Message from the Chair

Greetings from Davie Hall! I am pleased to share our year and future plans for the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill.

Effective July 1, our department became the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience and our name change is just one of the many exciting new developments. Becoming Psychology and Neuroscience allows us to better reflect the evolving field and our place within it. I believe that this name change captures a more accurate portrayal of our research, teaching missions, and vision for our department’s future. As we incorporate more state-of-the-art neuroscience and biological measures into our research and teaching in all of our programs, I am confident the strengthened focus will help us to maintain our prominent national ranking.

The quality of our programs and strength of our research are evidenced by our continued 12th place ranking in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. We were also ranked #3 among UNC College of Arts and Sciences Departments with grant funding over $12 million in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Roughly 88% of our faculty have federal grants and make substantial contributions to the advancement of science.

This summer, we anticipate the completion of a multi-million dollar renovation of Howell Hall. Howell Hall was built in 1906 for the Chemistry Department and later served as home for the School of Pharmacy and then the School of Journalism. Howell Hall, once finished, will be a state-of-the-art research facility for neuroscience. New core laboratories will include a confocal microscope, human neurostimulation and neural recording, physiological monitoring, brain imaging, and a space for behavioral observation.

Our undergraduates continue to engage in new opportunities in the department. The Neuroscience minor officially launched this fall and over 50 students have already enrolled in the minor. A new Neural Connections group is engaging the community with hands-on neuroscience activities at Morehead Planetarium and at local elementary schools. Our Karen M. Gil Internship Program in Psychology and Neuroscience welcomed an additional eleven psychology majors into the Fall 2015 cohort. They’ve been placed in internship sites all over Research Triangle Park – I enjoy reading the weekly Gil Internship blog where our majors share their new research and internship experiences.

Our collective need still exceeds the state and federal funds that are available to us. Private funding continues to play a pivotal role in helping the department capitalize on our many strengths. On our website, you can read about interesting and innovative research being conducted by our faculty and students – and how private support from alumni and friends like you makes those projects possible. Private giving is crucial to maintaining the academic excellence of our department for current and future students. So much of what we do depends on the generous support we receive and we are appreciative of any gift, large or small. Please consider helping the Department capitalize on our many strengths by making a tax-deductible contribution.

I invite you to explore our website to learn more about our featured research, teaching initiatives, and unique opportunities for our undergraduate and graduate students. You may contact any of our faculty members if you have questions about psychology and neuroscience or about their specific research interests. We welcome hearing from you and look forward to seeing you in Davie Hall!

Warm regards,

Donald Lysle, Ph.D, Department Chair
Kenan Distinguished Professor
October 2015