Fonds UBCA-ARC-1248 - Department of Psychology fonds

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Department of Psychology fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Photographic material
  • Sound recording

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56 cm of textual records
15 photographs
6 sound recordings

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Administrative history

The University first offered a psychology course in 1915 through the Department of Philosophy. Professor James Henderson was the sole member of the Department until 1920 when H.T.J. Coleman was appointed Head (as well as Dean of Arts). Only one course in psychology was taught until 1926, but by 1936 enough courses had been added to the curriculum for the Department's name to be changed to Philosophy and Psychology. Coleman was replaced as Head by J.A. Irving in 1940, followed by S.N.F. Chant in 1945. When Chant became Dean of Arts and Sciences in 1948, he remained Department Head, but Barnet Savery acted as chair in his absence; starting that year, separate staff meetings were held for faculty in the philosophy and psychology programs. Beginning in the 1940s, the Department expanded rapidly, and during this period moved from rooms scattered around campus to several Army-surplus huts. In 1951 the Department was authorized to grant a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, although the first degree was not awarded until 1968. The Department of Psychology was established as a separate unit in 1958, with Professor Chant as its Head, Edro Signori as chair and, after 1961, Acting Head. Dr. Douglas T. Kenny was appointed as Head in 1965. That same year the Department moved from its old huts to new facilities in the Angus Building, sharing the building with the Faculty of Commerce. Under Kenny's leadership, the Department continued to grow in faculty, students, and course offerings; its programs became less eclectic and more focused on experimental psychology and research. When he resigned in 1969, Signori served again as Acting Head until Peter Suedfeld was appointed in 1972; he, in turn, was replaced by Richard C. Tees in 1984. In 1984, the Department moved again to the new Kenny Building. Over the years, the Department of Psychology has grown to become one of the largest in the Faculty of Arts.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The fonds consists of correspondence, reports, and minutes of meetings relating to the activities and programs of the Department of Psychology, and photographs of Department Heads and prominent faculty members. Some records date from before the formation of the Department, when the psychology program was still part of the Department of Philosophy and Psychology. Also included are audio recordings of interviews (with typed transcripts) documenting the Department's historical development.
The material is arranged in six series: Administration, Departmental Committees, Departmental Programs, External Correspondence, Historical Files, and Oral History Project. The Historical Files series consists of textual records which document the Department's formative years, and photographs; they had been placed in a box and stored separately from the Department's other records until transferred to the Archives.

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Location of originals

Audio reels are located in the vault from AT 1057 to AT 1062.

Availability of other formats

Some photographs have been digitized and are available on UBC Library Open Collections series UBC 6.1

Restrictions on access

Fonds consists of institutional records – access requests must be reviewed by the University's FOIPOP Coordinator.

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Finding aids

Online Finding Aid
Please see the finding aid for the file list.

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General note

The audio interviews with former staff and typed summaries were produced through an oral history project undertaken in 1982-83 and copied by the Archives in 1983 for its audio-visual holdings.

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