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Tribute to Bill McKeachie

Mar 3, 2018

Wilbert J. (Bill) McKeachie, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Michigan, is an iconic teacher of psychology. From the time he completed his Ph.D. at Michigan in 1949, until his retirement at age 85, Bill was fully engaged in teaching: encouraging graduate students and colleagues, developing materials to advance pedagogy, and influencing organizations in support of teaching. From its publication in 1950, his Teaching Tips has remained in print through 14 editions (now with co-author Marilla Svinicki), helping countless faculty in many disciplines to improve their teaching.

For more than six decades, Bill has been friend to all, from the most famous luminaries—the likes of Skinner, Likert, and Maslow—to beginning students. Along the way his colleagues elected Bill to many leadership positions. He has served as president of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Foundation, and the American Association of Higher Education; and STP established the Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award to honor his contributions to the teaching of psychology.

Yet for all the notoriety his career has brought, Bill McKeachie has remained a model of humility, decency, and humanity. And, as an avid softball player over the years, Bill has often proudly noted that the most significant accomplishment of his APA presidential year (1976) was the fact that he pitched three no-hitters that year. We are grateful to Eric Landrum and Garth Neufeld for their efforts to preserve Bill’s voice for posterity, and I hope you will enjoy listening to this conversation with one of our greatest teachers.

Ken Keith

STP Past-President

March 2018