Norman Solkoff

Published August 8, 2018

Norman Solkoff, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and a longtime faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry, died July 26 in London, England. He was 85.

Solkoff earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College in 1954 and master’s and doctoral degrees in psychology from the State University of Iowa in 1957.

He served as an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining the UB faculty in 1963. He was promoted to associate professor in 1966 and to full professor in 1971. He also held an appointment as an associate professor in the Department of Psychology, beginning in 1967.

A widely published author and researcher in the fields of learning psychology and mental health, Solkoff also contributed heavily to the university as an educational innovator and administrator. In 1986, he founded the Office of Teaching Effectiveness, which was responsible for workshops, seminars and conferences to aid teaching assistants and faculty in developing and enhancing their teaching skills.

He also organized several faculty conferences on teaching effectiveness, developed a prototype for a SUNY-wide development program for tenured faculty, and oversaw teaching evaluation programs for department chairs.

Among his numerous awards and honors were the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (1973), the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Excellence in Teaching Award (1979) and the Jacobs School’s Psychiatric Residents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching (1986-87).

He also served as chair of UB’s Faculty Senate from 1980-81.

Solkoff retired from UB in 1995 and moved to London. In his retirement, he continued his lifelong study of the Holocaust, authoring “Beginnings, Mass Murder and Aftermath of the Holocaust: Where History and Psychology Intersect.” The book, published in 2001 by University Press of America, documents the complex ways in which politics, economics, culture and social forces interacted with individual motivations to produce the Holocaust.