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Brunoniana

From Martha Mitchell’s Encyclopedia Brunoniana:

Colvin, Stephen S.

Stephen Sheldon Colvin (1869-1923), professor of educational psychology, was born in Phenix, Rhode Island, on March 29, 1869. He prepared for college at Worcester Academy and graduated from Brown with a bachelor of philosophy degree in 1891. He was awarded a master of arts degree upon examination in 1894. During these years of study he also reported for the Providence Journal and the Evening Telegram and taught rhetoric at Brown from 1892 until 1895, when he went to study at the Universities of Berlin and Strasburg. His thesis for his Ph.D. at Strasburg in 1897 was Schopenhauer’s Doctrine of the Thing-in-Itself and his Attempt to Relate it to the World of Phenomena. He taught English at Worcester Academy from 1897 to 1901, and continued his studies under G. Stanley Hall at Clark University, becoming interested in educational psychology. From 1901 to 1903 he was assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois. He returned to Brown for one year as assistant professor of philosophy before his return to the University of Illinois, where in due time he became head of the department of psychology. When he came back to Brown in 1912 he was the first professor of educational psychology. In 1919 he was also named director of the School of Education. He gained national recognition for developing intelligence tests and for disagreeing with Thomas A. Edison on Edison’s tests which were used to screen employees for manufacturing companies. Colvin introduced his tests to Brown, and according to his obituary notice in the Providence Journal, “His mental tests for students aroused much interest throughout academic America, and to his efforts along these lines Brown University owes its present position of being the institution which has had in operation mental testing in connection with educational guidance longer than any other college or university in the country.” He published The Learning Process in 1911, Human Behavior with William C. Bagley in 1913, and Introduction to High School Teaching, an extensively used teacher-training text-book, in 1917. Colvin left Brown in 1923 to become professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia, where he had taught during the summer. He died suddenly from a heart ailment on July 15, 1923 in New York City.

The above entry appears in Encyclopedia Brunoniana by Martha Mitchell, copyright 1993 by the Brown University Library. It is used here by permission of the author and the University and may not be copied or further distributed without permission.


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