An Interview on Past Division – part I

Why did you agree? What other issues did you have to consider before agreeing to be President? 

BA:  There were a lot of issues, but when they asked me, I said, “yes, because it is a major honor.”  When I ran the first time, I did not win, which is fairly typical. But, they were encouraging, and I think they waited a year or so and they asked me again.  I said, “yes,” again, and I won.

I really think that, unlike some of our Division 15 Presidents who are just outstanding, brilliant scholars, and highly productive, I probably won because about five years before that they had a person who chaired the Fellows Committee who got no Fellows at all. So, the President asked me if I would chair the Fellows Committee, and I said, “yes.”  We got a large number of nominees. I did that for the three years I was chair, and so we must have gotten about 25 or 30 Fellows over those years.  When you have that many people becoming Fellows and that many people who are nominating them and making recommendations for them, you get to be known fairly widely.

From your perspective, what was the state of Division 15 before and during your presidency?

BA:  Well, Division 15 always had gotten along on a pretty minimal budget. As I recall it was $1,300 or $1,400 dollars per year, and the Executive Committee allocated it as best they could.  So nobody had a lot.  Everybody tried to do things cheaply. About the time I became President-elect was the time that the Handbook of Educational Psychology was proposed. One of the first things I did was go to the two men who would be the co-editors and say, “I am going to give you every possible support I can during the three years that I am President-elect, President, and Past-president.” One of the things the co-editors did about the second year was say, “You know we may make some money on this thing. You had better start figuring out how you are going to spend it.” It was totally unheard of and a relatively huge amount of money compared to what we had. So I think theHandbook of Educational Psychology was the big thing that, although I really did not have much to do with starting it, I certainly was there to help support it. We started to think about where we might start to use some of the money, and that resulted in other publications. So what really has made the Division prominent in the last 20 years is all the books, pamphlets, and writings that have come out as a result. We finally had enough resources to take some chances and they have worked nicely.

Based on your experience as a researcher and President, what were the salient issues in Educational Psychology around that time?

BA:  As a research methodologist, the thing I noticed then and later as much as anything else, was meta-analysis. The physical and biological sciences have always been able to relate their results across studies and build more inclusive theories. The behavioral and social sciences were never really able to do this in any good way. Gene Glass, who is a Division 15 Member and Fellow, really developed the meta-analysis of experiments. (Industrial Psychologists developed the meta-analysis of correlational data.) It was Glass who developed meta-analysis in Education and Educational Psychology, and it was Larry Hedges, who was a Professor of Education at the University of Chicago, who put the very solid statistical foundations under it and has continued to help develop it. It was education faculty and educational psychologists who developed meta-analysis. I am proud of that. Meta-analysis as an underpinning development of theory throughout the behavior sciences and education was developed by people in educational psychology as their contribution to the research methodology in general in the behavioral and social sciences and also in medicine.