Psychology, the scientific study of human and animal behaviour, came into being as a result of historical interest in human nature. Most people are really more interested in human nature than they are in Mother Nature. This is partly due to man’s intense curiosity about the nature of man. In exactly the same way that people want to understand rocks or stars, others want to understand human beings. Behaviour, in the context used by psychology, includes anything a person or animal does that can be observed in some ways.
Scientific psychology is the brainchild of the western culture. As a discipline of study, psychology arrived on the continent of Africa in the early 1960s following the achievement of independent nationhood by many African nations. The Department of Psychology at the University of Ibadan, the premier University in Nigeria, was established in the Faculty of the Social Sciences in 1976. The department graduated its first set of Students in the 1979/80 session.
Since then, it has produced well over 1287 B.Sc., 430 M.Sc. and about 72 Ph.D holders. The Bachelor’s Degree provides students with a solid background in all areas of general psychology while at the postgraduate level, areas of specialization include industrial/organizational, clinical, personality and social, developmental, psychometrics and physiological, legal, criminological and security psychology.
There have been ten Heads of Department (HOD) till date namely, Emeritus Professor D.C.E. Ugwuegbu, Professor V.G. Himmaltrand, Dr. E.O. Atolagbe, Dr. I. Bola Udegbe, Professor S.K. Balogun, Prof. Helen O. Osinowo, Dr. Peace N. Ibeagha, Prof. B.O. Ehigie, Prof. A.M. Sunmola, Prof. S.K.Balogun, and the current Head of Department is Prof. A.O. Adejumo.
In addition to these achievements, the Department introduced the professional master in Managerial Psychology (MMP) programme in 1996. The programme, targeted to meet the needs of Managers in organizations, has attracted a lot of interest from prospective students from banking, manufacturing and service organizations. It is reputed to be first of its kind on the continent of Africa. Another professional Master of Science Degree in Legal, Criminological and Security Psychology programme began during the beginning of 2002/2003 Session.
Similarly, the department, in responding to the need to project its activities, introduced a high quality news bulletin with the name Ibadan Psychologist. The bulletin widely circulates among psychologists, and social scientists within and outside Nigeria. This move has been facilitating an interchange of information and ideas between the department and other interest psychologists round the globe. It is hoped that this news bulletin, published yearly, would include news about other psychologists whose activities have relevance for positive changes in the development of psychology in Nigeria.
The Department of Psychology at the University of Ibadan has, since inception, witnessed tremendous growth in both student and staff populations. From just a handful of students at inception the department can now boast of a total number of 954 students. This is made up of 241 undergraduates, 175 academic masters and Ph.D. The total number of professional Masters students (MMP) is put at 55, while the LCS programme has 7 students.
In the area of academic staff, there are 11 Professors, 1 Reader, 3 Lecturer II, 2 Assistant Lectures. The department also has a human laboratory where experiments are conducted. Although it has not been so adequately equipped as at present due to a shortfall in funding, the laboratory still serves the department a useful purpose. The department also has an animal laboratory and a Rat Colony behind the faculty.
The Department of Psychology at Ibadan does not lag behind in the utilization and application of information technology. As a matter of fact, the department has set the pace at the University of Ibadan in this and other regards. It has procured for each one of its higher-level Lecturers Computer notebooks, which is used for research and teaching. The acquisition of the laptop has improved teaching at postgraduate level with the use of PowerPoint to enhance presentation of materials to students. Each lecturer also has a computer Desktop which allows each to link with the interest since the world has become a global village.
With the very dynamic minds that adorn the department, it is hoped that, in spite of the unavoidable problems being presently faced, the Department of Psychology, University of Ibadan will continue to occupy its place of pride in the committee of intellectuals world over.