Psychology Department Receives National Science Foundation Grant

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 gittisa@westminster.edu for more information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College is ranked 15th among liberal arts colleges, according to the Washington Monthly 2007 Annual College Guide. Westminster is a national leader in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Guide to America's Best Colleges, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 368 Colleges" and "Best in the Northeast" by The Princeton Review, and was recognized by the Templeton Guide as a "Character Building College."

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 41 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus.