TRU professor appointed editor of national science journal

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

William Roberts, TRU psychology professor and newly-appointed editor for the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

William Roberts, TRU psychology professor and newly-appointed editor for the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Beginning January 2014, TRU professor of psychology William Roberts will serve as acting editor for the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, published by the Canadian Psychological Association.

Roberts said the story of how he got his start in psychology would “destroy his credibility as a reasonable human being” because everything happened by chance.

He began his academic career in the United States, where he was born. Roberts majored in philosophy during his undergraduate studies but found his only psychology course rather interesting. The professor recommended Simon Fraser University (SFU) for graduate studies in psychology and he moved to Vancouver to attend SFU, eventually completing his PhD in behavioural psychology.

Roberts considers himself a researcher and a scientist, who also teaches. “It’s because I do research that I am able to teach as well as I do,” Roberts said.

Roberts joined the editorial board for the journal in 2000. In January 2013 he was appointed as a consulting editor for developmental psychology. He was nominated for his latest appointment by the outgoing editor, and had support from Janet Strayer, a retired SFU psychology professor and his PhD supervisor, and Susanne Denham, a psychology professor from George Mason University and editor of two American psychology journals.

In an email, Denham said “Bill is extremely smart but also wise, he knows his science and has high standards, as well as a caring heart.”

Roberts said the nomination was a complete surprise and he was flattered. “It’s really a vote of confidence from a national academic community,” he said, adding that it’s an honour that enhances the visibility and prestige of the department as well as the university.

“I don’t really know what I’ve gotten myself into,” Roberts said jokingly. He is anticipating a heavy workload with his new position, but he hopes to remain an active researcher.

He considers his publishing of research findings a contribution to the larger community, and has collaborated on many projects with other researchers in addition to conducting his own research.

At TRU, he is currently working with Kim Calder Stegemann (a professor in the education department) on researching the ideal characteristics of school teachers. He also assisted Gloria Ramirez and Patrick Walton in the education department on a recently published paper addressing morphological awareness in young children and effects on language.

Roberts said research is led by personal curiosity, and being published is a validation that others find your passions interesting.