an “outstanding career contribution to the teaching of psychology,”
Scott Plous, professor of psychology, was named the 2008 recipient of
the American Psychological Foundation (APF) Charles L. Brewer Distinguished
Teaching of Psychology Award.
Plous received the award during the 116th Annual Convention of the American
Psychological Association on Aug. 15. His citation read:
“This award celebrates Scott Plous as a master teacher, a developer of
premier Internet resources in psychology, and a pioneer of action teaching.
At Wesleyan University, Plous is known as an extraordinary lecturer and
dedicated mentor of teachers. He is also the founder of Social Psychology
Network, a set of innovative Web sites used each day by thousands of
students and instructors. And he has advocated socially engaged ‘action
teaching’ that leads not only to a better understanding of psychology but to
a more just and peaceful world. Together, these efforts have had a
significant influence internationally on the teaching of psychology.”
Plous was featured in the July–August 2008 issue of
According to the publication:
Plous was born on Nov. 2, 1959, in Milwaukee, Wis., and attended college at
University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, studying psychology under Kenneth
MacCorquodale, a legendary scholar and former student of B. F. Skinner. In
part because of the quality of teaching and advising MacCorquodale provided,
Plous graduated summa cum laude from the university with a bachelor’s degree
in psychology in less than two years.
In 1981, Plous enrolled as a graduate student at Stanford University. After
initially studying personality psychology, he began researching the social
psychology of international conflict and became an academic advisee of
Philip Zimbardo, who had won the APF Distinguished Teaching Award a few
Following graduate school, Plous received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship
in International Peace and Security, which allowed him to remain at Stanford
for two years as a postdoctoral fellow with offices in psychology and the
Center for International Security and Cooperation. He then held a two-year
visiting professorship in psychology and arms control at the University of
Illinois at Urbana–Champaign before joining the faculty at Wesleyan, where
he has been since 1990.
Plous is a fellow of the American Psychological Association as well as of
the Association for Psychological Science, and he has received a number of
professional awards, including the 1984 Gordon Allport Intergroup Relations
Prize and the 1993 Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations
Award (both from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues);
the 1993 William James Book Award (from the Society for General Psychology
for his book The Psychology of Judgment and Decision Making; the 1998
Wesleyan University Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching; and the
2004 Award for Distinguished Service to the Society (from the Society for
Personality and Social Psychology).
He was also named Connecticut Professor of the Year in 2006 by the Carnegie
Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement
and Support of Education.
Among psychology educators, Plous is perhaps best known for developing
Social Psychology Network (SPN), a set of nine interlinked websites that
contain a searchable open-access archive of over 15,000 resources related to
psychological research, teaching, and advising. On average, the pages of
these websites are visited roughly 70,000 times per day from people in over
100 countries—a cumulative total of more than 130 million page views since
the network was first established.