Well, almost got a gap here. Not intentionally. Again, the naivete comes in into a play. And then this, this story’s gonna lead into how I ended up getting into teaching. I decided wanna go to grad school, wanted to get a PhD, but I did not consult the faculty even though there were several when I was pretty close to, I, I only applied to two schools.
Not at all factoring in that those schools might have lots of stellar applicants who might be a better fit in terms of research interest than I might be. And I got rejected by Bo. Okay? And so I’m sitting there going, Oh my God. Now, the way I got through high school was was being a line cook at Mr. Steak.
I was thinking, I’m back to Mr. Steak
talents. If you ever need someone who can grill 30 steaks at once, I’m your man.
You’ve just heard Wayne Whiten from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. My podcast partner Eric Landrum, interviewed Wayne for episode 150 of Psych Sessions, conversations about teaching in stuff. Please stay tuned for so much. The Psych Sessions Podcast is sponsored by stp. That is the Society for the Teaching of Psychology.
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This is a very special episode of Psych Sessions, conversations about teaching and stuff. I am here with Wayne White and from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Hi Wayne. Hey, Aaron. Good to see you. It’s good to see you too. And I am so thrilled that you agreed to do this. I think we started talking about this way in the before times the pre pandemic, probably over a dinner at some conference.
The pandemic hit. And then I’m, I, I almost fear that you thought I was like a stalker. I think every six months to a year I might have emailed and said, Hey, wanna do a podcast? Hey, wanna do a podcast? Hey, hey. And so thank you for agreeing to do this. Well, you were very persistent and I apologize or any reluctance that I displayed, but, uh, you know, I, I just, I’m sort of self-conscious about this kind of thing and I wanted some time to reflect and, and sort of find some preparation time before we sat down to talk.
Well, and probably founded. I, I appreciate that. And it’s, it’s interesting, I mean, in some ways how seriously you, you took that, maybe that’ll be a theme that we come back to, because I’ll bet that seriousness has paid off and your teaching and your writing and, and I, I suspect we can come back to that in a bit.
So, speaking of teaching, are you, have you taught anything this past summer or in the middle of summer school or in the spring? What are, what are you teaching these days? Well, actually, uh, I’ve got a big surprise in that I have finally retired from, from teaching as of this year. Okay. So when, when was the last class?
My last class was in the fall teaching. I’m teaching of psychology. Okay, So you walked away for the last time in December then? Yeah, yeah, basically. Okay. And so, Wow. Yeah. Can perhaps mention does Thats both. Absolutely both. It’s a bittersweet moment brought on in part by the pandemic and all the travel opportunities that were lost, and we’d like more flexibility back.
Just yesterday, I booked a, a trip to to Europe for, uh, September, which obviously would not have been possible if I were, if I were teaching again in the, in the fall. So, uh, but it, it was, yeah, I mean, it’s like I justed off a huge part of my identity and it does feel very weird, very strange. Well, but it’s been, all of this is tentative, you know what I mean?
Hey, a year or two goes by, I get to spend a lot of time in Europe and maybe I’ll ask to get back into the classroom. Who knows? Oh, okay. Well, there’s, oh, there’s so much there to unpack. So first off, thanks for sharing that second, you know, so many. Book authors, I think keep their, what is it? Their foot in the pond?
Their finger in the dam. I don’t know what the analogy would be, because they’re revising their books. Even if they’re not in a classroom, they’re still reading psych. They’re revising, you know, they’re, they’re working on the revisions or the ancillaries. And so I suspect that if you’re retiring from teaching, you’re probably not retiring from authoring.
Oh, no, no, no, no. Yeah, So I mean, so you’re still gonna be connected in that way, which probably means you’re still going to conferences and giving talks. Conferences, Absolutely. Perhaps more than ever. Right. I mean, some of our colleagues in the last 10 years who have retired, and for our listeners, I’m doing air quotes, you know, retired to start doing more things in terms of projects, I’m thinking of, you know, People like the Drew Applebee’s of the world, you know, who, who retired and started writing more and wanted to be more task force.
This is, which is great, but you know, so yeah. You might have more time to do more thi more things in psych and obviously out of psych. Yeah. I wouldn’t be shocked. It worked out. Certainly seems to work out that way for a lot of other people. They, they seem to actually kick up their productivity in some respects.
So, Yeah. Who does? And I, we may get to it a little bit later, but do you enjoy teaching online or do you really just crave the face to face? I prefer face to face. I mean, I couldn’t have told you that until the last two years because I, I adapt plot online previously and we did it all over Zoom and it was fine, but I, I missed, I missed in person.
There’s just way more spontaneity, way more give and take. Yeah. And way more engagement on a part of the students. And I was gonna say, you know, if two years from now you’re hanking to get back in the c. You understand that you could teach an online intro psych for any college or university in the nation.
You get that right ? Well, I mean, geographically that may be true. I don’t know how many of them would have me, but, Oh, look at the point about geo geography being no longer being the barrier once was right. I mean, and I, I understand. I can’t speak for all institutions in the country. I guarantee you wanna teach an online intro psych at Boise State University.
Let’s see. A new adjunct instructor for all of $3,300 for 303 credit course. You know, I think that might be tip money on your trip to Europe. So Wayne will talk to you. Whenever you’re ready, . Well, but to back up, I, I did wanna elaborate a little bit on, on Yep, please. Cause I’ve taught Ed and, and the how different they are.
I’m really, I think that’s sort of what’s interesting in terms of my career trajectory. I taught it three. Radically in three radically different institutional settings. I mean, so I began my career in the Illinois community college system and, and that was bad. So that was like almost the first 20 years of my career and I enjoyed that immensely.
I mean, I don’t know today, I don’t know that people can appreciate it, but at that time, community colleges were brand new. I mean, there have been a handful of two year schools around the country, but this was a movement and people were passionate about it. And it was, it was a time and a place where there was a lot of innovation going on.
People were open to innovation. We were trying to sort of reinvent how to, to, to teach the first couple years of college. And, uh, it was, it was great fun. But that was one environ, you know. And then I moved on to Santa Clara University, Mount California, and, and that was a very elite private, I mean, I didn’t fully appreciate how elite selected they were until I got there, but their, their students were highly motivated, uniformly bright.
They almost scared me sometimes. They were so motivated, but I, I, I really loved that as well. I mean, it was, they had a really, really strong social justice, uh, kind of emphasis. My name is school, I think in large part because of the, the Jesuit connection. Sure. And I came to really adore and appreciate Jesuit’s contribution to education in our, in our country.
And so that was, you know, just a, a another radically different environment. And then starting in 2002, I came to U N L V, which is your classic flagship state university became an R one, you know, in the last decade or so. Very diverse student body. And there, of course, the, the char thing for me, I mean, Icontinue teaching intro and, and social.
At the undergraduate level, but I’m starting, like 17 years ago, I got to take over the teaching of psychology course with the grad students. So that, that was my first opportunity to work with PhD students, which again, was just a whole nother ballgame for me. And I found very gratifying and, and, and very interesting.
And so, yeah, so I’ve been teaching, that’s my main thing is teaching the, the teaching of psychology course since, I think it was 2004, maybe 2005, I’m not sure. So you had two 20 year careers. One at Dage, one at U N L V. And how long at Santa Clara? The nineties, basically, I think nine years.
Well, you okay, so I, I did the math wrong. You, because you, you haven’t been teaching for 49 years. 50 took a couple years off in there. I started 1972. Wait, you didn’t start teaching when you’re nine years old. Come on man. Well, That’s one of the, part of the upcoming story, . Okay. So I only got into teaching, but it, it did happen at a very abnormally early stage.
I just gotta wrap my head around 50. Yeah. If you’ve been doing it for 50 years and you’ve just stepped away, So did you know in the fall that that was your last semester teaching? I didn’t know going in, but as the semester wore on, I, I was thinking about it and a lot of it is pandemic related as the panda, you know, I kept thinking, you know, I, I pandemic is gonna peter out know that would be bad scenario, which with completely different implications with that hasn’t been the case.
And so, nah, it’s something I kind of made a decision on the fly last, last fall, but I, I was certainly thinking about it fourth fall, but by the end of the semester you, you had the notion that thi this is my last. For right now, my intention is this is my last semester in the classroom. Mm-hmm. . And, and did you, did you invite dear friends, did you invite your wife to come to your last lecture?
I mean, or, or did you just kind of go cold and just you did it like it was a regular day? No, I, Well, first of all, it was all on zoo . Oh. Oh. It wasn’t face to face. You didn’t advising anybody. Oh, shoot. And, no, no, I, I did not mention it to the class. I went and talked to the department chair, I don’t know, maybe a month or so, maybe six weeks before the end of the, uh, semester and, and, and let him know and, and asked him if I should say anything to the class and he said, Nah, let it go for now.
So, so I just, just let. Yeah. You know, it’s, it’s really a shame as much as you enjoyed face to face teaching, that you couldn’t go out that last semester, that last week, face to face that, Yeah, that’s true. Absolutely. Yeah. That, you know, whoever your, your best colleagues on campus were, or family members who could have been there, who could have sat in the back of the auditorium and just kind of been there for, you know, And, you know, I don’t know if your campus does this, but we occasionally have a last lecture series, you know, what would you tell students if you were giving your last lecture?
Mm-hmm. . And we’ll have either faculty members about to retire or who have retired, come back and give that, that, that would be fun to, to hear you give that. So I’ll try to talk you into that at some point in time. So you, you told me a little bit about your chronology academically. If you’ll permit me or maybe you won’t permit me, I don’t know, you’ll permit me to permit, permit me to go even further back.
So did mom and dad go to college when you were growing up? Was it, I, this is a question I ask all the time. Was it gonna be, what college are you gonna go to or was it gonna be, what college do you have siblings? Did they go to college? How much, whatever you’re willing to share, if anything there. Well, and like yourself, I grew up in Chicago area.
That’s, I’m re remembering correctly, right? Wow. Yes, I’m, I’m, I’m honored And like yourself, I had a downstate for college, so we’d have some similarities. In my case I grew up in, in Aurora, which is a, Sure, you know, when I was a kid was like a city of about 65,000 that really didn’t consider it itself suburb quite yet of Chicago.
But, The suburbs grew out and, and, and swallowed it up. So there, it certainly is a suburb. Now, my father was a carpenter. My mother was a homemaker. No college for either one of them. In fact, my father had to drop out of high school after a sophomore year to, to help out with the finances. He came from a family of 13 children and they, they all needed a work.
As soon as they were capable of that four, it links to brothers, two sisters. That’s what the question about. Is it, was it a question of, of whether I’ll go to college or which college it’ll be? It was, there was never any question I wanted to go to co. Okay. But there was no expectation of that whatsoever in our household.
And, and really no way to finance it really. So the question I faced was, how the heck am I going to go to college? Mm-hmm. , am I gonna get anybody to accept me? Cuz I knew nothing about the process And how in God’s name will, will I ever pay for? So, so that was my situations. I came, I came from the most wholesome, loving, supportive family on the planet.
So there this, I’ve nothing to, to, you know, gripe about in regard whatsoever, but college was born to them. And so I was a true first gen student who had too, how to navigate that. And, and I just sort of did it by the, the seat of my pants. Now what the, the big break for me was like, you’re, I’m sure familiar with this, coming from Illinois, I ended up getting an Illinois State scholarship, which as you know, it’s not that exclusive by any means.
No big deal. I didn’t know they existed until it showed up in my mailbox, you know what mailbox, And I got this thing says it’ll pay for my tuition up to X number of dollars or something. And I, I, I guess it was kind of need based. So it was, it was, it actually covered all tuition at, at the private school that I went to.
Wow. And so that’s how I, I, I managed to swing it. Was it, it’s been happened that Illinois State Scholarship. I don’t know what I, I would’ve done. So Wayne in five siblings altogether. Where were you in the birth order? I was the oldest. Wow. You’re the oldest. So obviously, Well, I shouldn’t say obviously first to go to college.
Yes. Yeah. Of the five I like. So there wasn’t any pressure to go to college in this environment. I only have one sibling who, who went on and got a, a college degree. They’re all, they’re all very bright. I mean, breezed through college, right? Uh, yeah. I mean, we both know plenty of people, Very bright who, who go on for fantastic careers who don’t have to go to college, both back then and today, right?
Mm-hmm. . Absolutely. What, what’s the age gap between. You and the other four, if you don’t mind. We have about four year interval, roughly until, until my youngest sister, so Gotcha. 17 years total between myself and my youngest sister. Gotcha. Okay. All right. When you were, did you just apply to one college to go to, or did you apply to a, a bunch of private schools in Illinois?
I didn’t have enough. I’m naive. I knew nothing. Okay. No, no. I just appli to brand and to U of I. The U of I scared me. It was, it was just too, too large, too. No, I’m not trying to compliment myself, but in some really phenomenal ways. Our paths are pretty parallel. I applied two schools, one private and the U of I, so mine was Monmouth College and not Brad, Liberal Arts and U of I.
When you went, when you got to Bradley, did you start off majoring in psychology or what’s the story there? No, I, I went to Bradley thinking I wanted to be an attorney thinking had to be and go to law school. Not sure why I thought I wanted to go to law school. I don’t remember really any motivation, but again, I, I just working for total naivete, so that sounded a good theory.
And so I, I was planning on pre-law and, and political science. I, I was kind of political at the top and freshman year I had introduction to political science and Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Political Science had a very, and they both occurred in the exact same theater like room that held about two 50 freshmen.
But both the courses did and, and the inter intro to political science had a very charismatic instructor. Was very, very lively and the course boarded me into tears, . I mean, he was interesting, but the subject matter, God did it boring, whereas was psychology. I mean, it was teen taught by the entire department, saw that the instructors were very charismatic and some were not.
And the book I I learned later was, it was Kendler Power Kendler, which was a good, solid, reputable book, but dry as hell. And yet, in spite of those disadvantages, I loved psychology. I just found it fascinating. And so at the end of the year, I switched from pre-law, political science to pre-law psychology.
I’m still planning to go to law school. And then at the end of junior year, I happened to pick up something in a bookstore, randomly a book called The Lawyers. And I now know it was really a hatch, a job, legal profession, but it was a really horribly negative profile of, of law as a profession. I decided they were all unethical and I wanted nothing to
I did what if fuck could, you know? I mean, if I had, you’re being too hard on yourself, but it’s your story. I’ll, I’ll let you tell it. So anyway, I decided, forget law school. And so then I decided I’d, I’d go on in, Its like the, the Howard Kendler book. I think I’ve seen it, but it it’s like a tomb, right? I mean it’s, it’s all text.
No, no photos. No. I mean it’s like a, it’s almost like a history of psychology type textbook. Yeah. The very lifestyle. Yeah. Remember. But that’s interesting. The power of the instructors bringing it to life and Wow. The department team teaching it. I’ve heard of that model where everybody comes in and does two weeks on their day.
Yeah. And that’s a, that’s a tough model. Yeah, I think they abandoned it like 4, 5, 6 years later. I, yeah, I, I, I can get it. So, so grad, did you graduate with the double major? No, no, Just, just psychology. Okay. And did you get excited about research as an undergrad at Bradley? Did you, did you go to mpa? Did you, were you involved in psych?
What kind of, what kinda undergrad were you? Well, you know, I mean, I got into psych actually. I really spread things around. I mean, I really, what I liked about Bradley was it was big enough that you were still meeting people, like when you’re still a senior, but, but small enough that you could, you could experiment with a lot of different things.
So, I mean, I didn’t just focus in a narrow way on, on psychology. Mm-hmm. . One year I did the debate team. One year I wrote for the newspaper. Throughout my stay there, I was on the radio station doing music shows and. I became news and sports director and, and did play by play Bradley basketball on the radio.
That sucks. Which, and well, here’s the cool part. My mentor, a student who was a year ahead of me, went on to fame and fortune as, as a, as a sports broadcaster. He, uh, went out to become a voice of the Yankees in the Voice of the Dodgers. You believe that? Wow. You’re not talking about had a big sportscaster where quickly dashed by the fact that he was 10 times as good as I was.
You’re not talking about Vin Scully? No, no, no. Char Steiner. Oh, okay. I’ve, I know that name. Radio. Radio. Voice of the Yankees. He got a, a 10 or 15 year career at es, espn You still the voice of the radio? Voice of the Dodges. Wow. You know, Wayne? Yeah. Cause I got to do a lot of different things and, and so No, we, I don’t recall.
There were a couple faculty, I think who took people that to MPA for Bradley, but not anyone that I was working with, or at least not at that time. So I did not go as an undergrad. To any conferences. I did get started my senior year with Claire Reta getting involved in, in, in research, and that was kind of a little late in terms of the, uh, the grad school application process.
So did you take a gap year or did you know you wanted to go to grad school? Did you get a, get a, a real job as some people say? What, what, what happened after you graduated? Well, almost got a gap here, not intentionally. Again, the naivete comes in into a play and then this, this story’s gonna lead into how I ended up getting into teaching very prematurely.
I decided, wanna go to grad school, wanted to go get a PhD, but did not consult the faculty even though there were several that I was pretty close to. I don’t know what I was thinking. I only applied to two schools. Not at all factoring in that those schools might have lots of stellar applicants who might be a better fit, you know, in terms of research interest than I might be.
And I got rejected by Boo. Okay? And so I’m sitting there going, Oh my God. Now the way I got through high school was, was being a line cook at Mr. Steak. I was thinking, I’m back to Mr. Steak a line weight unknown talents. If you ever need someone who can grill 30 steaks at once, I’m your man. Hey opera. So anyway, I was devastated cuz I had no plan B.
No plan B whatsoever. So, you know, I applied two schools, excellent schools on my day. I wasn’t thinking about safety. School wasn’t thinking both far away too there. There’s no way on earth I had the money to move to these places. I mean, this was like the worst plan in history. up revs reflecting on this the other day.
I am seriously introverted and I’m gonna move across the country to some place where I know no one, I mean, I don’t, but, but maybe that’s the introverts dream, right? You know, no one there, so no one will talk to you. All right. I guess that might have worked. So anyway, I, I was devastated when, when these, these two wonderful institutions declined my interest in joining their PhD program.
So I went to, to clarity talk, who I’ve been working on some research with, explain to her. And she, she said, Well, you know what, We have a master’s program, but you know, I did it and said, We certainly haven’t built all our spots. We could certainly take you into our master’s program. And I said, Deal . I explain.
And so that’s how I ended up pursuing an MA at, at Bradley. And so, so Claire, but Claire ha, knowing that you were, her student hadn’t talked to you about, I mean, just didn’t do the natural mentoring thing. Hey, where are you applying? I had spread myself out too thinly. I mean, I, My first real exposure to Claire was senior year.
God, I had really worked more with other people and Okay. And it was my fault, but I didn’t go and, and talk to them. But I, I had several people that I thought I was, that I was close to, but I foolishly did not consult them well, Okay, so, boy, wait. Now here’s where I get myself in trouble. I, I shouldn’t really argue with you or try to correct you.
I, I don’t, I don’t think it was foolish. I just think you are first gen college student. It’s not that you foolishly made an error. You just, you just didn’t know what to do. Well, no, that’s true. And a lot of it was naive day. I’ll grant them, although they’re not going to talk to people that I’m friendly with and who had expertise was stupid.
That part, that part was stupid. But it’s, But that hindsight, But wait, that hindsight’s 2020 though, right? All right. True. True. I mean, when you’re, when you’re in it, it, it’s hard to know what to do perfectly, but it, it is your story. You know, when I hear Bill Mcgi say things like, I was just lucky. It’s like, Bill, you’ve worked your butt off for 60 years.
You know, Implications didn’t fall into your lap by accident. You know? It wasn’t just luck. I mean, anyway, I’ll stop. So, so you, you were on the route to telling me how you got into teaching, how you got into higher ed. Well, yeah, and it doesn’t take, Look, it only takes a month from the . It’s a really weird story.
So come fall, I started in the master’s program at Brad and one month, or maybe six weeks into the semester, there’s a nearby community college called Illinois Central College. And, uh, they call up the apartment head and insight and they explain to ’em that we just promoted one of our psych faculty into an administrative position.
Just got the promotion literally yesterday. And he needs to drop two of his sections of intro site out of the five of, he’s teaching. I mean, he not dropping ’em all at once, but he, he needs to drop through his sections and there’re daytime sections so they’re not a lot of people floating around who can pick up daytime sections in the, in the middle of a semester.
Do you have anybody among your graduate students who could perhaps come in and pick up these two sections of intro, introduction to psychology and, uh, the department chair. Put little note my box, come see me. And he, he told him, he said, Yes. I think I’ve got someone I can say. So at that point you don’t have your master’s yet?
I’ve only got one month to grad school. , maybe six weeks. I don’t recall exactly. So are you 22 years old? Not yet. Well, I don’t know. I don’t remember exactly when it was. I, I turned 22 in late September, so I might have been 21 my or 21 year old With your bachelor’s degree teaching two sections of intro psych on one weekend’s notice, but I know, I know, I know.
It was a little crazy. Isn’t this a Netflix horror flick? , Oh my gosh. What not to do to a, Here’s why not a Netflix ho flick. So I, it’s why on one weekend morning I went in the following Tuesday and I just scramble all weekend to create lectures out of, out of nowhere, out of nothing. Using two intro psych books that I could find around, you know, from all my various roommates.
So I had the one that I had that had one othered, somebody else had, and I pieced together lectures and I was only staying like a day ahead of the, the class. Yep. But I, I walked into that classroom and it was joy from the first moment. It was just like, this is so much fun. I mean, I, I found out that I’d really loved.
Looking into all this stuff and figuring out how to organize it and explain it and, and make sense out of it, and come up with concrete examples and just, just even creating the lectures. I just arrived on that and then when I got in the classroom, I, I just enjoyed it so much. It was, it was like a revelatory experience where, I mean, two weeks into the semester, right, or two weeks into my teaching, I’m going, This is wild.
Do God, I love this. All right, so where did that come from? This is the young man who didn’t know anything about college systems or graduate school processes who all of a sudden finds his calling that’s gonna follow him for 50 years. Where does Dr. Whiten, where does that come from? Well, I sat through a lot of classes,
Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you’re, Have joy in doing it yourself on 48 hours notice. No, no. That was a surprise. I, I, I didn’t anticipate that, obviously. I said yes because wow, I could use money true. And, and, uh, I said yes, because yeah, I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure out a way to make this happen. And what I didn’t anticipate was just the sheer joy that I experienced in, in doing it, saying, doing it did competently or for like, competently invest.
But, but I sure found it to be fun. Well, that’s questions don’t, don’t wait. All do that. I mean, I’ve told this story on other recordings. You know, my first time teaching Intro Psych, I found the very best textbook I thought was available at the time, and I did not adopt it for my class. I kept it from my lecture notes and then I adopted some other book for them.
But I kept the best clearest book for myself. I am not kidding. I am not making that up. That is absolute truth. , I have not heard that one. All right. That’s, that’s fascinating. And that, that, that may be borderline ethical violation. I don’t know. But that, that is the truth. So, so you were, you were hooked from almost day one, if not day one.
Yeah. Kind of. And it, it just came outta nowhere. Well, do you have any recollection of what year that was? Well, 1972. Fall of 72. 72. Well, damn, you’re right. You’re, you’re a semester short of 50 years, aren’t you? Or you’re a semester more than 50 years. I’d have to, No, I’m not going then on back and check for sure.
But it’s, it’s right around 50 years. Yeah. 72 to 22 is is 50 years. My goodness. So was it the newness of teaching that drew you to STP and cited for teaching of psychology? All right. TP was, that all came from Mac. So you wanna talk about, may not have any idea Mac. Pardon me? You wanna talk about books first or Mac top?
Well, alright, actually I did get whooped done before I get it booked on Mac top. So let me back up, Let me backhoe. Okay. So, Cause I guess, I guess the end of this story is, this is sort of how I ended up in the community college system. Instead of going directly in for PhD, I, I, I taught all that year at Illinois Central College and I loved it and I made clear to them that I was interested in a opening.
If they had one, they, they. Took a while to figure that out. So I also applied to another college, another central Illinois community college, Lincoln Lab Community College Oh, sure. In school. And I, I had no idea if I’d be able to get a job, so I also did apply for PhD programs. At this time I was a little more crappy.
And, uh, And you were earning your master’s along the way. True, true. And so, uh, I got PhD programs and the one I was going to go to if I did not get a job was Washington University in, in St. Louis. Awesome. Yeah. That, that would’ve been, And I often reflect on wow, how things might have been different to my head, but, uh, but I did, uh, I did land a job at, at eventually in both Lake Land and, and Illinois Central teaching positions.
And I went with Lincoln Land because they. Offered 50% higher salary, which was only $12,000 when you calculate what, what ICC was. So, uh, I went on to Springfield for two years and taught at Lincoln Land. So that was my first fulltime experiences as a community college. And what, what’s Lincoln Land called today?
I think it’s still Lincoln Land. Is it really? Oh, okay. I think so. I think so. It’s down in the, it’s in the Springfield area down by Lake Springfield and all these places. That’s the interesting thing about being a community colleges back, though, they were all just building out their campus. Right. Forgot it ly When I first showed up, we were in Quo huts where sometimes people broke through the floor.
This, it was, you know, rotting away. Wow. It was so cheaply made. But, but, you know, second semester we moved into a really nice campus and I enjoyed the two years there. Problem was, there was no way to, to pursue a PhD while, you know, in Springfield. So, uh, so then I started looking around for a community college in Chicago and I managed, after two years at Lincoln Land, I managed to, to land that, that college page.
So that allowed me, So you started at DuPage and you worked on your PhD at the same time? Yes. I started at DuPage in 75. And then I, I, I didn’t even go through the normal application process. I just like, well, I guess about, I don’t know. I reached out to, All right, so there were six PhD programs in Chicago, but the three of them were too far to drive.
I mean, there was just no on, but you know Chicago, right? There’s no way I was gonna do Western suburbs working full time and do Northwestern. That was just physical impossibility. So I reached out to DePaul and University of Illinois, Chicago and acquired it, you know, set them my information and acquired whether they might be willing to allow me to continue teaching full-time into page and, you know, go through their PhD program.
And then they both said yes, amazingly so. So I ended up at, uh, University of. U iic, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle at the time. Yeah. Oh, circle. Yeah. Okay. Gotcha. So, so that’s, that’s why I couldn’t figure out the math earlier that that’s why I was shocked at 50 years. Yeah. You did masters and doctoral work the same time you were teaching.
Your teaching career was going on the same time as you’re, as you’re gaining your education. Mm-hmm. . So does that, does that help explain why you’ve been so prolific as a writer? You’ve always multitasked Well, it certainly hasn’t heard, I’m sure. Yeah. And I know other people I didn’t. A lower team, Alana Walls in the air.
Yeah, that’s no idea. I think back now, it’s crazy. I mean a full-time load of committed college, 15 hours, and I actually taught an overload every semester. So I was actually doing 20 hours. Of course you did. And, and worked on the PhD at the same time. So, and you probably did a few extra projects here and there for faculty members because you wanted to have some extra research exposure or because somebody asked you and you were eager and you made the time because that’s who you were.
Faculty members figured out who they get count on. I wouldn’t be surprised.
I’m sorry, Wayne, I’m just to, I I, I just have to interject. I had massive thank you to, to Harry Upshaw at the University of Illinois who was willing to, to take me on. He, apparently there was self pushback. I learned like two years into the program. Harpen wasn’t entirely keen near doing this, but, uh, one of the young faculty had shared this with me later, but the Harriet, that a former head of the department and he, his, his.
He’s caught, but it’s carried a lot away. And so then he decided to, to let me try, but I think they tell graduate students, We prefer you not have a full-time job. They want your graduate work to be your full-time job. Right? Yes, of course. And I, I get that. And, but at the same time that you did it and did it successfully, you know, post HOK confirmed his confidence in you that you could do it and you didn’t let them down.
And, and probably you probably paved the way for the next student who came along and said, I wanna work full time while attending this program. Well, that Wayne Whiten guy did it. You probably can too. We’ll give ’em a chance. Let’s give her a chance or whatever. Absolutely. So, and I, I’ve, I’ve kind of.
Either asked you in dinner conversation or in writing or in email correspondence, you started doing research about intro psych, and I know we’re gonna talk about textbooks at some point, and this kind of gets us there a little bit. So you, you wrote some really cool stuff late eighties, early nineties, and you had a, what I think still to this day is an influential textbook chapter with Randall White about intro site textbooks.
When you started doing that research, were you like, I’m just interested in this topic cuz I teach the class, I wanna know, Or was it, I have an idea to write a textbook and this is gonna be a good foundation? Or was it just serendipitous or do you remember the timeline or how that came together? Yeah, I, I could, I can answer the question easily for stop.
I don’t know why. Not quite sure how to explain this, but from the moment I got involved in teaching, I became a shameless fanboy of textbooks. I just, you know, when I learned that they would roll in for free and before the white people throw, go to FPA and just say 70, that one, that one, and that one good be was just like, Whoa.
Like, God, this is so cool. And so I ordered everything. I taught everything so I could under everything. And I, so I was just a hopeless man, boy, for, for textbooks, a new, a new textbook and rolled in, you know, come in via a mail and, and a show up in the mailbox. And I’d, I’d just, I’d savor it, I’d study it, I’d look it over.
I mean, then I’d, and I’d find a, a wonderful place on my bookshelf or it’s, I’d go back to it. I mean, I just, I just had this thing for textbooks. I don’t know why. . And so I was always interested in ’em. And so it was a, it’s just an interest in textbooks that, that drove the, the interest in doing some research on textbooks and getting into authorship, kind of, sort of made that research peter out because it sort of felt a little weird.
Well, I understand that. I mean, someone, I mean, first off, you’re gonna get criticized no matter what, so we know that. But yeah, so could have come along and said, Well, you’re doing the research to further your textbook. Well you, you’re also publishing that research. Anybody can come along and use it for their textbook.
It’s not like you kept it proprietary. It, it’s interesting that you, you fanboy geek out on books. Were there, were there books at that time that you remember, either intro psych or others that you just really went, Oh my gosh, this is really, this really hit home with my students, or, Really hit home with me in graduate school or are there any standouts for you?
I wouldn’t even know where to start if I start reminiscing. Okay. About textbooks that I loved. I mean, and you know, our, the rest of the interview, our, our, our listeners can’t see this, but, you know, I’m presuming Wayne’s in his home office and he’s sitting in front of a bunch of fake books, a fake bookshelf with hundreds of books behind him.
You know, these fake things you can buy from Amazon where they’re, they’re just cardboard cutouts. I, I think he does love his books. He’s probably got dozens of those bookshelves throughout the house and the, and the in the home. So your interest I textbook was not the first textbook that you wrote, is that correct?
That is correct. So can you tell our listeners about the Psychology of Adjustment? I can’t, I think it’s, it’s another sort of cute story. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s just like a teaching thing. It’s just weird how I, I, I got into the, the writing. So I’m teaching at DuPage and I’ve been teaching the adjustment course now for five years, since 1978.
And the back of those days, sales reps were all around the campuses of schools, vastly more so than today, and vastly more of them because there were 20 publishers publishing in, in psychology at that time. And so this gentleman comes in from West Publishing sales rep 1978. And not a lot of my colleagues didn’t really like talking to the sales reps.
They, they thought it was a real pain of the play. But being the textbook fan boy that I was, I talked to them all day. They just sent me more books, you know, , So, so I’ve welcomed them with open arms and that was so unusual. So they kinda like that. So anyway, this rep was selling a new adjustment textbook.
And so he went through his spiel about how this is gonna be a great adjustment textbook. And I, I’m sure I told him something like, Well, I’ll certainly take a look at it. But what I watched is what probably was a 6, 7, 8 minute monologue. What is wrong with all the adjustment textbooks that are out there today is, I mean, I looked and studied all 20 or 25 of them, and I had problems with each and every one.
And that was of course, you were already teaching. Yeah, I, I was, That’s, that was the first course I was hired to teach at Lincoln Land. Was, was adjustment. That’s, they wanted somebody to cover adjustment and then of course they did intro as well. And Wayne, is that your specialty area? Well, it’s not really, it’s really like calling intro your specialty area, but, but I, I was willing to teach it.
I, I’d had the course as an undergrad, really good version of the course, and I felt comfy with it. And so yeah, I sold myself as being able to teach adjustment at I at Lincoln Land. And then when I moved out the page, they had the course and although they brought me in, they, they were trying to cover child development at that time, which I, I taught to them a lot.
I also picked up the adjustment. Okay. And I to teaching it for five years and had some very strong opinions on, on, on the books, which I, I thought were collectively getting dated and too easy and too soft. And, and I could go on and on, but again, that would bore everyone into obl. But anyway, so I, I do this like monologue about the adjustment textbooks and this, this rep looks at me and, and says something to the effect.
I, I don’t, can’t say, I remember precisely who says, If you’re that unhappy with all the books out there, realize you can write your own. And there it is done to hear those words. I mean, it just utterly, utterly, utterly stunned. The thought had not really ever occurred to me. I I, I probably looked at him like there were tentacles growing out of his head all of a sudden or something.
I mean, I was that surprised. And Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait a minute. Wait. A, I mean, I said look, I, I thought that writing textbooks was the privilege of, of successful professors who first of all have their PhD, unlike me, , and secondly are teaching at, at prestigious institutions and, and have years of experience.
You’re telling me that I could write a book and, and you wouldn’t throw it out just immediately, and his response was, Well, you know what I mean? You’re mostly like, I mean, most textbook authors are, are, you know, that prestigious for your schools and Yeah. A lot of ’em are, are very accomplished researchers.
But, but we have published people out of community colleges and we’ve had some successful books that way. And so it is possible, or what Wow. Okay. That, that’s giving me food for thought. And Oh, I web Paul and started working on it. Oh, did he? The best that you write for him, for his company? Well, he suggested they would certainly be interest.
Okay. All right. So, uh, I started researching how you go about that. I managed to find a couple of books. They were written on how to write a textbook. Cause I had no one to really talk to about it. So I, I read about it and, and then got to work on it. And over the next six to eight months I said, Yeah, I’ll write an adjustment textbook.
Sounds like fun. . So I, over the next six to eight months, I, I put together a prospectus and I wrote two sample chapters as they said you should do. And, uh, and then I, you know, compiled a list of five publishers to send it to. And I compile the second list of five because I assumed, you know, I thought it was like journal articles.
I thought the projection rate would be 90%. And, uh, so I assumed, uh, you know, Very high probability, no one would be interested. And so I set off this package to, uh, five publishers that I thought might be able to use, uh, an adjustment textbook and with not a lot and the way of high expectations, I, I might add.
And again, the surprise, surprise, you just never know what, what’s gonna happen. But all five quickly got back to me expressing an interest in, in publishing it. And I’m assuming West was one of those five that you sent it to. Yeah, West was one of the, yeah. So this may be jumping ahead way too far, Wayne. Is there ever a point in your life that you could identify where you overcame your imposter phenomenon?
No, I’m still going through it like everybody else. Oh man. I was hoping you had an epiphany moment. I’m sorry. Because wouldn’t that been it? You sent off to five, You’ve got a back, So I mean, The, the Humili the Humility Award of the year. You’ve got it right. I mean, no one’s, no one’s gonna No, I, I, I disagree with all due respect, you’re wrong.
Right. You’ve prepared this prospectus. You, you’ve never done it before in your life. You find two books. How, Okay, How adorable is that Really What you, 1979, what is it? You find two books on how to write a book. You write a prospectus, you send it off, and five publishers tell you they’re interested. That wouldn’t happen today.
It, it might not even happen to you with your name, other story, But what’s that? That would not happen today. And I, I, that’s something I wanna discuss later, but Yeah. But oh my gosh. You would, you would think that after that your imposter phenomenon would at least have, or a syndrome would’ve started to fade a little bit.
But it, it took hell. I still wouldn’t have a PhD. My God. But it was pretty clear you didn’t need it . Would, would it have gotten you a better contract or a better deal? I have no idea. I, but did, did you sign with West? No. So I had the luxury, obviously since all five of them wanted, and I had the luxury of, of, you know, being selective and talking to each one of them at length about, about, you know, how I would fit in with our other adjustment books and, you know, and I, I figured out, but the thing to do is grill ’em on how excited they are about the book and, and how much they’re gonna, you know, kind of put into it so forth.
And we finished maybe third out of the, the, the buy the, the last two were books. Cole and Addison Wesley. Yeah. I haven’t heard those names in a while. Yeah, those, I know they don’t even exist. They’ve all been folded into, into, on, you know, international conglomerates. Right. But, so those were my final two. I really love both editors, but I especially love the editor from Brooks School at Brooks Call.
Yeah. Yeah. And who did they become? Thompson. They did, Yes. They, in Brooks, Cole and Wadsworth were sister companies. And then they finally began to sort of, and back at this time they competed and they competed still through the 1980s the editorial departments did. But, but then when Thompson bought the two of them, they, they, they try to combine them and started buying up other companies like Southwestern.
And so Thompson is one that really into a conglomerate. And then Thompson, of course, sold off to solve a leverage buyout firm that, that set, it renewed the Cengage. And of course they, they ended up bankrupts. That was a whole other store. So, but now, now the adjustment book is under the sun gauge banner.
Yes. Yes. Going into its 13th edition. Th that’s a leg. That’s a legacy right there. I mean, getting a book, first off, getting the book published is amazing. Getting into its second edition. Is a real accomplishment, but 13 is an unheard of Seriously, Yet, yet at the top. I thought just getting it written would be an accomplishment.
Well, yeah. Yes, exactly right. But I mean, after I signed a contract, I’m going, What the hell were you thinking that had committed? I, Because what written? Well, okay, yeah, sorry. On a time, even in my world, I’ve had that experience where you think the hard works, the prospectus and then you go, Oh, now I gotta write the damn thing.
But yeah, no, it, it went on to, to be, you know, obviously pretty successful. And, and now it’s going into its 13th edition with two marvelous co-authors and the persons of Bob, Dana, Don and Elizabeth Hammer. And so I think it has a very, very bright future and hopefully it’ll see 20 editions. We’ll see. What else?
That, that, that is awesome. That is awesome. So, Was there something specific you wanted to share that what you learned from that? You know, just maybe a, a brief o to, to the editor signed me, Claire . I mean, she, she took me under her arm, so to speak, and really taught me about, about a pushing was it was, it was, Oh, so enlightening.
I mean, she, she, she was an older, in comparison to me anyway, older, late, well, in comparison to all the other editors, like her fellow editors, Bri Cole called her mother publisher. She was crossing her late fifties and she kind of adopted me. And every year at MPA and mpa, he would have flag Pete dinners where I would just just grill her for information on, on the craft of publishing, textbook publishing in particular.
And I got an incredible education. She was just a, a darling to do that probably, you know, probably did some of a disservice to her employer in terms of all the things she, she shared with me. But she was just a wonderful woman to go line, deeply indebted. And for, for educating me on, on the intricacies and dynamics of textbook coalition.
How does, so does this success kind of lead you to start thinking about an IntroPsych venture? How does Mac Top fit in, Does STP start to come into play? I know I’ve heard a themes and variations story from Jane Hall, and I think I’ve heard it from you over dinner, but I, I’d love at some point for you to fit that into our conversation as well.
Oh, absolutely. Well, let’s, let’s talk Macta cause that, that’s, that’s something else that deserves. It’s, it’s, it’s, uh, yes. Recognition. Cause that is how I get started with, with stp. Mac Top was the Mid America Conference for Teachers of Psychology. Founded, I think in like 1984 by Joe Palladino at University of Southern Indiana in Adamsville.
And I did not attend the first year, but second year I, I definitely headed down in, I think 80. Five that would’ve been, and again, it was, I’m overusing this word, but it was, it was a kind of a revelatory experience coming together with all these faculty who were so passionate about teaching. I mean, I, I had a lot of colleagues at Dage who passionate too, but we were small group.
This is, you know, 80, 90 people getting together that, that are just so hardworking, so dedicated, so creative. And so Paulino, I think really, I know, deserves a lot of credit for, for putting that together. And it became a model. These, these conferences based started popping up all over the country. And so he, he created that model and, and, and deserves credit for that.
But in terms of how that translated into stp, it brought me together on an annual basis with a incredible array of people who were already active in stp or who soon became active. That’s right. Well, it wasn’t even STP then. I should have, but in division two of Ava, So for instance, at at Mac Top is the first place that I met Charles Brewer, Randy Smith, Steve Davis, Barney vs.
Janet Matthews. And they were already officers of, of, or admin officers of of, of division two. It’s also where I met for the first time, Jane Alanon, Bill Hill, Drew, Apple, B Ruth, Alt, Tom Puit, Terry, Bill, Addison. I mean the list goes on and on and on. So as you can well imagine, sooner or later, they wrote me into getting involved with, with, with division two, which I proved to be a, a wonderful decision on my part cuz I, that again proved to be something that really enhanced Micro as a, as an academic and as a, as an instructor.
So it all around at Macta in terms of getting involved with what we now call tb. All right. Where were, were you incubating, but, so were you incubating ideas for Intro Psych? I, I’ve been told a couple times. A famous or infamous story, you and Ruth Alt, having a conversation about themes and variations that comes out of Mac top.
Yes. Yes, it did. It did. All right, let’s all, I keep backtracking on you. I wanna make sure we, we hit all the, the, It does have to be in chronological order. Well, one thing I wanted mention, you inquired about the research and I had quite finished. Right. That was another surprise. So that 1988 article, what we did, mm-hmm.
is I to page and undergrads and I was working with, we, we looked at 43 textbooks, like 29 checked features of those textbooks. Some were simple, like, you know, how many authors it has, what addition it’s in, stuff like that. Others really require a lot of paid taking. You know, how many references per chapter, What is, what is the overall recency of those references?
We even calculated manuscript length in words age, such a indicator of, of the length of the book. Mm-hmm. and, and then we used those to predict professors perceptions of those 43 books in terms of how, what level they were, how scholarly they were, pass engaged student into stuff like that. And so that, I began that back in like 85, 86.
It didn’t come out until 88, but that ended up triggering apparently a cascade of research of that. Ill, I got one of those in there in 93. I hope I’m quoting a reasonably accurately. Years later, I was talking to Rich Griggs and, and. He said that 88 article is what, what got him going? He said, I looked at your 88 article and I saw 48 or 50 future articles, which he proceeded to crank out.
So he, he single handedly almost turned it into a, uh, whole line research. So I, I did not see that coming. But, uh, so that, but it was all, it was not really motivated by, I’m trying to figure out what I’m gonna do with my next book. I mean, it was right, it was really relevant, but I didn’t really think I’d come up with anything that practical.
And to be honest, I didn’t, It was more just the, the geek in me wanting to know about what seems to work for textbooks, but, but it, or what affects for, you know, it should, should have yielded more of useful information. But it, it didn’t really well, but wait. And also hearing you tell your story about how you fanboy out about textbooks, that puts it all in context.
I mean, this research gave me an excuse to gather 43 books together. I mean, I mean, that really kind of puts it into context. Yeah, it, it did allow me to get the most recent edition of everything. Right. You’re writing all these publishers. May I, may I please, May I please have your most recent edition of all your intro psych
will not be returned. Sincerely, Wayne White. Yeah. That was a little self theft. . It wasn’t, Theft was not theft at all. You, you told him what you were using it for? Yeah. And so were you presenting that at Mac Top? I presented at apa. I don’t remember if I presented that at Mac Top. I don’t know. May or may not have.
Not sure, but Oh, you mentioned the, the chapter that, the history chapter that I did co-authored with Randall. White. Yes. That, that was fun. That was, and that was so much fun. That’s huge. And Randall, Randall really did the, the hard work here. He did the early stuff, the first four decades or so, I would’ve known nothing about that stuff, but it was just fascinated learn about the early texts written by John Dewey, William James and Edward Tipner and Woodworth and Floyd grew and so forth.
So that, that was fun. That was a lot of fun. And so I got kicked outta that article and I guess the comment I’d make on that one was I wish someone would go back and update that only it was a three up through the 1980s. So we were so close to the 1980s. We really didn’t those anything about the 1980s.
So really only goes up through the 1970s. So there’s, there’s 50 years at net gone by since then. And, and so if there are any other fanboy out there who, who think that’s how’s intriguing, I think that’s something that would be really interesting to, to look at. I actually know two guys who are working on updating that as we speak.
No way. Yeah. I don’t, I don’t mean to be coy, but you’re talking to one of ’em. Yeah. We, we should talk off microphone sometime. All right. That’s cool. Yeah. You know the other one too. Great idea. I think it’s time. I think it’s time. Yeah. Yeah. The other one’s last name rhymes with guru. I’ll just say it that way.
Oh, I, I got pretty good bug of the other one was, Yeah, we need a project from time to time, so No. You know. Right. I know you guys, Chris, Well, we, we, we went together that nothing going on. Nothing. The excuse . So did, when you had, was it when you identified themes and variations had, because you’d done the analysis, had you not seen that in IntroPsych text before or how did that come about?
Okay. No, no one was using that. No one was, was working with that, although, That was not my initial plan for, for intro site. So after I did the adjustment book and that came out, it worked out really well. You know, that one was motivated basically by my complete dissatisfaction with what was out there. And I wanted, I thought I could build a better mouse trap that wasn’t true for intro and that was a different kind of motivation.
I actually, you know, so I, I did the one book, It was clear that there was gonna be another book in my future. The question was what? I went back and forth from social and intro, but I’m still, you know, in a community college environment. So you, you don’t have the sort of, the authority to, to write just any book.
It’s gotta be something that’s taught in your, in your realm. I keep interrupting you. How did you know it was clear there was gonna be another book in your future. Well, just cause I enjoyed it so much. Okay. I knew I’d write another one, . Okay. All right. So I, so in this case, It was more, uh, Brook’s Cole came to me and, and, and there was some back and forth about which way was better to go, but, but the, their editor from intro site really wanted me to do the, the intro book.
And so here, I can’t look you in the eye and tell you that I thought I could build a better mouse strap. Right. I, I guess I thought I could build a better one than Brooks Call had competing in the market. They’re, they’re leaving and, and they were, they were eager for that. They had had a track record of, of unsuccessful entries in, in intro side.
Who was the editor? Do you remember who signed you? Oh, absolutely. Remains a very close friend to this day. C Deborah Lawton was her name, and I don’t, I don’t think I knew her, but the name sounds familiar. Would, would she have attended MPAs back in the nineties? Oh yeah. Yeah. Okay. That’s probably where, and yep.
And you might not wanna go here. What would’ve been the leading Brooks Cole book? At the time that you aimed to replace? Well, they had rights men that, that hadn’t worked out. They had a, a little bit of success with, with Laron swab, but then it, in the second edition, it if, Okay, it just did, had no legs.
They had it put by John r r u c h. It actually, it was excellent. It was a superb book, but for some reason it was a marketing failure that went, that went nowhere. That’s, that’s not the same R as in R and Zimbardo, is it? No, no. Same spelling. Okay. That person was Floyd Ru. Who spelled it? R c h. Thank you. Yes, of course.
Yeah. He pioneered, he was the first person to write an introduction to psychology. Tried, intentionally, tried to make it interesting. In 1937, I actually have one of those later. Additions that my older brothers used in college. I, I have a Ru and Zimbardo book. Wow. Where Zimbardo’s not the first author yet.
Treasure. That’s because they, they flipped at one point. They did in the, in the sixties. They, Oh my god. Where was retired by that? I mean, not, You are a fanboy. Oh, I am, I’m sorry. I keep interrupting you. So you, you were talking about the research. I’m sorry. Yeah. The, And you were getting to themes and variations, getting to where the thes came from.
So, so anyway, so we, c d signed me to do an intro psych book or for bird school. And of course you have to cast around for some idea about what are you gonna do that’s gonna be different, what’s gonna set your book apart. And what I came up with was something that had not been done previously that I thought was pretty intriguing, clever idea.
And that was, I wanted to write the first modular book. The first book with a modular organization that is breaking the chapters up into three or four or five self-contained modules, which of course has been become somewhat calming in, in intro site, but at the time there was no such thing. Unfortunately, I am three chapters into my intro psych book when in 1986, outcome, two modular textbooks, thereby ruining my plans.
Who were they? Buy Jim came out, His intro site, Yeah. Was modular. I mean, it was, it was. They didn’t make a massive deal about it, but it was a modular book. Yeah. And Rod Plotnik and Mcon Hill came out with a modular book. They knew both those all well, spontaneously, no less exact same year in 1986, just as I’d written three chapters in a modular format, and I’m going.
Oh, hell , you know, now, Oh, at that point, I, I was like, really? Wow. You know, I, what the, I, I really was kind of flabbergasted. I didn’t see that coming, um, ly I guess I was sort of on the right track, and other people were thinking that way mean those books both have had good long runs, so they were, they were successful.
So anyway, I back to the drawing board and I had no clue what I was gonna do. I kept writing, but I had no clue what I was gonna do in terms of coming up with a, a creative different angle that would give the book. And I did it. And so I headed down in night in the fall of 1986 to, to the third Mac top and God bless Mac Top.
That changed everything. They had a panel on the introductory course. Jill Pino served as the moderator. I had to go, This is again, why I, I, I wanted into my homework before we sat down and talked. I mean, I had to go digging in my vis. Would you believe. I have the first, I’ve all the programs for the first eight Mac tops, even though I didn’t go to the first one, but I still have the programs for those first eight Mac tops and otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to tell you who was on the, the p and so forth.
Sure. The panel was moderated by Joe Pino and, uh, the panelists were, um, Steve Davis, Randy Smith, Rual, and, and d rapidly just sit and listen, you know, and, and, and, uh, it’s getting towards the end of, of the, the, the time that was allocated to it. And it’s, it’s been interesting, but, but nothing breathtaking.
And, and Ruth gets up and just as of a si so something about, something to the effect that, you know, one drawing might have or something I wish they’d change about intro site books, Jim, be a huge deal out of it. She said, you know, there’s so much content and it, and it’s poured into these 16 or 18 or 20 buckets that seem unrelated and.
I really lament the lack of any effort to come up with some, some themes to integrate all this disparate content. And I, She didn’t hammer on it or anything. I mean, I think it was, you know, maybe a minute of her, her talk, but that light bulb clicked on immediately and I thought, theme, she’s right. She’s absolutely right.
No one has ever done anything with themes and, and that would make sense and God, that would help students to, to be able to absorb the, the, or assimilate this, these massive quantities of information. If you, if you could, if you could tie it to, to, to some overarching ideas and, and it would allow you to pick themes that you can like burn into their brains forever more.
I just went right away and, oh God, that’s so cool. I didn’t say anything to Ruth cuz I had no idea, you know, whether I’d be able to, you know, a lot of times Jim, ideas that you think are good ideas. And then you go to execute them. And I off that Oh yes. With a miserable failure. So I, I said nothing to Ruth until like two or three years later when, when the book was actually coming out, I think.
But I decided to try and run with that. And so I, I, I pulled all my dage back, fellow faculty psych out. You know, What, what do you think the themes ought to be? I have no idea what the feeds would be. Yeah. Beeps. That sounds good. What would they be? That’s great. So, and I pulled the page BA first and I got some really good ideas from them.
And then next following year at map, I pulled a much larger, more diverse audience to get some more insight to it. And, and then I, that allowed me to formulate my, my six themes that we launched with. And I’ve eventually added some of, a couple of editions later. And Wayne, why I really appreciate that.
First off, that origin story, it’s, it, I just think it’s great to have that recorded. I mean, I’ve heard it a couple times, but it’s great to have it recorded. And also, you know, here in 2022, you know, we’ve got these introductory psychology initiative and themes are part of that. It’s been rolled out and I think sometimes we get excited about the themes that they have rolled out, and I was part of that group.
And I, I will tell you that I have been one of the voices that has continually said, you know, we’ve had themes and intro psych since the 1980s. This guy, Wayne Whiten, wrote a book starting with themes and variations in the 1980s. So I’m glad to give credit to you to have the story in your own voice. Well, I, yeah, I’m, I’m, I’m thrilled to, to repeat the story on, and, and highlight once again for what I hope is a larger audience, that it’s Ruth Alps vision.
I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s the bars. We have themes now in the. I mean, it, it’s, it’s Ruth that that it, it might have been in the initial kernel, but, but Ruth didn’t run with it. And we both adore Ruth, Let’s be clear on this, but Ruth didn’t run with it and write the book and then revise it 10 times to make it one of the leading introductory psychology textbooks in the English speaking world that we both know that it is.
And you’re too humble to say anything about that, so I’ll just move along. No, I couldn’t do it without, or couldn’t have done it. Whatever. Okay. Made any difference. It did, it, absolutely. I know I’ve kept you long. There’s just a couple of things I, before I let you go, I really would love to ask you about and there’s, there’s a, there’s a, there’s one untold story that I really want you to tell, if you will.
Is there anything La left. Any last thoughts that you have about that, about that textbook and what it’s meant for you? Any, any takeaways that you wanna mention about your intro site textbook? Well, I think it was a very interesting story about the, the illustration program. Okay. Please. I do. I mean, in terms of how it, you know, having enjoyed some success, I think the themes were a big part of giving it an identity.
But I think just as important was we really did break new ground in terms of the, the illustration program. And, and a lot of the credit for that goes to the editor again, c Deborah Law put together an amazing production team. I don’t know, you’re, you’re probably not all enough to remember the site today.
Textbook, but I have it. I never used it as a textbook or taught out of it, but I ha I have some of the additions. Well Site today came out in 69 and it was a, an instant massive hit. And what made it a massive hit was its illustration program, which was extraordinarily innovative. Not always pedagogically sound.
They worked more to be pretty than, than to, to get points across effectively. But it was, it became the best silver instantly and, and continued. The problem with it was it didn’t have an author, it was one of these managed board. Right. And, and had very uneven content. And, and the illustration program, although exciting was, was not it again, not well thought out pedagogically.
But anyway, this ended up working in, in my favor. The, the Site Today book was created in Delmar, California by a small startup publisher called crm. Right? Yeah, yeah. And, and they were bought out by Random House who absconded with the book to New York. Stranding all these creative types in Del LA with no textbook to work eye.
And so my, my editor C dub, somehow was, was aware of all that. And so when it came time to do my, my book, I had said to her, Look, I really wanna wanna work on, I, I really wanna break new ground, the registration program. And I explained to her what I wanted to do with it and she said, I know where to bind the people who do this.
If we just, you know, make sure that we concentrate more on the, the educational soundness as well as creating a book that is, is in visually stunning. So she went down to, to Delmar and, and recruited all of these, these incredible creative types. And I have the incredible good fortune to work with the people who created the site today illustration program only.
We did it differently this time. I mean we really worked more on, on its educational value and, and that made a big difference. I me cuz the thing is with a textbook, you know, especially when the 50 intro textbooks out there. People just kind of thumbed through it. And so if you see an illustration program that looks unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, and of course nowadays you go back and look at the 1989 version, it looks like they all look like, but, but at that time, that wasn’t the case.
They were, they were lot of deaths, black print and, and what, when they had illustrations, they weren’t put together by the authors. The authors had no input on that stuff. Right. Just slide together any old garbage and appetite was misleading, inaccurate. They missed all sorts of opportunities to, to enhance students understanding of things by creating diagrams from scratch.
And so I, I thought that the illustration program was also a big part of the books being successful. And it too has kind of a weird story behind it. I mean, you know, go figure that we could look up with the CRM team, which was, uh, incredibly creative. Well, I just remember it being such, you know, I started teaching in 92 and it was such a competitive time that you would look for any advantage, whether it was the illustration program or, you know, the, the ancillaries or the, the level of service that the textbook rep was gonna provide was a real competitive advantage.
And so, you know, once you had the book, then knowing that the features for pedagogically sound really did make a difference, you know, it was getting the adoption, then keeping the adoption right. There’s two separate processes. Were really, they still are, but, but it, it, it feels different somehow these days.
They are different these days. One last tidbit about enter will coming out at 89. Can I sue my first letter of congratulations. I, I, I’ll David Myers. Yep. Does he do that with everybody? Well, I own, I don’t have an in intro book, but, but yeah, immediately Iberg, Okay, that been out three months and I get a letter and David and I had not met at that point, but I get a letter from Dave Meers, a lengthy letter going on and on and on about how much he likes all this, this and that about the book.
And, and so what a gentleman, Now I can’t rule out the possibility he does that with everybody because it’s that nice. But, uh, but yeah, I think like you, he is genuinely that nice. And, and I don’t know if he sends it to everybody either. I have no idea. But, And I suspect that in your very rare air of intros of highly successful intro site, textbook, authors, maybe others looking from the outside in, think you’re competing against each other.
My guess is that you’re competing against your last additions that. You’re revising up to the next edition. I mean, you’ve got your brand, you’re in your 10th, 11th, 12th edition. You’ve got your briefer, you’ve got your modules, you’ve got your loose leaf, you’ve got your Canadian edition, you’ve got 42 different versions.
And so does he, You’re probably not competing against Sam per se, or is that addressing Yeah, I mean, here’s, here’s the thing. The market is big enough to have lots of people be successful, and, and so you don’t ha need to think about it as a competition, Right. Part, most of us do not. I mean, so I, I’ve got a lot of, you know, intra authors number among close spread and, and, and we, we just, Yeah.
We don’t that Yeah. Way to have success. Yeah. Sue France and I organized, oh, a number of years ago at some of the regionals. Whoever was gonna be there. We’d put IntroPsych authors together in a symposium from different publishers and just have an open forum because people are like, like myself, curious about the process and, and mm-hmm.
it’d be really cool to see, you know, four different intro psych authors or co-authors from four different publishers. And, you know, you could see that many of them were friends and they knew each other’s books. Not in a competitive cutthroat way, but in a friendly Oh yeah. I really love what you did in your chapter six.
I wish I could get my people to do that. I mean, it was, it was ational, it wasn’t confrontational. No, not at all. Not, yeah. Which is really cool thing I think about most teachers of psychology. Well, we all appreciate what each of us has to go through to even pull this off. I mean, it is a pretty massive undertaking and, and staying on top of things is, is, you know, big commitment.
And so we appreciate how hard everybody, each, you know, each of us has to work at it. Absolutely. And I’ve, I’ve never heard any, any, anybody say anything bad about a fellow? No. Might think of, There’s no reason to. Wayne, I’ve almost kept you an hour and a half and there’s, there’s one topic I wanna bring up and I apologize right now because it’s gonna make you uncomfortable, because it involves praising you.
And I’m sorry, I apologize. Praising you, I can tell, makes you uncomfortable.
The Society for the Teaching of Psychology APA division two STP, has benefited greatly from your negotiating skills. Now, when you get a chance to tell your part of the story, you’re gonna say that you were just one of many in the room and, and you just did your part and you’re going, you’re gonna do the thing that I’ve listened to you do for the past hour and 26 minutes.
and because you’re, you’re very kind about this, but as a successful author of two leading books and who knows how many other contracts you have, contractual negotiation skills that not many other rank and file faculty members have, I’m not even gonna wait for you to agree with that, cuz I know it’s to be true.
So, I don’t know, 10, 15 years ago, teach the journal for STP is teaching of psychology. I believe it, its contract ended with Taylor and Francis. It was going out to bid. Am I right so far about that part? Well, you jumped ahead a little bit. Taylor Access would be the second negotiation. All right. So the, the con, So for decades, including some of the decades I was part of STP early on.
STP was a, like many other academic organizations, cash poor. I remember hearing Charles and Charles Brewer tell stories about they would gather at APA at the national Convention and pass the hat to pay for the breakfast that morning, which was, you know, stale bagels and orange shoes. I, me was, that is ab that’s absolutely accurate.
Then that is not an aple story that happened for years on end because the hotels, you know, APA stays in nice hotels. If you order breakfast from the hotel, it would’ve cost 50% of our annual pod or something . So, so s STP for the longest time was cash poor, didn’t, didn’t just, you know, operated on a shoestring.
Te like teachers often do. And I don’t remember what year it was, but I, I, I think I was Secretary of STP at the time, so this is the only reason why I knew a little bit of what was going on. And the contract to publish teaching of psychology was up with the current publisher, and it went, there was a bidding negotiation process.
And you were part of the team of people who helped represent STP in negotiating the next 10 year contract. Mm-hmm. . Is that fairly accurate? Okay. Everything is accurate. All right. Leave now. Some stuff the K before, but it’s, it’s all accurate. All right. Thank you. And here’s the thing, one of the main reasons why STP has the programming, the support, the grant program.
The instructional resource grants, why they can support stipends and buyouts for officers and committee members. Why s STP has over a million dollars in their bank account right now is because people like Wayne Whiten and maybe a couple others who were with him in the room that day negotiated a 10 the first time it was a 10 year deal with was, was it Sage?
Uh, Sage is who we currently with, Yes. Was the first 10 years Taylor and Francis. We, we originally were Lawrence, Earl Obama Associates up until 97. That was the first opportunity to have a renegotiation. We ended up resigning with them, but then Larry retired and, and sold this company, Taylor and Francis, and so they finished that, that tenure and so the next opportunity then Renegotiates 2010, but.
Every, every person who’s ever told me this story was, it’s because you are savvy in that room. I believe the first time it was a 10 year payout from the publisher to STP of $140,000 a year for 10 years, 1.4 mail, and then when it was re-upped, the next 10 year contract was $170,000 a year for 10 years, 1.7 mil.
And maybe the numbers aren’t that important other than your savvy. Your generosity in negotiating that and having that experience that you brought to that table has given STP financial security that it never experienced in its 75 year history up until those points in.
Okay. You ready to hear the story of the unsung hero in this ? As long as long first of, Yes. And hopefully you’ll take the due credit you’re deserved. I will take sa but uh, I’ve been given too much as, as is often the case. All right. To, to put it, to give you exact numbers. Cause I, I know Wet gonna ask about this.
So I looked at, up in the nineties, we were, you know, Herbo gave us just a standard contract. It’s, it’s not their job to give us an Luc contract. It’s our job to, to negotiate it. That’s one of the things I learned from Claire Verdo. And Larry was a great guy, but it was not a favorable contract. So we were losing about 20,000 a year in the 1990s on our juror, which chewed up a lot of the money that came in as, as, as, as, as dues.
The first negotiation was 1997 and in order to, to conduct an effect and I was asked to, to do the negotiation, Randy and I, Randy Smith. We’re put in charge of it. And I thought, Well God, I don’t know anything about this, but I may know somewhat that does. And so I went to my former intro editor, Clanton, and she had moved from not long after my book, actually, right around the time my book came out, she, her husband took a job in la.
She moved to Sage in the LA area, so she was at Sage. And so at Sage you work on journals as well as books. So I went to her and she coached me on how to go about, you know, looking at other publishers and so forth. And, but what she really did that was important was she wanted to sign it for Sage. She was very familiar with it.
Back Hundred Days as an intro editor. She read tlp. She had a huge respect for tlp and so she wanted TLP for Sage back in 90. And, uh, and I went of course to, to Larry Earlbaum and asked him, you know, how they could sweet the deal. And Larry was very smart, very crafting, Although I love Larry, I absolutely love him.
He, he published us when no one else was interested. I mean, he became a great friend, the organization, but he said, Well, you know what, Rather than, you know, my coming up with an offer, how about if you just allow me to match whatever you think your best offer is offer is. And so in 1997, c a put in a really aggressive offer on behalf of, of the sage.
And I didn’t think Larry match it, cuz it was gonna be a big turnaround for him financially. But he matched, and again, this is me being naive, he could have given each way more. I now know , but that’s where we had the first turnarounds, 99, 97. Up until then, we. Dirt. Dirt for, Was it about 140 grand a year for 10 years?
Not that, no. Not a bad. That was not that big a jump, but it was a huge jump to us. Instead of losing 20,000 a year, we were making 40,000 a year. So that was a $60,000 burn around. Okay. Which all of a sudden we could buy breakfast at the hotel and we could fund a lot. And the organization started to bank money.
They started to have reserves. Yes. Yes. So Larry then eventually retired. We were not real happy with, He sold the Taylor Francis. We were not real, and not, not me so much. The editors, you know, Randy and, and Drew didn’t feel like they got the attention that, that, that they, the journals should merit and there were some fulfillment problems.
And so next time our, our contract was up now with Taylor of Francis, we decided renegotiate. And who do I go to again? CEB has now moved on to Gilford. This time he decided to do a full fledge 10 page request or proposals. Who do you think showed me how to craft that? C d sent me two of her best RFP she’d ever seen with all the names, you know, blocked out.
And that’s what allowed me to put together this, this, you know, document that touted the, the society touted the journal and all that. And, and that’s what we sent out to the various publishers in 2010. And we sent out to six publishers. Um, one, the biggest blanking on their name passed, but the other five all came in with, with really nice offers.
And, and ironically her former employee, employer Sage, was the one that came in with me for the best overall author and has proven to be a wonderful, wonderful partner for us. And, and yeah, that’s the one that came in at like 140,000 annually. For, and even at the last one, I wasn’t involved, but, but Ken Keith reached out and asked me, Oh, how does the environment look?
Do you think we can, you know, are we gonna have to give back? How can we do better? Whatever? And who did I reach out to again? But s who comes back in a week and fills me in on, on how things are looking and, and that’s the basis for the advice that I, I provided to Deccan at that time. So the unsung hero is my former intro editor who I, so, I, I, I don’t know.
And I have great negotiating skills. I, I do a lot of homework, but I, I, I’ve gotten way more credit than I deserve for this. The real, the real person who’s, you know, is respons for our financial solvency. Is is has been here too far. Unknown. Well, and I, I just really feel like I needed to correct the record on this.
It, it’s, it’s needed up. If we were a university, I’d argue we should put her name on a building. Doesn’t mean. Well, first off, I’m glad you’ve had the chance to correct the record cuz that’s always a good thing. And I believe I predicted that you would deflect the credit. And I I was right actually. What, when your predictions come true.
I, I do, I I I really do. Wayne, and, and you know, but of course you know that it’s only because, you know, you knew who to ask and who to consult with. And you had the connection that STP got the benefit from this. So you can deflect all you want. And I am so sorry. This makes you uncomfortable. I, I’m being sincere, but no, I’m not that uncomfortable.
But I really, but really people have, have, have assumed I have abilities. I don’t have they really? Yeah. But, but you do have abilities. You had the connections to know who to ask. I mean, I, I, I don’t know about you, but I see this as the theme throughout your life, right? You, you didn’t really know how to go to college, but you figured it out and you knew how to ask.
You didn’t know how to get into grad school, but you knew how to figured it out, knew to ask. I mean, it really hasn’t stopped you from doing anything. You didn’t know how to write an intro, an adjustment textbook, but you knew how I would to ask and where to look it up and figured it out. I mean, you’ve always figured it out your whole life.
It strikes me. Anyway. Fuck. I’m not gonna you. What’s that? So, I’m not gonna you with you. I don’t know. I mean, I, I just, Well, you, you can argue all you want. You’re probably right. Are there, I, I’ve kept you so long. Any other contributions about STP that you wanna mention? Any anything else? I’ll let you wrap it up.
I’ll try to let you have the last word other than thanking you. At the very end. There’s just, One other thing that I, I, maybe we should let it go with the app. I feel like this’s already been too, too congratulatory, . I just, Here’s the thing, I’m gonna wrap things up. I’m gonna say I am, I feel incredibly, incredibly ply to be able to serve in the role that I’ve served in chronicling the progress that we’ve had in psychology, or over 40 years now.
I mean, that is a privilege and, and the fact that the books have done well enough meet it, continue with that privilege has, has been just a, a, uh, marvelous, marvelous outcome for me. And I am, you know, so happy with all the progress I’ve. Well, I’m, I’m not the spokesperson for the teaching of psychology, but to the gifts that you’ve given have been gifts well received, not only by students in our classrooms, but by teachers taking techniques from you that, or by indirect support that you provided to STP as well as Rocky Mountain Psychological Association and serving as its president and so many other things that we didn’t mention.
So, Wayne, thank you for all you’ve done and especially thank you for spending almost two hours with me tonight. I really appreciate it and I think our listeners are gonna appreciate a little bit deeper dive into you and your background. Well, thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me, and thank you for, you know, this, this works both ways.
Thank you for all you do. I mean, my God, you helped found a, a journal that is gonna be shaping our discipline for, for decades to come. So, This, this works both ways. This is, this is what people do. They spin, receiving compliments, the series. I mean, that’s a fabulous contribution. So thank you, Wayne.