and field trips. Dr. Whimbey left the employ of the University, after having spent the previous year on leave working with Dr. Arthur Jensen on issues related to race and intelligence. Having decided that Dr. Jensen's research was not correct, Dr. Whimbey went on to write a book refuting Dr. Jensen, and to teach at one of the traditionally Black colleges.

1973: Dr. Burke passed away, the first such loss by the Department of Psychology, and Dr. Cohen left the employ of the University. To inform students about possible career paths, Dr. Small surveyed past graduates and created the first Psychology Student Handbook, a dittoed handout.

Around 1976: Our first venture into using computers was for controlling experiments. Our first computer was a variation of the MITS Altair, the first commercial personal computer. Bill Gates got his start in the computer world by writing a BASIC compiler for this computer. However, we used a smaller BASIC. Our interface with the MITS was a teletype machine with a punch-hole paper-tape device for "memory." To boot the computer one needed to enter the first few words bit by bit using toggle switches on the front panel. Once that was completed successfully, the program could be read in (very slowly) from the paper tape reader on the teletype. This process required about 1/4 hour even if you knew what you were doing. At the end of a run the data were punched into another paper tape. This could be analyzed by taking the tape to the Statistics lab and running it on the Wang computer. This process was known as "Wanging the data." Students hated being assigned to this duty because Wanging took a lot of time to complete. (It was with great relief that we were later able to replace the paper tape with an audio tape recorder.)

There were also TI-52 (1976) and TI-59 (1977) handheld programmable calculators and printers. These were used for analyzing data immediately in labs and classroom demonstrations, and later for Science Day ESP testing.

1978: Marilyn Chalifoux became the sixth Department Secretary after brief service by Gail Jones. The Department obtained a couple of Apple II computers.

1979: Dr. Klapp became the third Chair of the Department of Psychology. He created the first version of the Psychology Department ByLaws by collecting and organizing all previous decisions recorded at department meetings. Dittoed copies were made available to tenure-track faculty members. Dr. Leavitt served for a year as Associate Dean of the School of Science. Around this time, South Science 237 was remodeled to contain 8 research cubicles surrounding a central instructional area. Some of the cubicles had two-way mirrors.

1980: Dr. Hunt became the Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for CSUH. Harrison became the Associate Dean of the School of Science.

George Eggleton, another School Equipment Technician, built several computers using the CPM operating system for the Department of Psychology. The display was by monochrome CRT. Our computers had no hard drive, of course. Storage was on two 8 inch floppys holding 250K per disk. Given the 8 inch diameter the disks were very floppy indeed. An 8 inch floppy drive is a huge and heavy thing that eats up a lot of power when in operation. Thus the power supply was also heavy. All of this meant that the computer was very big; it was called SASQUATCH (big foot). Although this seems primitive now, it certainly was preferable to everything we had used before.

The CPM system was to be the standard for personal computers. A convention in San Francisco at that time celebrated the notion that CPM would be the standard for all time. Of course, over the years Bill Gates proved that wrong by purchasing the inferior DOS operating system from another small developer, sharing it with IBM, which in turn made it fashionable in the business world, and then developing the Windows operating system and some very aggressive business tactics.

1981: The Contra Costa Campus of CSUH opened its doors in Pleasant Hill. The B. S. degree with an Option in Industrial Psychology was offered for the first time. Around this time, the Green Boxes were removed from South Science 215, and the space divided to create 10 research cubicles and South Science 217 and 219. South Science 246 was also subdivided and air conditioned.

1982: The California State University and College became The California State University. Dr. Sawrey once again became Chair of the Department of Psychology, thereby serving as both the first and fourth Chairs. Dr. Tieman left the employ of the University.

1984: The Human Factors Option in the B. S. degree first appeared in the University Catalog. Starting with Dr. Stoper, the Department began obtaining Macintosh computers for some faculty offices and for the Department Office. Gradually, a goal evolved of trying to get one computer per faculty office, and the Mac Lab was created for use by Psychology majors. The Department hired our first computer technician, Richard (Polo) Webster. A few faculty members preferred the compatibility of IBM PCs with other campus computers to the elegance of the Macs. They did not prevail at that time, but, like everyone else, the Psychology Department gradually accepted DOS-based machines, then Windows, and the rest of the Microsoft line.

1985: Dr. Moulton retired from the University, thereby becoming the first Faculty Emeritus in the Department. About this time, the Computer Science Department purchased a ~$100,000 computer called the Pyramid, about as big as a refrigerator. It had 4 Megabytes of memory and would max out at 16 Megabytes. It was thought to be very large and powerful.

1986/7: Drs. Livson and Small retired from the University. Dr. Harrison became the second editor of the Psychology Student Handbook. She organized it, added text and illustrations, and re-formatted it to become a small printed booklet. Dr. Harrison also became the advisor of the Psychology Club.

With encouragement and assistance from the Dean's Office, though not from the University, the first computer network on campus that was not confined to a single room was designed by some technicians (the Computer Science Department's Richard Barbieri, Susan Parsons from the School of Science, and Mike Ferketich from the School of Business and Economics), and some faculty from Computer Science. George Eggleton, Susan Parsons, and Rich Barbieri connected the Science Computer Lab area to the Pyramid in N 332, and also connected some offices to the network. This project shamed the university into starting to network the entire campus. By a similar path, Computer Science almost registered a domain name for the University, but then turned the process over to campus authorities to register on the BITNET. E-mail became available at that time, and it was only a short time before the various nets became the Internet.

1988: The Department of Psychology hired Dr. John D. Lovell as a tenured faculty member, and also hired Dr. Gene Steinhauer (conditioning and learning) as a lecturer. Dr. Hunt left CSUH to join the administrative ranks at CSU Sonoma.

1989: Dr. Allan Netick became the fifth Chair of the Department. Dr. Rosenberg left the employ of the University. Dr. Strong retired, but continued to teach part-time as a "FERPer.".

1990: Dr. Norma S. Rees became the third President of the University. The Department of Psychology hired Dr. Gene Steinhauer as a tenure-track faculty member and also hired Dr. Eugene Hightower (healthy personality). Dr. Sawrey retired from the University, remaining part-time as a FERPer for several years. Drs. Sieber, Monat, and Steinhauer shared the third editor-ship of the Psychology Student Handbook. They added career advice and information about the faculty and staff, digitized it to make it easier to maintain, and re-formatted it to make it easy to photocopy.

1992: The Contra Costa Campus of CSUH moved to its present campus in Concord. Dr. Mechanic retired., having been severely affected by the big Oakland fire. Dr. Steinhauer sought and obtained approval to create a campus chapter of Psi Chi, and became the first advisor.

1994: Drs. Babladelis and Schusterman retired from the University. Once again, the Department had 14 tenured and tenure-track members.

The department obtained several IBM-compatible DOS based computers with separate interface cards which enabled the machines to achieve millisecond timing. Programming was in TURBO PASCAL. This strategy was borrowed from Professor Rich Ivry at Berkeley. Our version of the software was upgraded by our computer tech Polo Webster with a critical machine-language routine developed by Chris Morgan, a faculty member in Computer Science. The hardware interface was designed and built by George Eggleton. This approach is still viable and is currently in use in Dr. Klapp's lab. The only change is that the computers were soon "upgraded" to 486-33 machines. By running under DOS this approach avoids nasty problems with timing that occur when one attempts to run under Windows. The more modern the version of Windows is, the worse these problems become.

Over time, most Psychology labs came to be run by a software system known as SuperLab which does run under Windows. However, the event timing is far from accurate and is not adequate for many types of research. The vendor of this software keeps promising that they will correct this problem but they never have.

Despite these problems, Windows-based machines were purchased for the Experimental Psychology labs

1995: Dr. Levine became first the Acting Chair, then the sixth Chair of the Department. The Department hired Dr. Marvin Lamb (physiological psychology). Dr. Floyd became the advisor of the Psychology Club.

Sometime around here: Polo Webster was part of a round of layoffs, a very sad event. He was replaced by Lawrence Brown, who developed the department's first website during his period of employment.

1996: The Department hired Dr. Mary Kay Stevenson-Busemeyer (industrial psychology). Due to declining student interest, the Psychology Club ceased to exist.

1997/8: Drs. Floyd and Netick retired from the University. Dr. Hightower left the employ of the University. Dr. Harrison returned to serve full-time in the department.

1999: The Department hired Dr. David Sandberg (clinical psychology). Marilyn Chalifoux retired. Dr. Stevenson-Busemeyer became the second advisor of the campus chapter of Psi Chi.

Sometime around here: Lawrence Brown left. After a long battle for a position, and then a search, Chris, whose last name is currently lost, was hired, with half his time to be at the School level. Then we lost Chris and ceased making the lab available for student use.

2000: Dr. Alan Monat became the seventh Chair of the Department. Drs. Klapp and Sieber retired, but continued to remain active: Dr. Klapp continued with his research and Dr. Sieber founded a faculty research grant and a journal on research ethics. Professor Emeritus Moulton passed away. The Department had 12 tenured and tenure-track members. Melinda Wyeth took on the role of seventh department secretary after a long period of temporary fill ins. Her title became "Administrative Support Coordinator." Drs. Harrison and Monat became the fourth co-editors of the Psychology Student Handbook. They re-organized and updated the material, and added several sections. Dr. Harrison became the advisor for a revived Psychology Club.

2001: An updated, revised version of the Psychology Department ByLaws was approved by the faculty, and made available to tenure-track faculty members in digital form.

2002: The name of the Option in Human Factors was changed to Ergonomics and Human Factors.

2003: All four Schools of the University were elevated by being renamed Colleges. Dr. Monat became Associate Dean of the College of Science. Dr. Marvin Lamb became the eighth Chair of the Department. The Industrial Psychology Option was significantly modified, and the name changed to Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

2004: Drs. Levine and Matsumoto retired, with Dr. Matsumoto continuing to teach under FERP. The Department hired Dr. Dong-Won (Don) Choi (organizational psychology) and Dr. Kara Gabriel (biopsychology). The Psychology Student Handbook was retired. To meet the needs formerly filled by the Handbook, the department website was expanded and several single page brochures were developed. Drs. Steinhauer and Barkley became co-advisors of Psi Chi.

2005: The University took its fifth name, this time rather contentiously. It became California State University, East Bay. The name change was initiated by President Rees and was supported by the Alumni Council, but was opposed by current students and faculty, and by the City of Hayward. The East Lawn of the Science Building was replaced by the Business and Technology Building. Dr. Norman Livson passed away. Melinda Wyeth retired from the position of Administrative Support Coordinator, and was succeeded by Nicole Huber, who thereby became the eighth person to fill that position.

2006: President Rees retired, leaving a legacy of new dorms, the business and technology building, and an expanded University Union and bookstore. Dr. Mohammad Qayoumi became the fourth president of the university. Dr. Steinhauer retired. Physiological Psychology was added to the BA program as a required course. Dr. Gabriel became co-advisor of Psi Chi with Dr. Barkley, and Dr. Choi became the advisor of the Psychology Club. Nicole Huber unexpectedly vacated her position, which was filled after an extended period by Robin Lipkowitz, the ninth person to fill that position.

2007: Three new faculty members joined the department: Dr. Daniel Cerruti (comparative psychology), Dr. Emily Cleveland (developmental psychology), and Dr. David Fencsik (cognitive psychology). Dr. Steinhauer passed away, Dr. Harrison retired, and Dr. Gabriel left the employ of the university.  Dr. Cleveland became co-advisor of Psi Chi with Dr. Barkley.  Drs. Fencsik and Cleveland became co-advisors of the Psychology Club.

2008: Dr. Stoper retired after teaching for several years under FERP. Robin Yeary (formerly Lipkowitz) moved to the College of Science office and was succeeded by Julie Mielke, the tenth person to fill the position; her title was changed to Office Manager.  Dr. Fencsik joined Drs. Cleveland and Barkley as co-advisors of Psi Chi.

2009: Dr. Heike Winterheld (personality psychology) joined the department in the Winter quarter, having been hired the previous Fall.  Emeritus Professor Georgia Babladelis passed away.  The department now had 11 full-time teaching faculty.

2011: Dr. Cerruti passed away quite unexpectedly in January, 2011.  President Qayoumi left the university.  Dr. Leroy M. Morishita became President after a brief period as interim.

2012: Natalie Granera, who had served the department for years as the Administrative Support Assistant, moved to the Department of Biological Sciences.  Stacy Trevino was hired to replace her.  Later in the year, Julie Mielke moved to the College of Education & Allied Studies.  Stacy switched to Office Manager, becoming the eleventh person to fill that position.  Kelley Ramos was hired as a part-time Administrative Support Assistant, becoming full-time in early 2013.

2013: Dr. Murray Horne (conditioning and learning) joined the department. Dr. Leavitt retired. At the end of Fall 2013, Dr. Winterheld moved to Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Sawrey, the department's first professor, passed away in October.  Kelley Ramos moved to the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.  Jamane Joseph was hired as the department's new Administrative Support Assistant.

2014: Dr. Brian Gonsalves (physiological) joined the department.  Dr. Patch retired from the university, but continues to teach under FERP.

2015: Dr. Kristin Layous (social and industrial/organizational) joined the department.  She became the faculty advisor to Psi Chi, and Dr. Horne became the faculty advisor to the Psychology Club.  Dr. Lovell retired from the university and began to teach under FERP.  Dr. Fencsik became the ninth chair of the department.

2016: Dr. Amanda Morrison (clinical) joined the department, starting to teach in Winter 2017.  Jamane moved to the Departments of Music and English at the end of 2016.

2017: The department hired Dana Rucker as the department's new Administrative Support Assistant in April. Dr. Jeri Little (cognitive) joined the department in Fall 2017.

2018: Dr. Negin Toosi (social/organizational) joined the department in Fall 2018. Dr. Stevenson retired from the university and began to teach under FERP. Dr. Patch ended FERP.

2019: Dr. Ram Kandasamy and Dr. Divya Sitaraman (both biopsychology) joined the department in Fall 2019. Dr. Lamb retired from the university and began to teach under FERP.