The founder of the Department of Psychology at NCCU was James E. Taylor whom Dr. James E. Shepard, founder of the university, hired in 1927 to teach courses in education. His challenges as a teacher and his awareness of the expanding behavioral science literature persuaded Taylor to incorporate psychology theories and principles into his classes. He urged Dr. Shepard to offer more psychology courses and, later, to establish a psychology major. Dr. Shepherd appointed James E. Taylor to chair this new department in 1927. With the creation and offering of four psychology courses, the undergraduate psychology department was established in 1939. The graduate psychology program was later established in 1945.
The building in which the department is housed was renamed the Taylor Education Building in honor of the founder and first chair of the department, James E. Taylor. Although the decision to dedicate the building in his honor was made 12 months before his death, Dr. Taylor died 3 months before the building was officially dedicated to him at the 1960 Commencement Convocation.
Since its humble beginning in 1927, the Department of Psychology has grown to encompass 10 full-time faculty, over 400 undergraduate and 70 graduate students. Students desiring a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology may choose from 30 psychology-related course offerings, several of which are are offered online. The Graduate Program offers a Master of Arts Degree with either a General or Clinical concentration. Graduates of our undergraduate and graduate programs who have gone on to pursue doctorates in universities across the country have assumed leadership positions in both the private and public sector.
Some persons of note associated with and/or graduates of the program include Dr. Marion Thorpe (deceased), past President of Elizabeth City State University, Dr. Norman Anderson, past CEO of the American Psychological Association and Dr. Elwood Robinson, former chair and the first Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at NCCU, and the current Chancellor of Winston-Salem State University.