By Carol Haig, CPT, and Roger Addison, CPT, EdD

Where were you in 1962? We took a quick survey here at TrendSpotters Central to answer that question. Roger was working at Teaching Machines Inc. in Albuquerque, New Mexico, while he figured out where to go to college and what to study. Carol was in her junior year at Bayside High School in New York City. She had never heard of human performance technology (HPT) or performance improvement.

In 1962 ISPI, as we know it today, was formed as NSPI, the National Society for Programmed Instruction, in San Antonio Texas. The first President was Gabriel Ofiesh, EdD, colonel, U.S. Air Force. Even though we were both very young then, TrendSpotters has taken a look back to see what was happening in the world the year that NSPI was founded and what the earliest members were involved in. So whether you were a part of that founding membership, knew the professionals who were, were too young to remember, or were not yet born, we bring you a curated snapshot of the trends of 1962, followed by a quick look into the beginnings of ISPI.

Events
As NSPI was established in San Antonio, world leaders included President John F. Kennedy of the U.S., Prime Minister John Diefenbaker of Canada, President Charles de Gaulle of France, and Prime Minister Harold Macmillan of the UK. Together, they and other heads of state faced the threats presented by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Brazil beat Czechoslovakia to win the World Cup, and the San Francisco Giants lost the World Series to the New York Yankees.

  • Average annual income was $5556
  • Average monthly rent was $110
  • A new car averaged $3125
  • And the gas to put in it was about 28 cents for Regular
  • One dozen eggs cost 32 cents
  • It cost 4 cents to mail a letter
  • Your yearly tuition at Harvard University was $1520

The Arts and Entertainment
In 1962 William Faulkner won the Pulitzer Prize for his last novel, The Reivers. The Academy Award for Best Picture went to Lawrence of Arabia. Gregory Peck won Best Actor for To Kill a Mockingbird, and Anne Bancroft was named Best Actress for The Miracle Worker.

90% of U.S. households owned a television.

The top 10 songs of the year in the U.S., according to Billboard Magazine were:

  1. Stranger On The Shore Mr. Acker Bilk
  2. I Can’t Stop Loving You Ray Charles
  3. Mashed Potato Time Dee Dee Sharp
  4. Roses Are Red Bobby Vinton
  5. The Stripper David Rose
  6. Johnny Angel Shelley Fabares
  7. The Loco-Motion Little Eva
  8. Let Me In Sensations
  9. The Twist Chubby Checker
  10. Soldier Boy Shirelles

And Spider Man was created. Sadly, Marilyn Monroe died, but Brian Epstein signed a management contract with the Beatles.

Science and Technology
Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published.  Lt. John Glenn Jr. was the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth. James Watson and Francis Crick shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA–the double helix. And Albert Sabin developed the first oral polio vaccine that was given to millions of children. The New York City subway introduced an unmanned train.

The Genesis of Human Performance Technology

Against this backdrop, picture the founders of NSPI/ISPI and the beginnings of performance improvement as a profession.

At its founding, NSPI was a U.S.-centric professional association focused on programmed instruction and teaching machines. As HPT models and tools were developed, seminal books were published and practitioners introduced these at organizations around the world, and NSPI broadened the practice of performance improvement as a technology. In recognition of these strides, the society changed its name to ISPI to expand the practice of performance improvement work and ISPI membership around the world.

In 1962, Roger Kaufman was working as a research scientist. He recalls a telephone call from Gabe Ofiesh informing him that he had signed the charter document for NSPI and that he was to start a chapter of the fledgling society in New York, which Roger did.

Gabe was initially a non-believer in the programmed instruction methodology that was cutting edge in education in 1962. But he changed his views about that and was at Sheppard Air Force Base in San Antonio, shaping this new organization that was initially focused on programmed instruction and the use of teaching machines in education.

Roger tells us that Gabe “built the best evidence-based training and performance group in the military,” where most of the earliest NSPI’ers consulted. With the many contributions the U.S. military has made to our field over the years, the early development of NSPI/ISPI under the leadership of a military man is fitting.

NSPI’s First Conference
In 1963, NSPI held its first annual conference at the El Tropicano Motor Hotel in San Antonio. If you attended, here is what you paid.

Hotel:

  • Single $8
  • Double $10.50

Registration:

  • Members $5
  • Non-members $8
  • Pre-registration reduced these costs by $1

Meals:

  • Awards Banquet $3.50
  • Norman Crowder Luncheon $2.25
  • President’s Luncheon $2.25
  • Installation Luncheon $2.25

Conference participants included Lloyd Homme, Jim Evans, Don Tosti, Tom Gilbert, David Wark, Joe Tucker, and Roger Kaufman, among others.

Topics of the Day
Roger tells us that there was lots of discussion, debate, and competition between followers of B.F. Skinner at the Center for Programmed Instruction and others at U.S. industries. There was lots of research and real science in those days. Roger says there was “a little snake oil…which would come later and infect many organizations.”

And So We Close the First 50 Years…
At one time each of us was new to the practice of HPT. What has been your growth path as a performance improvement practitioner? What were the milestones along the way? What part has ISPI played in your journey? What connections and friendships have you made here? Do you consider ISPI your professional home as so many of us do? Why?

As we look ahead to ISPI’s next 50 years, let’s keep our eyes on our emerging professionals. They represent the future of ISPI and of the practice of performance improvement.

Find all the models and tools featured in TrendSpotters at
http://www.ispi.org/archives/perfXpress.htm#trendToolkit

Contact Carol Haig at carolhaig@earthlink.net or at http://home.mindspring.com/~carolhaig
Contact Roger Addison at rogeraddison@earthlink.net