History of the lab
The study of animal learning at Baldwin Wallace University began in 1987. Then Chair of the department, Dr. Michael Dwyer was charged with expanding the psychology department to include the areas of animal learning and physiological psychology. Necessary funds were secured and the construction of a laboratory for the study of animal learning began in the basement of Burrell Observatory in 1985. The department hired Dr. Barbara Wanchisen to fill this new post. At that time, Dr. Wanchisen was working at Temple University in the laboratory of Dr. Philip Hineline on a variety of operant conditioning problems. With her arrival at BW in the Fall of 1985 and the completion of the first laboratory in 1987, research into the processes of learning began here in earnest.
Dr. Wanchisen conducted research at BW from 1987 to 2000. That year, Carnegie Hall, home to the psychology department, underwent a renovation and expansion becoming the Neal Malicky Center for the Social Sciences. As part of this expansion, research space for the animal learning lab was included in the third floor of Malicky. This change in location coincided with the departure of Dr. Wanchisen to a new position in Washington, D.C. as Executive Director of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological and Cognitive Sciences.
A faculty search was conducted in 2000-01 and Dr. Brian Thomas was hired to replace Dr. Wanchisen and to establish a new laboratory in Malicky. Dr. Thomas was working in a post-doctoral position at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the laboratory of Dr. John Ayres. Dr. Thomas arrived in the Fall of 2002 and by the end of that year, research into the processes on learning had resumed at BW.