The American Psychological Foundation (APF) will honor Frank J. Vattano, PhD, with its 2001 Award for the Distinguished Teaching of Psychology, at the APF-APA Awards Ceremony during APA's Annual Convention in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 25. He will deliver his award address, "Teaching introductory psychology: We never had it so good," on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 3 p.m.
"Receiving this award is a humbling experience," remarks Vattano. "It makes me realize how fortunate I am to have had such wonderful mentors and colleagues throughout my career. This recognition is as much theirs as mine."
Prior to entering Colorado State University to major in psychology, Vattano--now there as a professor of psychology and distinguished university teaching scholar--finished a proprietary business college program, worked for the New York Central Railroad and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. After graduating, he served in Ohio State University's general experimental psychology program as a graduate-teaching assistant and assistant instructor.
Vattano's first academic position was at the University of Denver, where he worked on a project to prepare students for college teaching. In 1965, he continued to teach general psychology there while he assumed the position of assistant dean of arts and sciences. In 1968, he was appointed vice chancellor for student affairs.
Vattano returned to his first love of teaching as assistant vice president for instructional development at Colorado State University. There he initiated a two-credit seminar on college teaching.
After 10 years as Colorado State's Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, Vattano returned to his home department and prepared for reentry to full-time teaching. There he developed short video modules from "The Brain," a telecourse first aired on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) in 1984. Enthusiastic reaction from students led Vattano to develop the modules for national distribution. Further encouraged by their reception, he then developed another module series derived from the PBS program, "The Mind." Vattano has long been involved with educational technology. He was the first person on the Colorado State faculty to offer a television course. Vattano's latest venture is a new module series of 12 programs featuring classical and contemporary topics in social psychology (scheduled for release in August).
In the early development of the Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology program for high-school students, Vattano worked with the College Board and was among the first to offer AP Psychology institutes for high-school teachers.
Vattano's recent honors for teaching include the 1999 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Colorado Professor of the Year award and the designation of 2000 University Distinguished Teaching Scholar.Ted Baroody is the assistant director of the American Psychological Foundation.