People

The Society for Psychologists in Management (SPM) has presented Marilyn K. Gowing, PhD, with the 2000 Distinguished Psychologist in Management Award for outstanding contributions to managerial policies. As an association, SPM serves to unite psychologists who function in managerial positions in the public and private sectors. Gowing, the director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's Personnel Resources and Development Center, is the first person to receive the award in the public sector.

Psychologist James McGee, PhD, never imagined his career would lead him to negotiate one of the most notorious hostage situations of 2000. But in March, McGee acted as a negotiator in the four-day standoff between the Maryland police and Joseph Palczynski, who held a Baltimore County family hostage until he was shot and killed by local police.

Two weeks before the standoff, Palczynski kidnapped his former girlfriend and killed three people who attempted to stop the kidnapping and a fourth the next day as he tried to steal a car. His former girlfriend escaped and Palczynski fled. Before police could find him, Palczynski had reached the home of his ex-girlfriend's mother, boyfriend and their son.

"The ordeal was very frightening for everyone involved because the bullets were flying around and he meant business," says McGee, director of psychology, law enforcement and forensic services at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore. "On a personal level, this was a very intense experience because I could hear the hostages begging for their lives. We felt at any moment he could pull the trigger."

Not only did McGee have the heavy responsibility of talking with Palczynski as a hostage negotiator, he also counseled neighborhood residents who were forced to leave their homes during the crisis, or later, counseled those who could not leave their homes for fear of being shot. At that point, says McGee, the psychologist becomes a diagnostician, trying "to calm the stormy seas," but without the luxury of time. Predicting behavior is difficult under any circumstances, says McGee, also chief psychologist of the Baltimore County Police Department, but as negotiator, he saw the hostages go through several emotional stages. According to McGee, Palczynski's hostages experienced Stockholm syndrome, named for a hostage situation in the 1970s in Sweden where bank robbers held up a bank and developed a strange positive relationship with the hostages.

The hostages were so relieved at not being killed they grew attached to their captors. Palczynski convinced the hostages that the cops were the problem, the "bad guys." He even used the media to bring forth his message that all he wanted to do was talk to his former girlfriend. McGee says allowing contact is usually a mistake. In most cases, the perpetrator calls a loved one to blame them, or to commit suicide or kill a hostage in front of the loved one.

March 26 to April 2 offered little rest for psychologist Jodi Mindell, PhD, as she helped the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) promote the third annual National Sleep Awareness Week. The week raises public awareness on sleep and sleep disorders. The foundation planned the campaign to correspond with daylight saving time.

On March 28, USA Today worked with NSF to set up more than 60 sleep experts to field con sumers' sleep-related phone calls in shifts from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Callers asked the most questions about sleep apnea, snoring and daytime sleeping, according to Mindell, an associate professor at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia. To get the word out about the importance of sleep, NSF-affiliated physicians, psychologists and other health professionals participated in a major media promotion that involved interviews by CNN, MSNBC, Lifetime Live and Chicago WGN, to name a few.

Ball State University professor Michael R. Stevenson, PhD, has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2000­01 academic year. Stevenson, a psychology professor and director of the Diversity Policy Institute, is one of 34 faculty or administrators selected this year in a national competition.

The ACE Fellows program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising faculty and senior administrators for positions in college and university administration. Fellows attend three week-long seminars on higher education issues organized by ACE, read extensively in the field, and engage in other activities to enhance their knowledge about challenges and opportunities confronting higher education.

Stevenson will focus on a full range of diversity issues--including increasing representation of various groups among students, faculty and staff, and integrating diversity-related material across the curriculum to developing academic programs that focus on diversity--while spending the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution. As an ACE Fellow, Stevenson will be included in the highest level of decision-making and will participate in administrative activities and contribute to a learning group exploring how the ACE project will benefit Ball State.

Most previous fellows have advanced into major positions in academic administration.

--M. WATERS