Psychology Department

Ralph McKenna, Ph.D, Emeritus

Ralph McKenna
1976 - Professor of Psychology,  Emeritus
Ph.D., University of Connecticut, '70
B.S., Danbury State College, '63

I completed a textbook, The Undergraduate Researcher's Handbook: Creative Experimentation in Social Psychology (Allyn & Bacon, 1995), which was conceived around research projects developed and carried out by students who enrolled in my courses in social psychology over the past 25 years. The focus upon student designed studies as examples of critical thinking in psychology research, rather than the work of "big name" professionals, constitutes a novel aspect of this book and hopefully a peer-based link between undergraduate researchers and readers.

Promoting Undergraduate Research
The quality of our campus research efforts persuaded me to co-found the Arkansas Symposium for Psychology Students, a nationally recognized annual meeting, focused upon undergraduate research and interests. ASPS provides Arkansas psychology students with a professional convention-style experience in an environment which downplays stress. The conference rotates yearly among nine sites in Arkansas, and has served to encourage shared research, networking, and social interaction among both students and faculty.

Immersing Myself in the Liberal Arts Experience
I have co-directed Master Works: A Reading and Writing Seminar for much of its twelve year existence. Following summer workshops for participating faculty, this capstone liberal arts course brings together eight professors from across the college, together and a class of the college's most outstanding seniors. Eight to nine new works, with an emphasis on literature, but including science, art, music, and film, are studied by the entire group, with each faculty member taking primary responsibility for one work.

Non-Professional Interests:
Spare time is given over to distance running, listening to folk music and jazz, growing vegetables in a large organic garden, and faculty/student participatory sports like basketball and Wallyball.