Awards and events

The Founders' Awards

Through the annual Founders’ Awards, we honor the contributions of Carl W. Backman, Paul F. Secord, and Gerald (Jerry) P. Ginsburg to the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1955, Carl W. Backman (Ph.D., Indiana University, 1954) and Paul F. Secord (Ph.D., Stanford University, 1950) arrived at the University and joined the then “Department of Psychology, Sociology & Anthropology.” Carl, a sociologist, and Paul, a psychologist, collaborated on many scientific articles and textbooks. In 1962, the first social psychology students were admitted. With the 1963 arrival of Gerald P. “Jerry” Ginsburg construction of the Program began. It was modeled after the well-known interdisciplinary social psychology program at the University of Michigan, where Jerry had received his Ph.D. The Program was explicitly interdisciplinary from its inception and has continued in this proud tradition to the present day. When in the spring of 1967 a vote by the Board of Regents officially created the Program, there were already four students ready to graduate. Over the following decades, much of the work on the ground was carried out by Jerry Ginsburg who served as the Program’s Director for many years, retiring in 1998; he passed away in 2018. Paul Secord left the University in 1971 and, following a long career at the University of Huston, died in 2017. Carl Backman served in a variety of capacities at the University, including as Social Psychology Ph.D. program faculty, Sociology Department Chair, and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. He retired in 1996 and passed away in 2008.

There are two separate awards.

  1. The Founders’ Best Paper Award seeks to recognize the best research paper by a student in the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. program that was submitted for publication or published during the 12 months prior to the submission deadline. The winner will receive a prize of $750. In addition, the Founders’ Award committee has the option of giving a $250 award for the runner-up.
  2. The Founders’ Best Research Proposal Award seeks to support student research by funding the best research proposal submitted by a student in the Interdisciplinary Social Psychology Ph.D. Program. The proposed project must be conducted during the student’s time at the University. Each proposal should consist of a 200-word abstract, a 1,000-word research proposal, and a brief explanation of how the funds would be spent. The winner will receive up to $750 based on their need. In addition, the Founders’ Award committee has the option of giving a $250 award for the runner-up.

Social Psychology events

Join us for brown bags, dissertation defense and more events in and around campus. We hold brown bags throughout each semester, in which students and faculty from the program present informally in front of their peers, often in preparation for conferences or to elicit ideas on how to improve their research.