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Study Of Child Development Is Educator's Interest


Willard Clifford Olson
The Michigan Alumnus 22

As Director of Research in Child Development, WILLARD C. OLSON, Professor of 
Education, has general direction of 
the University Elementary School, which was, completed just a year
 after he came to Michigan as Asso
ciate Professor in 1929. His research interest, in a broad sense, 
 has been the study of human
 growth, and in the laboratory for
 this purpose which the Elementary
 School has proven to be, he has
 found material for numerous pub
lications and for a monograph now 
in preparation.

Dr. Olson was born
 on October 8, 1899, at Annandale, 
 Minnesota, and attended the Uni
versity of Minnesota, which awarded
 him the B.A. degree in 1920, M.A.
 in 1924, and Ph.D. in 1926. His
 undergraduate work was interrupted 
by the World War in 1917, and he 
was in attendance at the Infantry
 Central Officers Training School, 
Camp Pike, Arkansas, at the close 
of the war.

He started teaching as 
an undergraduate in 1919 as Assist
ant in Educational Psychology at 
Minnesota, and after a period in 
public schools as a teacher of sci
ence, principal, and superintend
ent, he returned to Minnesota, 
 where he was successively Assist
ant, Instructor, and Assistant Pro
fessor in Education. At the same 
time he was an investigator with 
the Institute of Child Welfare and 
the Minneapolis Child Guidance
 Clinic.

In 1926, he was made a 
Fellow of the National Research
 Council Board of Fellowships in the
 Biological Sciences, during that 
year developing the "Time-Sampling 
Techniques" for increasing the
 
validity and reliability of observa
tions of human behavior described
 in his monograph, "The Measure
ment of Nervous Habits in Normal 
Children." Professor Olson spent a
 leave of absence in 1935-1936 vis
iting various clinics and schools in
 Europe, and, in 1939-1940, was a
 consultant of the Division of Child
 Development and Teacher Person
nel of the American Council on 
Education, commuting between Chi
cago and Ann Arbor to teach and
 perform consultation duties on two
 campuses. In addition to member
ship in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi, 
 Phi Delta Kappa, and Tau Kappa 
Epsilon, he has served as Secretary 
of the American Psychological Asso
ciation, 1937-1938, is a former Vice-
President of the American Ortho-
psychiatric Association, and is 
President-elect of the Michigan 
Psychological Association.

He is 
serving currently on the Adminis
trative Committee of the School of 
Education and the Executive Committee of the Michigan Child Gui
dance Institute. Recently, he was
 named Chairman of a Committee on 
Application of Research Findings of 
the State Department of Public 
Instruction.

With his wife, Mrs. 
Violet Pickard Olson, and their
 daughter Mary Anne, an entering 
Freshman at the University this 
year, Professor Olson resides at 301 
Barton Shore Drive. Gardening and 
swimming, with occasional fishing 
trips, take up some of his leisure 
hours in the summer, while his 
favorite fall and winter pursuits are
 skating and skiing, and the various 
types of entertainment offered by
 Ann Arbor at that season.