By Hope Belli Tinney, WSU News
Support of faculty, students merits lifetime service award
Thomas Brigham is honored at Showcase. (Photo by Shelly
Hanks, WSU Photo Services)
PULLMAN, Wash. - Professor Emeritus Thomas A. Brigham was awarded the 2012 President’s Award for Distinguished Lifetime Service at the Washington State University Showcase Celebration.
The award is given to individuals who have demonstrated great personal and professional commitment to the university and community and have had a profound influence on the direction and progress of the university throughout their career.
"Tom is completely committed to everything that WSU stands for,” said Mary Sanchez Lanier, associate dean of University College and a member of the Showcase Steering Committee. She said Brigham has a clear vision of the university’s mission and has spent his career working to help students and faculty succeed.
Sanchez Lanier lauded Brigham for recognizing the importance of student advising and working to support students’ transition from high school and living at home to the residential campus experience. Brigham was instrumental in founding, and served as first director of, the Student Advising and Learning Center (which later became the Center for Advising and Career Development) from 1988 to 1990.
His service to the university includes executive secretary of the Faculty Senate 1998-2004 and executive assistant to the president for faculty affairs 2004-2007. According to the nomination letter from the Showcase Steering Committee, "Dr. Brigham was a stabilizing force for the university. He improved communication and collaboration between the faculty and the administration, a relationship that persists to this day.”
Brigham, who joined the WSU psychology department in 1972, has authored more than 50 journal articles, four books and one instructor’s guide. He has given invited addresses at major conferences and universities around the world.
He was selected as a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Behavior Analysis International. He received a prestigious Erskine Fellowship for Outstanding Research and the 1999 Henry Guze Award for the best paper of the year about hypnosis.
In its nomination letter, the Showcase committee commended Brigham for working tirelessly behind the scenes to improve conditions for the faculty. He was a strong advocate for creation of the rank of Regents Professor and he founded the WSU Emeritus Society.
He was lauded for his work with graduate students and for mentoring junior faculty members, but especially for his work with undergraduates:
"His undergraduate teaching was consistently innovative,” according to the committee. For example, he created the Excel Program to help minority students adjust to college; that program is credited with helping to improve minority graduation rates. He also created an optional program to complement his Introduction to Psychology course to help students deal with their own problematic behavior, from drug use to risky sexual behavior.
"He has worked selflessly and tirelessly to make WSU a better place during his 39 years on the faculty,” the letter states. "The university would be a far different place today if he had not served on our faculty.”