Response to: A Challenge for More Faculty to Participate in The Outlook

To the Editors of the Outlook:

This reply is in regard to the article that appeared in this week’s Outlook:  “A Challenge for More Faculty to Participate in The Outlook.”   It generated much discussion within my department since we were singled out as being among those departments who were most egregious in failing to involve ourselves in the activities of our school newspaper.  One outcome of this discussion is that we found the accusation to be grossly false. One of my colleagues was curious as to just how involved we have been, and did a search for “psychology” and by last names over the last 12 months in the search option on the Outlook website. That search turned up 15 times that a faculty member from our department is mentioned in an article that appeared in print (eight of us are listed, by the way… the list is included at the end of this email).  I have no idea how many times we were actually asked to reply to an inquiry or how many times our replies went unmentioned in the paper, but I was asked via email 3-4 times since September, unfortunately about matters of which I have no expertise.  In one case I replied (see below) and in the other cases I forwarded the request to the rest of the faculty in my department.  I see from the search on your website (listed below) that all of these requests were responded to by another faculty member in my department.  

I think it is also important to point out that some of my attempts to publish something or interact with the Outlook have been ignored or set aside, a phenomenon known as “selective survival” in archival research on the topic of what gets published in print media.  For example, last fall, I responded to an email request from someone representing the Outlook about our fascination with vampires.  I wrote back that I have no expertise in this area but did some Google scholar research and sent the reporter three lengthy published articles on the topic.  I checked the Outlook over the next 3-4 weeks but never saw an article on vampires (if it appeared, my research assistance was not mentioned).   This would be one type of “selective survival” in which an individual’s attempt to work with one of your reporters was not credited or was simply ignored. On another occasion last spring, I wrote a short article for the Outlook about the undefeated season of the Lacrosse Club, trying to encourage students to attend the final game that weekend against the other undefeated team in the league.  I’m the Lacrosse Club advisor and, since it seemed newsworthy, I wanted to draw attention to the upcoming game which would have determined the League champion.  I also thought my article was newsworthy since the success of the club has been an important factor in the decision to make Lacrosse the next Division I team at Monmouth.  Unfortunately, the article was never printed, another example of “selective survival” of an attempt by a faculty member to contribute to the news of Monmouth University.  One last example of “selective survival” of faculty involvement in the Outlook involves the Argentine tango classes that were offered at Monmouth University in the fall, 2012.  I was involved in those classes as a participant and a photographer came to take pictures for the Outlook, taking names and asking questions about tango.  I looked again for several weeks for an article to see if they included my photo or my comments but none appeared that I could find. 

These examples point out that there is no shortage of faculty attempts to work with the school newspaper, at least not in my department, and that it is pretty easy to prove this if one makes the effort.  BTW, the only faculty member the Outlook mentioned as a contributor from the ”Psychology” department is really from the Psychological Counseling graduate program which is not affiliated with us.   Do we have our facts confused?  

Here are the facts:  Aside from times when the help of a faculty member was not used or mentioned, there are 15 citations listed, taken from the Outlook website, of instances when a professor from the Department of Psychology appeared in an Outlook article in the last 12 months: 

Dr. Goodwin: http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/features/738-in-your-dreams-a-look-into-the-unconscious-mind



Dr. Payne:      http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/politics/422-vote-at-711-kinda

Dr. Stapley:   http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/features/660-music-cheaper-than-therapy


Prof. Pirotta:  http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/features/596-remember-that-time

Dr. Dinella:     http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/features/521-until-divorce-do-us-part



Dr. Lewandowski: http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/news/411-psychology-department-changes-locations



Dr. Hatchard & Dr. Stapley:   http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/news/273-professor-wins-psychology-award

Dr Ciarocco:  http://outlook.monmouth.edu/index.php/news/175-recent-university-study-says-stress-promotes-infidelity

Jack Demarest, Ph.D

Professor of Psychology

Editor’s Note: The Outlook would like to thank Dr. Demar­est for his Letter to the Editor, pointing out the paper’s error. The Outlook, indeed, misidentified the Psychology Department as one of those departments that chronically seems uninterested in speaking with the student newspaper as expert sources. In fact, the Psychol­ogy Department is generally quite responsive to commenting in the paper. If our mistake has caused any undue frustration or harm, we sincerely apologize. We are committed to truth and fairness. In this instance, the misidentification of the Psychology Department as un­responsive, the paper seems to have failed on both fronts.