A Brief History

Psychology at the University of Illinois has had a long and distinguished history. The first record of a professor of psychology on campus is in 1890. There was no separate Psychology Department at that time, but Dr. Charles De Garmo taught educational psychology and mental science under the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy. A Psychological Laboratory was first established on campus in 1892 by Professor William O. Krohn. The following year the Psychology Department was established as a separate department from Philosophy with Professor Krohn in charge.

The Department began to grow in both size and stature. In 1897, the department head, Professor John H. Hylan, did pioneering laboratory studies on the fluctuation of attention. This helped place the entire subject of attention on an experimental basis. In the years that followed, numerous Psychology Department faculty made significant contributions to the growing body of knowledge of this young field and to the profession.

Today, the Department is considered to be among the premier psychology departments. Approximately 100 people with the rank of instructor or above are affiliated with the Department. Permanent full time faculty number about 60 people. The faculty maintains a worldwide reputation for excellence and for being at the "cutting edge" of knowledge in the field. Several are, or have been, editors of professional journals, officers of professional societies, advisors and consultants to political leaders, governments, major corporations, and non-profit organizations.

From that first laboratory in 1892, the Psychology Department has grown so that it overflows the Psychology Building, an eight story building which houses most of the departmental research facilities. These include laboratories for research in human learning, animal learning, physiological psychology, animal motivation, human perception, social behavior, and other areas. There are extensive computer facilities, a research library, a complete animal colony, a fully equipped video laboratory facility for observation and videotape production, and a well-equipped apparatus and instrument shop maintained and staffed by specialists on the design and production of equipment for psychological research. The department operates a psychological clinic and several other research and training facilities outside its main building. In addition, the department maintains affiliate relationships with several interdisciplinary laboratories on campus.

The tradition that has been established in the department's history is one of excellence: excellence in facilities, programs, faculty, and students.