The University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Psychology will honor Dr. Ken Nikels, a UNK emeritus professor of psychology, Friday night (Nov. 16) by naming a laboratory for him.
The laboratory will officially become the Kenneth W. Nikels Physiological Psych Laboratory during 5:30 p.m. dedication ceremonies in Copeland Hall, Room 330. Dr. Nikels, who joined the campus in 1971, was instrumental in designing the first physiological psychology laboratory in Founders Hall. He served as chair of the department from 1979-1983.
“A hallmark of the department’s undergraduate program is the research experience provided by advanced topical area laboratories,” said Dr. Rick Miller, former departmental chair and professor of psychology. “Ken initiated this important innovation.
“He also added interdisciplinary tracks, including comprehensive majors in human factors, psychobiology and a minor in gerontology,” Dr. Miller said. “As chair, he was instrumental in designing Copeland Hall facilities for psychology.
“Ken’s focus has always been on teaching, and he served as regional coordinator and later as president of the Council of Undergraduate Psychology Departments—an organization whose primary mission is the improvement of teaching,” Dr. Miller said. “He also encouraged our involvement in the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association—still the department’s major regional focus, and for many years was the secretary of that organization, receiving their Distinguished Service Award in 2001.”
In 1987, Dr. Nikels became dean of Graduate Studies and Research. During his tenure, he was involved in the transition from Kearney State College to UNK as well as the creation of the Research Services Council, Undergraduate Research Council, the Office of Sponsored Programs and Student Research Day.
He also served as the assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and coordinated the UNK Centennial Celebration, the North Central Accreditation visit and the publication of “The Prairie Mosaic.”