Expert in temperament development Maria Gartstein to chair psychology department

Closeup of Maria "Masha" Gartstein
Maria "Masha" Gartstein

Professor Maria “Masha” Gartstein, an expert in developmental psychology, has been appointed to serve as chair of the WSU Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) beginning Aug. 16, 2023.

Gartstein currently directs the Clinical Training Program in psychology and heads the Infant Temperament Laboratory while also teaching graduate and undergraduate courses and seminars. 

“Dr. Gartstein’s extensive leadership experience, both within and outside WSU, have prepared her well to take on this role, and I am excited to work with her and her colleagues to advance the next stage of the department’s development,” said Todd Butler, CAS dean. 

“As chair, I look forward to leveraging the WSU Psychology department’s many strengths in student success, scholarship, and community engagement to expand the visibility of our programs and training opportunities,” Gartstein said. 

In addition to facilitating faculty connections across the WSU system and supporting the growth of interdisciplinary collaborations, she intends to focus on fostering “greater communication beyond typical academic channels and translating the transformative research under way in the department to showcase our work and its impact, particularly to our communities and stakeholders,” she said.

Since joining the psychology faculty in 2002, Gartstein has taught a variety of courses, from abnormal and developmental psychology to professional ethics and child and adolescent therapy. She has also published broadly from her research, much of it focused on the evaluation of early childhood temperament development. 

Working individually and with students and research partners at institutions across the United States and abroad, she has led examinations of the biological underpinnings of temperament and parent–child interactions and attachment. Her international research collaborations include novel studies of cross-cultural differences in infant temperament development.

Research projects Gartstein has been involved in have received more than $6 million in external grant funding, and her work has been featured in numerous national and international media, including the 2020 Netflix documentary “Babies.”

Frequently invited to serve on graduate student committees, she also routinely mentors psychology undergraduate research assistants in her laboratory and advises other WSU undergraduates interested in careers in clinical/developmental psychology.

Gartstein has served on many WSU committees at the department, college, and University levels, including as director of the National Science Foundation-sponsored ADVANCE at WSU Program. In 2021, she received WSU’s Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Service Award for the Advancement of Diversity. 

A member of several professional organizations, she has also served on the editorial boards of top journals in her field and is active in local community health organizations. 

Gartstein earned her doctoral degree in psychology at the University of Cincinnati in 1997. She succeeds David Marcus, who will return to the psychology faculty after serving eight years as department chair.

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