Feldman Named SBS Associate Dean
Professor of Psychology Robert S. Feldman has answered Dean Janet Rifkin’s call to assume the role of Associate Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In this position he will assist Rifkin in managing overall college activities, including the development of a strategic plan and new programs, such as online undergraduate and graduate courses, that will generate new sources of revenue. He will help those departments that currently have online programs, and will work with others to create new areas of online study.
Additionally, Feldman will collaborate with the Center for Teaching to assist SBS and its departments in creating models for strengthening faculty mentoring and improving the undergraduate student experience. Feldman will also work in the area of donor relations, meeting with potential donors and helping Rifkin develop strategic proposals that can be brought to donors, foundations and other potential investors that will enhance the College's ability to meet its multi-million dollar goal during this capital campaign.
“I’m very excited to join SBS as Associate Dean,” said Feldman. “I am looking forward to assisting our extraordinary faculty in developing new initiatives and programs and helping to enrich the educational experience for our students.”
A social psychologist, Feldman studies self-presentation in adults and children, both in terms of nonverbal behavior and how and when they are verbally deceptive. In this research, he looks at how people lie strategically in social interactions and the consequences of this deception. His work has been presented in newspaper and magazine articles and television programs around the country and published in numerous scientific journals. He also is particularly interested in understanding factors that promote academic success in college students to help them make the most of their college experience and to increase retention. Feldman has published a number of books on the subject. His book, P.O.W.E.R. Learning, is designed to teach strategies for academic success to first year college students. It is used at hundreds of colleges, universities, and career schools throughout the United States and Canada and has been translated into Chinese and Japanese. Feldman also edits a monthly newsletter, Spotlight on Student Success.
As a former director of undergraduate studies in the psychology department, Feldman developed the Research and Mentoring Program. He also started the first on-campus first-year experience course for students, and is director of Power-Up for Success. “This annual three-day program for first-year students,” Feldman says, “takes place just before the start of classes in the fall, and it’s also available online. Offering a credit toward graduation, it addresses issues like succeeding academically, becoming involved on campus, choosing majors, developing study skills such as effective time management and test-taking strategies, and understanding UMass Amherst resources. Participating in a small class, students receive personal attention and individual feedback. They get to know other students and develop college-level learning skills.” Hundreds have participated over the last four years, and feedback has been enormously positive.
Feldman, who has been recognized with SBS’s Outstanding Teacher Award, continues to be involved in teaching. This fall he is offering “Strategies for Success” for first-year psychology majors that will extend across the semester. “My goal,” he says, “is eventually to offer the course throughout the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and then to all incoming first-year students on campus.”
Feldman, affiliated with UMass Amherst since 1978, has been a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar and Lecturer and has written more than 100 books, book chapters, and scientific articles. His research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Disabilities and Rehabilitation Research.
“I am thrilled that Bob Feldman has agreed to take on this important new role in the College,” says Dean Rifkin. “His presence will ensure that we will meet the ambitious goals we have set for SBS, ones that will maintain and improve the educational experience for our undergraduate and graduate students, to improve the quality of life for our faculty and will make our over 40,000 alumni proud.”
September 12, 2006
Read more about Robert Feldman.