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New Honorary Professors

Robert Kail and Sabina Pauen showing the new service clothing

To strengthen the international connections of our department and also to bring our students into contact with leading researchers in their field, we are happy that the list of our prominent honorary professors has grown. Two highly renowned researchers accepted our invitation to become appointed as Honorary Professor at our department: Robert Kail (see my older blog entry) and Allan Wigfield.

Prof. Dr. Robert Kail (Purdue University), invited by our colleague Sabina Pauen (Developmental Psychology), has given his inaugural lecture last week under the title “When opportunity knocks, open the door”. What was meant by this funny title? Here comes his abstract: “In this talk I take a retrospective look at three facets of my career, two involving lines of research and one involving editorial work. The theme of the talk is this: As scientists we typically see ourselves (and our work) as rationale, planful, and deliberate. Nevertheless, sometimes exciting opportunities arrive unexpectedly. When they do, we should embrace them eagerly!”

Rob gave 3 examples from his personal career when windows of oppurtunity opened for him (his early developmental work; his work about amnesic aphasia; his work as editor of highly ranked journals and as teacher for concise scientific writing).

We all were impressed to hear about the number of manuscripts that he had to deal with during his editorship of “Psychological Science“, according to their homepage “the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology”. Within 5 years, a total of 10.854 papers (!) have been processed - and most of them have been read be Rob! Wow!

Allan Wigfield and Birgit Spinath testing coffee quality

Prof. Dr. Allan Wigfield (University of Maryland), invited by our colleague Birgit Spinath (educational psychology), is a specialist for achievement motivation and its development. He started with his lectures also last week; he will give his inaugural lecture next summer. I will report about that event next year.

You will probably know Allan Wigfield from his work on the expectancy-value-approach to motivation which he elaborated together with Jacque Eccles. This is one of the leading models that is used to explain achievement-related choices such as the amount of effort one invests for certain tasks or the subjects one chooses in school or in higher education. If you want to hear more about Allan Wigfield’s research, come to the talk that he will give when he is Heidelberg next time.