Dr. Jerald Rudmann - Psychologist, Professor - Mt. San Antonio College
Dr. Jerald Rudmann didn’t do well in high school. He didn’t apply himself, he said, and it wasn’t until he attended classes at Mt. San Antonio College did Rudmann’s path in life become apparent.
Rudmann became a renowned experimental psychologist working with Rockwell International in Southern California on national defense contracts and later became a respected psychology professor at El Camino, Coastline and Irvine Valley colleges.
Rudmann is retired now after a 30-year career as a community college professor, yet he still teaches a class at Irvine Valley College each semester called research methods and continues as executive director of Psi Beta, the national honor society for community college psychology students. The last six years of his teaching career, from 2001 to 2007, he was the supervisor of institutional research at Coastline Community College. His professional accomplishments and honors include a National community college psychology teacher of the year awarded by the Society for Teaching of Psychology, Irvine Valley College President’s Award for outstanding faculty leadership on student learning outcomes, a fellow from the Western Psychological Association and the Research and Planning Group for California Community College’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
"My interest now is how psychology can help student success,” Rudmann said. “Regardless of ability, college students still have to self-regulate their time, their study habits, etc."
Rudmann admits that he spent very little time while in high school self-regulating anything that had to do with cracking the books. But a class in technical electronics at Mt. San Antonio College in 1962 got him hooked on academics and a philosophy and psychology professor the next semester opened up his mind and his world to what could be accomplished if he did apply himself. He received an associate degree from Mt. San Antonio College in technical electronics and started assembling circuit boards and other electronics components in a factory. That grind wasn’t much different than the one his father experienced on the road as truck driver.
Rudmann wanted more.
He enrolled at California State University, Fullerton, got a bachelor’s degree in psychology then a master’s degree in experimental psychology from California State University, Los Angeles. He soon fell in love with a relatively new field of psychology called human factors and became an expert.
"Human factors is the application of psychology to equipment design so it’s easier for people to use and use more accurately,” Rudmann explained in a rehearsed manner, evidence of the many times he’s had to answer the question, ‘what’s human factors?’
Rudmann said the first VCRs were examples of poor equipment designs. No one knew how to program them. Psychologists versed in human factors help designers and engineers make their company’s products sell better because the designs are better.
Rudmann said one of his big successes while at Rockwell was to design a microscope that used “apparent movement” to inspect circuit boards on missiles. Apparent movement is the sensation of seeing movement when nothing actually moves in the environment, as when two neighboring lights are switched on and off in rapid succession.
One eye of the microscope operator would see an image of one section of the circuit board to be inspected and the other eye would be shown an image of a perfect section of that same circuit board. To the mind, any apparent defects become obvious when flashed through the microscope and compared by the viewer’s brain to the perfect section.
While at Rockwell, Rudmann started teaching introductory psychology classes at El Camino College. He later earned his doctorate in education from the University of Southern California and said his experience working in the business world served him well as a professor and made him more relatable to his students.
He said his interests now are in promoting psychology as a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics discipline; facilitating undergraduate research opportunities; developing valid measures of student learning and identifying the characteristics and behaviors of professors who produce high learning in their students.
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