Students studying outside the library

Reid receives Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award

November 10, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Dr. Alliston K. Reid, a professor of psychology at Wofford College, has received the Governor’s Distinguished Professor Award. He was one of five finalists from four-year institutions for the Governor’s Professor of the Year Award and was among 28 professors considered for the statewide award.

Reid, a native of Cheraw, S.C., is a 1975 graduate of Wofford College. He returned to Wofford in 1996 after 15 years of teaching and research at Eastern Oregon University, Duke University and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City. He previously won eight awards for teaching excellence in psychology and computer science, teaching in English and in Spanish. He has obtained research grants from National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Mental Health, U.S. Forest Service, South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, Oregon State System of Higher Education, and Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología. Reid served as chairman of the psychology department at Wofford College from 1998 to 2004.

Reid’s research interests lie in the basic mechanisms of learning and memory across species. His approach to these topics involves the experimental analysis of behavior with rats, pigeons, and humans, along with mathematical modeling and computer simulation of these basic processes. Students are involved in all aspects of this research and frequently are coauthors of published papers and conference presentations.

An innovative example of how Reid has engaged his students is his “rat basketball” competition using laboratory rats. Teams of students used principles they learned in class to teach standard lab rats to “play basketball” by placing a small ball through a hoop, set in a miniature reproduction of Wofford’s Benjamin Johnson Arena. Fun for all, “rat basketball” has received national and international attention in the media and in the academic world and was featured on local and national television news (

“Dr. Reid has built an impressive program at Wofford, and it has a significant effect on students,” says Dr. Benjamin B. Dunlap, Wofford College president, “but the most important influence on individual students is his purposeful and personal interaction with them. Dr. Reid’s students say they are inspired by his enthusiasm and passion for his field and by his devotion to them His work is teaching at its best – he inspires, challenges, engages, encourages, and affirms students in learning and in developing their abilities.”