Shana Levin Installed as Crown Professor of Psychology

CMC professor and George R. Roberts Fellow Shana Levin was installed as the Crown Professor of Psychology during a luncheon ceremony on March 6 at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum.

Levin currently chairs the psychology department and is the third academic (via endowments from the family of Trustee Steve Crown '74) to be installed as a Crown Professor at the College.

Attending the ceremony, along with Levin’s husband and her mother, were Crown, CMC President-Elect Hiram Chodosh, President-Emeritus Jack Stark '57 GP'11 and his wife, Jil, and Trustee and co-chair of The Campaign for Claremont McKenna, Tom Mitchell '66. President Pamela B. Gann gave remarks as well as Trustee David Mgrublian '82 P'11, chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee.

"Shana's installation as a Crown Professor of Psychology is the gold coin of the realm in higher education,” President Gann said in her introductory remarks. “You must be an exceptional teacher and scholar, and Shana is that. She’s a superstar A+++."

Gann continued by praising Levin for her energetic participation in a variety of campus issues.

“We at a liberal arts college put a great deal of emphasis on being a huge and positive contributor to the community at large,” Gann said. “Whenever we’re talking about an interdisciplinary committee that needs to look at one of the hardest issues in our community, within one minute, Shana Levin’s name will be mentioned. She is extraordinarily generous with her time and talent.”

Dean of the Faculty Gregory D. Hess, the James G. Boswell Professor of Economics and George R. Roberts Fellow, mentioned that Levin is a true “teacher-scholar” who spends “countless hours” with her students, mentoring and tutoring them.

“It is an exceptional honor to be your colleague,” Hess said in awarding the bronze medallion signifying her installation. “And thank you for all you do for the College.”

Upon receiving the medallion, Professor Levin laughed and remarked that she hadn’t felt this particular feeling since her wedding.

“I told my kids this will be like getting a gold medal in the Olympics,” she said. Levin thanked her family for the huge support they’ve given her in the “incredible work-life balancing act” she performs every day.

As part of her installation, Levin gave a presentation on the topic "Universal and Culture-specific Predictors and Group Prejudice." Her remarks addressed what has become a major theoretical challenge for experimental and social psychology––that is, to devise general principles of human behavior that can retain explanatory and predictive value in changing historical, cultural, and political contexts.

Much of Levin’s research examines group identification, group dominance motives, and intergroup attitudes across cultures.

Levin’s presentation became interactive when attendees were given the opportunity to answer questions regarding assimilation and multiculturalism via clickers on each luncheon table.

The Crown Professor of Psychology installation is just the latest in a long line of honors for Levin. In 2012, she received the G. David Huntoon Senior Teaching Award at CMC. In addition, Levin has published more than 50 journal articles and book chapters and has co-authored the book, The Diversity Challenge: Social Identity and Intergroup Relations on the College Campus.

As part of Levin’s installation, Steve Crown, who majored in economics and psychology at CMC graduate, and has been a Trustee for 30 years, was recognized with the 41st Jack Stark Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his dedication of time and money to CMC projects, including the funding of three Crown Chair Professorships (with Levin receiving the latest one).

“Investing in the faculty is one of the single most important things we can do,” said President Pamela B. Gann, “and Steve Crown is great evidence of that.”