Psychology Home at The University of West Georgia

Available Resources for Support of Departmental Programs

A. Library

The Ingram Library houses three special collections of particular interest to our students:

(1) The David Wayne Hooks Collection consisting of approximately 1500 books on various aspects of psychology and parapsychology was donated to West Georgia in 1985 by the Psychical Research Foundation. In 1987, over 200 books from Dr. Carroll B. Nash were added to this collection.

(2) The Sidney M. Jourard Collection contains Jourard’s papers and personal library, including letters, research files, reprints of journal articles and over 520 books. Jourard (1926-1974) was a psychologist and university professor best known for his research in the field of self-disclosure. He was active in the American Psychological Association and corresponded with Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, and other prominent psychologists of his day. Marginal notes reflecting Sid’s responses to his reading are found in many of these books. This collection of documents and books includes selections in anthropology, sociology, psychotherapy, religion, philosophy, research and theory. It gives researchers an idea of the forces which shaped Jourard’s thinking, while providing them with much to consider in their own quest for understanding human experience, endeavor and potential.

(3) The Edith Weisskopf-Joelson Collection includes reprints of articles and drafts of research papers and books by Weisskopf-Joelson (1910-1983), who was a psychologist and university professor. She received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Vienna in 1937, but in 1938 fled Austria to escape Nazi rule and immigrated to the U.S. in 1939. She taught at Purdue University, St. Mary-in-the-Woods College, Duke University, West Georgia College and the University of Georgia.

In Spring Semester 2001, Elena Mustakova-Possardt, Ed.D., Assistant Professor in the Department, undertook a review of our library holdings to assess their adequacy. She found that our library collection contains over 8800 subject headings for psychology and related areas, and covers a fairly diverse range of sub-areas representative of the unique emphasis of this humanistic/transpersonal psychology program, country-wide and world-wide.

Our journal collection contains 98 journals, and since 2000 we have 122 electronic journals. Our video collection consists of 33 mostly recent videos. Overall, our collection needs building up, but it presently provides a reasonable foundation for our work. Also, our capacity to access materials through inter-library loan has improved significantly with computerization of the process.

B. Space

Don Medeiros, Ph.D., and Tobin Hart, Ph.D., Associate Professors in the Department, along with Lisa Osbeck, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department, undertook a review of our space and facilities needs. After considerable study, they recommended that the Psychology Department move into Melson Hall with the understanding that a maximum of $75,000 would be available to install optic fiber cable and remove asbestos from the building. Full occupation of this building was projected to provide offices for research assistants, for future faculty members, for seminar room space, office space for future doctoral students, space for a biofeedback lab, space for a computer lab, practicum space, space for a departmental library, etc. In short, this seemed an optimal space to handle current needs and to provide for future development as a department. If such a move were not possible as outlined above, the department requested to remain in the Pafford building and further requested an additional twelve (12) rooms for purposes described above.

Unfortunately, at this time, the Department has not yet heard definitively about whether or not a move to Melson Hall has been approved. Even more disturbing, the Department has been informed that the Graduate School might soon occupy a large portion of the space in Melson, the Anthropology Department might be moved into Pafford, and the Psychology Department might have to vacate the site it currently occupies in the Pafford building and be re-located in much- constricted quarters in Melson. Such circumstances would wreak havoc with departmental operations and the capacity of our department to achieve its mission, would create hardships for disabled students so far as accessibility of psychology advisors is concerned, would be demoralizing to faculty and students, and would especially exacerbate existing difficulties in creating a greater sense of community among graduate students. Given the viability, productivity and quality of our programs, and the fact that Psychology has the largest number of majors and graduate students in Arts & Sciences, the Department believes it has earned more considered treatment on the matter of space and deserves to be treated more fairly.

C. Budgetary Matters

In this section of our self-study we would like to specifically address three areas of concern:
* Issues pertaining to non-personal operating expenses.
* Budgetary line items such as monies for graduate research assistants and travel monies for research support for faculty.
* The more general question of salaries for tenure-track faculty lines, and full-time temporary lines.

Appendix M presents budgetary resources obtained from the Office of the Vice President for Business and Finance for fiscal years 1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02. These break out monies allocated to departments in Arts & Sciences, Business and Education in terms of personal services (e.g., faculty salaries, graduate research assistantships), benefits (e.g., health, life insurance) and non-personal services (e.g., travel and equipment).

There are fourteen full-time faculty in the Psychology department who have responsibility for advisement, instruction and supervision of internships for approximately 272 undergraduate majors, 226 undergraduate pre-majors and 106 undergraduate minors annually who simultaneously have responsibility for advisement, thesis supervision and instruction for an average of 84 graduate students annually (the largest number in Arts & Sciences and the sixth largest in the institution as a whole). Department faculty are among the most productive and highly visible in their disciplines as compared with faculty in other departments across the campus. Budgetary resources are not proportionately distributed, however.

As compared with other departments in Arts & Sciences, the Psychology Department has received a progressively smaller amount of resources in comparison with other departments in Arts & Sciences since FY 1997-98. In FY 1997-98 it received the 5th largest operating budget of departments in Arts & Sciences. In FY 1998-99 and 1999-2000 it dropped to 6th place in its operating budget; and in FY 2000-01 and 2001-02 it has fallen to 7th place behind such departments as English & Philosophy, Math/Physics, Sociology/Anthropology, Biology, History, Nursing and Geosciences. While English & Philosophy, Math/Physics and History have considerable responsibilities for providing adequate staff for core curriculum courses, the number of majors they serve is quite small. The number they graduate is even less (see Table C, pp. 1-15 through 1-17, and Appendix A, pp. 1-85 through 1-94). Even taking into consideration that Biology, Nursing and Geosciences departments have considerable equipment expenses, the amount of resources committed to the Psychology Department seems unfairly low. This puts us in a very difficult position. On the one hand, in order to generate more revenue we might be expected to generate more credit hours. But if our faculty is to (1) successfully achieve its mission, (2) provide “academic excellence in a personal environment” for the number of undergraduate majors and graduate students we recruit and retain, and (3) sustain the stability which comes from faculty having adequate opportunities to be successful in promotion and tenure processes, we cannot simply increase the numbers of students with whom we are working.

The non-personal budget has remained stagnant while college enrollment has increased overall. The increased enrollment has impacted psychology in particular because of the large numbers of students we serve in the core curriculum and the number of non-majors that take our courses (see Table D, page 1-21). There are other on-going enrollment pressures as well. Since 1998, Psychology has graduated the highest number of majors in Arts & Sciences and has the highest number of majors during this period, despite a minimum GPA requirement of 2.5 (and an average among majors of 3.23). At the Master’s level, we also have the highest number of students in Arts & Sciences (average 84, with a 25.6% increase from FY 99-00 to FY 00-01). Our numbers are double any other program in Arts & Sciences. Adequately preparing to educate such numbers of students strains our resources in such fundamental areas as xeroxing, publication of brochures, organization of events, mailings, telephone expenses, and so forth). Thus the stagnant numbers at the level of the non-personnel budget lower the level of service to students as well as our creativity in the areas of recruitment and retention.

Graduate research assistantship and travel monies have remained stagnant. While many more junior faculty have been hired and are responsible for meeting stringent tenure requirements, there is no commensurate increase in travel funding. Thus the demand for travel far outstrips what the department can provide. An average of approximately $900. is available for each member of the faculty and this does not count incurred expenses for departmental travel to such meetings as the Committee on Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDP) and the Consortium on Diversified Programs in Psychology (CDPP). These latter trips are essential to our national status as a graduate program, and to our accreditation. Further, our department is a nationally-known department in humanistic and transpersonal psychology, very active at the national level, with nine members of the department presenting at the national American Psychological Association annual meeting next year. The Department was pivotal in founding Division 32 (Humanistic Psychology) of the APA and maintains a substantive presence in that and in allied divisions. The current level of funding doesn’t even cover the cost of attending one conference such as the APA conference mentioned above. It is adequate only for regional travel while our department is active at all levels of scholarship (which is, of course, helpful to our graduate students). Even with a thriving graduate program that could easily develop into a larger program with more funding for O/D and LPC licensure emphases, our pool for Graduate Research Assistantships has remained stagnant. Although we attract students nationally and internationally, we can never fund a sufficient number of GRAs. We do not have a sufficient number to go around for all faculty who could utilize the help and mentor graduate students in the process. This is a typical problem in Arts & Sciences, but for us it is an especially troublesome one. We continue to attract very high quality students who decline attending or work elsewhere because of our limited assistantship funding.

In addition, the lack of funds for a GRA in the role of Graduate Coordinator over the summer semester severely hurts recruitment efforts during the summer. Simply re-allocating funds from Fall-Spring assistantships awarded to other graduate students would also hurt recruitment of graduate students and support for faculty research.

Given increases in enrollment and increases in the SAT scores of entering students, we can expect additional students will qualify to become Psychology majors. Given the agreement worked out with the Composite Board, we can expect that additional students will enroll in our graduate program to qualify for licensure. With more faculty lines, we could more effectively manage enrollment, increase retention and student satisfaction. We could easily fill more core courses, serve the University, our Organizational Development emphasis at both graduate and undergraduate levels, and add majors. Our courses for the major and at graduate levels are oversubscribed and in insufficient supply. We have offered over 250 independent studies in the period of this review, and have provided nearly 100 cap overrides. This is demoralizing to faculty and cheats students especially in a climate that encourages student-faculty interaction and increased opportunities for student research.