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IN MEMORY OF BILL McKEACHIE AND CHARLES BREWER
The Society for the Teaching of Psychology provided travel support to Eric Landrum and Garth Neufeld to interview Bill McKeachie and Charles Brewer for their PsychSessions podcast series. Eric and Garth have provided these podcasts for the STP Website. This page also includes additional resources to honor their memories.
Charles Brewer and Bill McKeachie at the
2005 APA Convention, Washington, DC
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For this episode, PsychSessions recorded (with permission) the session held on Friday, August 9, 2019 at the American Psychological Association convention in Chicago, IL titled "A Community Farewell to Teaching of Psychology's Hero: Charles Brewer." It was chaired by Jane Halonen, and presenters included Randy A. Smith from Moravian College, Diane F. Halpern from Claremont McKenna College, Dorothy Cantor of Independent Practice, and Jane S. Halonen from the University of West Florida.
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PsychSessions Podcast #17 with Bill McKeachie
Garth Neufeld, Bill McKeachie, and Eric Landrum
Wilbert J. (Bill) McKeachie was born August 24, 1921 and died June 12, 2019. His family shared his obituary, which you can read here.
The text below was prepared by Garth Neufeld and Eric Landrum upon initial release of their interview with Bill.
Wilbert J. (Bill) McKeachie, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Michigan Bill is an iconic teacher of psychology. From the time he completed his Ph.D. at Michigan in 1949, until his retirement at age 85, Bill was fully engaged in teaching: encouraging graduate students and colleagues, developing materials to advance pedagogy, and influencing organizations in support of teaching. From its publication in 1950, his Teaching Tips has remained in print through 14 editions (now with co-author Marilla Svinicki), helping countless faculty in many disciplines to improve their teaching.
For more than six decades, Bill has been friend to all, from the most famous luminaries—the likes of Skinner, Likert, and Maslow—to beginning students. Along the way his colleagues elected Bill to many leadership positions. He has served as president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Foundation, and the American Association of Higher Education; and STP established the Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award to honor his contributions to the teaching of psychology
Yet for all the fame his career has brought, Bill McKeachie has remained a model of humility, decency, and humanity. And, as an avid softball player over the years, Bill has often proudly noted that the most significant accomplishment of his APA presidential year (1976) was the fact that he pitched three no-hitters that year.
We are grateful to Eric Landrum and Garth Neufeld of the PsychSessions podcast for their efforts to preserve Bill’s voice for posterity, and I hope you will enjoy listening to this conversation with one of our greatest teachers.
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Garth Neufeld, Charles Brewer, and Eric Landrum
The text below was prepared by Garth Neufeld and Eric Landrum upon initial release of their interview with Charles.
For a generation of psychology faculty, the name of Charles Brewer has been synonymous with the teaching of psychology. After completing work for the Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas, Charles taught briefly at Elmira College and The College of Wooster, before joining the faculty of Furman University in 1967. He has been at Furman ever since and is now Professor Emeritus there. Charles hit the ground running as a teacher, receiving the first Furman Meritorious Teaching Award in 1969, and a few years later becoming president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.
Charles became a pre-eminent authority on the life and work of John Broadus Watson (an 1899 graduate of Furman), and his 12-year term as editor of the Teaching of Psychology journal established him as both mentor and demanding critic for his colleagues in their writing efforts. He loved to demand “felicity of expression,” and teachers whose writing was subject to Charles’s editing sometimes said their work had been “Brewerized.”
Charles’s contributions to teaching have received recognition in various ways, including establishment of the American Psychological Foundation Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching Award, and dedication of the Charles & Marjorie Brewer Reading Room at the Cummings Center for the History of Psychology at the University of Akron. Among his favorite accomplishments over the years, Charles has often mentioned his role as one of the charter faculty consultants for the Advanced Placement Psychology Program, and his selection as an all-state basketball player during his high school days in Arkansas.
We owe our thanks to Eric Landrum and Garth Neufeld for their efforts to produce this interview and for recording Charles’s thoughts in his own words.