Thomas Shuell

Published June 25, 2018

Thomas J. Shuell, professor emeritus of counseling, school and educational psychology in the Graduate School of Education, died June 21 in Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. He was 80.

A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Shuell joined the UB faculty in 1967 after receiving a BS in general science from Oregon State College, serving as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy — he was aboard the USS Eldorado off the coast of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis — and receiving a PhD in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

His research and publications were in the field of learning theories and educational paradigms, particularly the use of technology strategies, and issues of multimedia authorship. In particular, he is credited with inventing a technique for equating the amount learned by fast and slow learners so that their memories could be adequately compared.

In related work on individual differences in learning and memory, he studied organizational strategies, meaningfulness and distributed versus massed practice, among other variables.

A fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA), Shuell authored 40 book chapters and numerous scholarly articles, and presented more than 70 papers at professional meetings.

He was president of the Northeastern Educational Research Association, the APA and the Northeastern Educational Research Association. He also served as editor of Educational Psychologist and the Newsletter for Educational Psychologists.

In 2004-05 he received a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Award to the National College of Ireland in Dublin, where he served as the Distinguished Chair of Learning and Instruction.