$100,000 grant to support Albright’s Psychology Department

April 18, 2019

Albright College has received a $100,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust to support building, equipment and technology needs for its Psychology Department.

“Albright College is grateful for this award, which will have a significant impact on the education and research opportunities for psychology majors and non-majors in our traditional undergraduate program as well as our School of Professional Studies,” said Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D., acting provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Teel Hall photo

Teel Hall, built in 1929, was originally dedicated as the Evangelical School of Theology and referred to as “The Angel Factory.” Currently named after Albright’s first president, Warren F. Teel, D.D., it now houses psychology, Kachel Chapel and the Psychology Department’s research center.

Albright’s psychology department is housed in historic Teel Hall, a building constructed in 1929. While the façade is an integral reminder of Albright’s history, funds from this grant will be used to modernize classrooms with updated space, furniture and technological equipment that fosters a collaborative, accessible learning environment. Funds will also be used to purchase an eye-tracking device for use in educational and research settings, said Bridget Hearon, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. “Eye-tracking technology is used across a variety of fields and allows students the opportunity to explore the true nature of experimental psychological science,” Hearon said.

Eye-tracking research has become increasingly popular in academic and professional areas over the last decade. Whereas older devices like the one Albright currently uses consisted of a single monitor into which people would gaze, thereby limiting the context in which the device could be employed, newer units are portable and can be used across a variety of real-world conditions.

“Eye-tracking technology allows the researcher to track the gaze of a participant to give insight into such concepts as subconscious biases and object preferences,” said Keith Feigenson, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology. “It will help our students be competitive as they enter the workforce or higher education with experience using cutting edge research techniques,” Feigenson said.

“Supporting student success by evolving and developing our curricular programs as well as building a robust digital technology infrastructure are two of the college’s institutional priorities,” said Campbell. “This award helps Albright meet these important priorities.”

Located in Worcester, Mass., the Alden Trust gives priority to higher education, predominately in support of independent undergraduate education. The organization’s trustees focus their grant making on capital needs, supporting institutions that demonstrate a combination of educational excellence, exciting programming, and efficient and effective administration. They primarily support proposals that they feel will contribute significantly to the intellectual growth of students and will enhance an institution’s mission, with particular emphasis on George Alden’s expressed desire to “do the greatest good for the greatest number of beneficiaries.”