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Robert Sternberg joins Human Ecology faculty Feb. 1

Robert J. Sternberg

Psychologist Robert J. Sternberg has been appointed professor of human development at the College of Human Ecology, effective Feb. 1.

Announcing the appointment, Alan Mathios, the Rebecca Q. and James C. Morgan Dean of the College of Human Ecology, called Sternberg an “outstanding scholar and engaging teacher” and said: “His work closely aligns with the strong tradition of scholarship in the fields of cognitive and social development that currently exist in the Department of Human Development. This appointment caps a series of new hires that will significantly increase the department’s footprint in developmental psychology and will contribute to the strength of psychology more broadly at Cornell.”

Sternberg, who served most recently as president and professor of psychology and education at the University of Wyoming, said: “What excites me about Cornell is that it combines a land-grant mission with a commitment not only to maintaining its overall excellence, but to striving constantly to be better and even the best at what it does.” He added: “My world view and my research are very closely aligned with the ecological/contextualist tradition espoused by Urie Bronfenbrenner, so I feel like a particularly good fit to the Department of Human Development, in particular, and the College of Human Ecology, in general.”

With research interests in intelligence, creativity, wisdom, thinking styles, leadership, ethics, and love and hate, Sternberg is a past president of the American Psychological Association. He also was president of the Eastern Psychological Association, the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences, and the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology, as well as treasurer of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Sternberg earned his B.A. in psychology (1972) at Yale University and his Ph.D. in psychology (1975) at Stanford University. He holds 13 honorary doctorates from 11 countries. Sternberg is the author or co-author of more than 1,500 publications and was principal investigator of grants totaling more than $20 million.

Before his tenure at the University of Wyoming in 2013, Sternberg was provost and senior vice president at Oklahoma State University 2010-2013, where he also served as Regents Professor of Psychology and Education and the George Kaiser Family Foundation Chair of Ethical Leadership.

At Tufts University, Sternberg was dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and a professor of psychology and education 2005-10. At Yale University from 1975-2005, he served in a number of distinguished roles, including as a professor of psychology and of management, as the IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, and as founder and director of the Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies and Expertise.

Calling his new department at Cornell “the top human-development group in the country,” Sternberg added: “I never have felt so welcome in my life. My wife, Karin, our just-turned 3-year-old triplets, Samuel, Brittany and Melody, and I are very excited and enthusiastic about our move to Ithaca.”

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John Carberry