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Psychology Department Receives National Science Foundation Grant

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Posted on Friday, February 27, 2009

Westminster College's Department of Psychology received a $125,000 grant from the National Science Foundation Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement program.

The funds will be used for the department's "Integrating a Psychology Curriculum through the Incremental Building of Computer Skills" project. Computer hardware and software and physiological recording equipment will be purchased and stipends will be provided to psychology faculty to integrate the equipment into several courses.

The grant will provide:
- New software for use in Dr. Sandra Webster's general experimental lab
- Hardware and software for upgrading the social psychology lab supervised by Dr. Jamie McMinn
- Hardware and software for a new laboratory in cognitive neuroscience supervised by Dr. Kirk Lunnen

In addition, the equipment will be used for the development of exercises in Lunnen's abnormal psychology course and Dr. Alan Gittis' behavioral neuroscience course, as well as capstone exercises supervised by the entire psychology faculty, including Dr. Mandy Medvin and Dr. Sherri Pataki.

Gittis, chair of the department, is the principal investigator for the project and will coordinate the integration of all phases of it.

"The receipt of the grant is attributable to Westminster's growing academic reputation, the strong psychology curriculum already in place, and the department's long track record in guiding student research and honors projects," Gittis said. "Our psychology curriculum, first developed by Dr. David Gray, psychology professor emeritus, has served as a national model of how a psychology curriculum should be structured. Through this grant, we will be able to assure our stature can be maintained as the technology needed for research advances."

Contact Gittis at (724) 946-7358 or e-mail for more information.