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Child development researcher earns University of Minnesota’s highest faculty honor

CEHD's Ann Masten named newest Regents Professor

June 26, 2014

For her field-shaping contributions to the study of risk and resilience among children, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents unanimously approved the appointment of Ann Masten as Regents Professor at its June meeting. She joins a select group of professors at the U of M who have earned this highest faculty honor.

“Professor Masten continues to be exceptional in all she does,” said U of M President Eric Kaler. “She has dedicated her career to understanding human resilience, and her insights greatly benefit our society. I look forward to her ongoing research and scholarship and congratulate her on this well deserved honor.”

Masten, Irving B. Harris Professor of child psychology and Distinguished McKnight University Professor, College of Education and Human Development, is an expert on child development, children’s resilience and interventions promoting children’s adaptation in the face of risk, adversity and trauma. Since the late 1980s, she has conducted a series of studies focused on displaced children and youth, particularly looking at homeless and highly mobile children in Minnesota. Additional research areas include immigrant youth, refugees, war survivors and victims of natural disasters.

Masten teaches U of M undergraduate and graduate level courses, including “Behavior and Emotional Problems of Children” and “Developmental Psychopathology.” During the 2014-15 academic year, she will teach a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives.”

Masten has published numerous empirical, theoretical and review papers on risk and resilience, competence and developmental psychopathology. Her publications have been widely distributed to scientists, policymakers and practitioners, and she is frequently invited to speak and consult at the national and international level. Masten coined the term “ordinary magic” to describe how human resilience typically arises from the operation of normal rather than extraordinary human capabilities, relationships and resources.

She has served as president of the Society for Research in Child Development and president of the developmental division of the American Psychological Association. She is a member of the Board on Children, Youth and Families of the National Academies and the U.S. National Committee for the International Union for Psychological Science.

Masten recently received the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contributions to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the American Psychological Association. She is also the recipient of several teaching awards, including the U of M’s Horace T. Morse Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education.

Masten, who received a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the U of M in 1982, will be formally recognized by the Board at its September meeting.

About the Regents Professorship

The Regents Professorship was established in 1965 by the Board of Regents to recognize the national and international prominence of faculty members. It serves as the highest recognition for faculty who have made unique contributions to the quality of the University of Minnesota through exceptional accomplishments in teaching, research and scholarship or creative work and contributions to the public good. The program provides a stipend of $50,000 annually, with $20,000 dedicated to a salary augmentation and $30,000 dedicated to a discretionary research fund. The addition of Masten increases the total number of current Regents Professorships to 30.

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