Kip Williams was raised in Seattle, where he studied psychology as an undergraduate student at the University of Washington. He completed his PhD in 1981 at The Ohio State University where he studied under Bibb Latané. Since then he has held a number of faculty positions in both Australia and the United States, including Purdue University, where he has been a professor since 2004. Kip is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Experimental Social Psychology, and the Midwestern Psychological Association. He has won numerous awards for his research, including Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences Research Achievement Award (2011), as well as Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences Faculty Engagement Award (2014) for his continual efforts to educate the general public about the dynamics of ostracism and bullying in school settings. Kip has also served as president of the Midwestern Psychological Association and the Society of Australian Social Psychologists; he is also the current editor of the journal Social Influence.
Kip is widely recognized as the world’s leading authority, conceptually and empirically, on the topic of ostracism and social rejection. This is a topic of immense theoretical and practical importance. It has bearing on fundamental issues not only in social and personality psychology, but also in clinical, developmental, and educational psychology. His research consistently demonstrates that ostracism negatively affects the fundamental need to belong, to feel good about one’s self, to have meaning, and to control outcomes. It is also relevant to public policy, on issues such as bullying in schools. He presents his research widely to the community where it has raised consciousness about the pain of not being included. For example, he has traveled extensively to serve as a panelist for the film Reject in which he and his research are prominently featured.
Kip has also made numerous theoretical and empirical contributions to the understanding of social influence, and social loafing in particular with his work in developing the Collective Effort Model of individual efforts in group contexts. His collaborators will tell you that he is an expert in the study of social loafing, but a stranger to the practice of social loafing.
In addition to his scholarly contributions, Kip is a dedicated teacher and mentor, with many of his students going on to hold faculty positions all over the world. His curiosity is contagious and he can always be counted on to raise his hand first in a seminar.
- My first exposure to the field of social psychology was Kip's undergraduate course at the University of Toledo in 1989. A few weeks into that class, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Kip's love of social psychology and his passion for research were contagious. I was fortunate enough to go on to collaborate with him on a handful of studies as a graduate student, despite completing my formal training under the direction of someone else. And while our experiments did not always work, they were always loads of fun to run. From trust falls to racquetballs, Kip had a unique talent for turning life experiences into clever experimental manipulations and for imparting that kind of creativity to his protégés. Over the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of watching Kip's early musings on ostracism evolve into an impressive and ever-expanding collection of articles, chapters, and books (and now documentary). While others have jumped on and off the rejection bandwagon, Kip continues to pursue this topic with serious appreciation of its importance to society and humble recognition of the work that has yet to be done. Congratulations, Kip, for your well-deserved placement among this esteemed group of social psychologists.
- Kip Williams is a scientist who is able to combine a great mind with a relaxed attitude. Over the years I have come to know him as a warm and intellectual giant. Congratulations Kip, this award has your name on it in BIG letters.
-Ilja van Beest
- Congratulations Kip! This recognition of your influence as a scholar, teacher, and mentor are well deserved. Your support, friendship, and training as my Primary Advisor in the Doctoral Program at Purdue University were memorable and much appreciated experiences. Cheers to your prominent career and your evolving, productive legacy!
-Adrienne R. Carter-Sowell
- Congratulations Kip on this richly-deserved acknowledgment of all your contributions. To me, and to so many others, you have been a terrific mentor and colleague who always makes research and writing projects fun and rewarding. You can always be counted on for a new insight, a challenging question, a supportive comment, or a perfectly-timed piece of humor, all of which is greatly appreciated.
- I met Kip in the fall of 1975 at Ohio State. I was a first-year post-doc and he was a first-year graduate student. Over the years I have given him a great deal of advice. For example, very early on in his grad career, he told me that he wanted to study ostracism. I thought that was a dumb idea. Where could that ever go? So, I told him to write this idea down in his “idea” notebook, thinking that he probably didn’t have a notebook and would soon forget about it. I told him not to renounce tenure at two schools (Drake and Toledo). I told him not to go to Australia where he would probably disappear never to be heard of again. He didn’t follow any of my advice. Look where it got him.
- Beginning with our first days together in graduate school, I have always been in awe of Kip’s exceptional ability to think creatively within a well-defined theoretical context. This quality has been evident in all of Kip’s work over the course of his career, but no more so than in his groundbreaking research on ostracism. Only rarely can someone be credited with single-handedly creating a major research domain in our field, but this is precisely what has happened with the topic of ostracism during the time since Kip introduced it in the mid-90s. It has been a great privilege to be his colleague—and to have learned much from him—throughout my entire career.
- Though teaching and research can be a schism,
Needing both heart and empiricism,
Kip does both with ease,
An example of these;
To study, but not practice ostracism.
- Kip made an indelible mark on how I approach psychological questions. First, he taught me how to situate all of my questions within the bigger picture of extant theory. He also taught me how to think beyond a single study and think more programmatically. Kip taught me invaluable lessons about the publication process, not only by mentoring me through my first few manuscripts but also by providing me opportunities to co-author several ad hoc manuscript reviews. He taught me that although productivity in data collection is imperative (he often said “having new data is like Christmas”), tenacity is one of the biggest predictor of success in publishing – I could only have papers accepted by submitting them (and revising…revising…revising). Finally, Kip taught me the value of generosity. Kip is generous with offering publication opportunities to his students and is dedicated to lobbying for his students to be first-authors as much as possible. Kip’s tutelage opened doors for me that continue to afford me opportunities as I establish myself as a young faculty member. I endeavor to “pay it forward” with my own students and communicate Kip’s lessons to future budding scholars.
- Kip is truly an outstanding mentor. I am most grateful for his habit of thinking big and inviting students to do the same. Rather than discourage a student from pursuing a research idea because of practical constraints, he helps the student find a way to not only make the study work, but to make it awesome. Now, it is true that his feedback can be intimidating at times. His students would be lying if they told you that the sight of Kip raising his hand during one of their presentations doesn’t strike some fear in them. But research ideas always emerge from his questioning stronger than they were before. And he always provides the guidance needed for an idea to reach its full potential. Since I met Kip he has constantly challenged me to push the boundaries of my own comfort zone, turning me into a more creative researcher and a more well-rounded person.
- It’s great to have people like Kip Williams in the field. He has great intellectual curiosity and creativity, and he has pursued his research with diligence and good humor. I’m proud to count him among my friends. It’s great to see him receive this recognition.
- I could not ask for a more engaged and motivated colleague than Kip Williams. It has been my pleasure to sit on numerous thesis and dissertation committees with Kip. His ability to cut to the heart of a research question is simply inspiring and always serves to improve and clarify the project. Kip is deeply curious and passionate about his research topic and his enthusiasm is contagious. He is well deserving of this recognition.
- Kip expected graduate students to fully engage the life of academia. At our social program at the University of Toledo in the early 1990s, Kip encouraged us to critically evaluate everyone's research proposals, even his. He set high expectations as a professor, and demanded us to confront science with open minds. Social Psychology happened everywhere, not only in the lab, in the classroom, or during our Friday research presentations. We discussed it at conferences (mostly MPA), and at social events such as dinners, watching football, camping, even on an urban canoe trip down the Swann Creek through the city of Toledo. We were not just students, we were colleagues on a journey to study social psychological phenomena. Reviewing his publication list demonstrates that he has continued to engage his students as colleagues as they are often coauthors. His many former students now conduct research and teach at many institutions on multiple continents and his legacy of expecting excellence will be conveyed to generations of students.
- This tribute for Kip acknowledges the tremendous impact he has made on the field of social psychology, his collaborators, and especially his students.
- Kip is an extraordinary mentor. He instilled in me confidence and a positive way of thinking. Thank you for been so supportive and inspiring, Kip!