NCAS Psychology Professor Named Dean of Rutgers-Newark Graduate School

Helen Paxton

By Helen Paxton

Philip Yeagle, interim chancellor of Rutgers University in Newark, has announced the appointment of Dr. Maggie Shiffrar, professor of psychology, as dean of the Graduate School, effective July 1, 2012.

“As dean, Maggie Shiffrar will bring exceptional experience in scholarship, teaching, research and training to the Graduate School,” noted Yeagle.  “She is a nationally respected and frequently published scholar who has also devoted herself to the training of doctoral and post-doctoral students at Rutgers.”

Shiffrar joined the psychology department at Rutgers-Newark in 1991. During her tenure at Rutgers she has served as the department chair, director of the graduate program, and in other leadership roles. Shiffrar has trained 13 doctoral and post-doctoral students, many of whom are now tenured or tenure-track faculty. She also has trained nearly 50 undergraduates as research assistants, most of whom have gone on to graduate study.

Shiffrar’s research concerns the visual perception of the human body, a topic that involves integrated studies of the visual system, the motor system, and social psychological processes. She is currently studying how systematic decrements in visual sensitivity to other people’s actions can give rise to social difficulties experienced by people on the autism spectrum. Her research on the visual system has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, NATO, The Max Planck Institute (Germany), the French Foreign Ministry, The Simons Foundation, and Autism Speaks. Shiffrar has published two edited books and more than 60 scientific articles and chapters. Most of her publications are co-authored with her students.

Shiffrar is an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association (2004) and the Association for Psychological Science (2005) and was the 2003 recipient of the Lansdowne Scholar Award from the University of Victoria in British Columbia. She received a Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research (2008) and a Faculty Leader in Diversity Award (2011) from Rutgers University. She received the 2009/2010 Hosford Scholarship Award for Research Excellence from the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Rutgers-Newark.

Shiffrar was born and raised in California, and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychobiology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her doctoral degree in psychology from Stanford University. Before coming to Rutgers, she held post-doctoral research positions at the Université de Paris V and at the NASA Ames Research Center. Shiffrar resides in New Providence, New Jersey with her partner, Dr. Angele Thompson. 

Rutgers Graduate School-Newark is dedicated to the advancement of scientific and human knowledge in an environment that encourages scholarly inquiry and intellectual growth. Graduate students are expected to develop the analytical and creative skills required for original scholarship, research, and problem solving, as well as a thorough understanding of an academic discipline.

The Graduate School offers master's programs in a broad range of subject areas: American studies, biology, chemistry, creative writing, economics, English, environmental geology, environmental science, global studies, history, jazz history and research, nursing, political science, and public health.

Ph.D. programs are offered in American studies, behavioral and neural sciences, biology, chemistry, criminal justice, environmental science, global affairs, management, mathematical sciences, integrative neuroscience, nursing, psychology, public administration and urban systems. 

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