by Patricia McBroom
An outstanding teacher and pioneering social psychologist from Berkeley has been chosen as U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Christina Maslach, professor of psychology, was chosen from a field of 196 distinguished professors from doctorate-granting universities throughout the country.
She was honored Oct. 23 at a reception sponsored by USA Today in Washington, D.C., one of several events that will recognize Maslach's unique contributions to undergraduate education.
Three other professors were also chosen to represent four levels of undergraduate education from community colleges to research universities. Maslach is the 1997 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Outstanding Research and Doctoral Universities Professor of the Year.
Few members of the faculty have made a more humane impact on Berkeley's student environment than Maslach.
She has served for three years as the campus's top administrator on the status of women. Before that,she headed a major campuswide study of student responses to a changing student body. She currently serves as vice chair of the psychology department, where she has begun a curriculum aimed at teaching new PhDs how to teach.
Her own courses in gender and psychology draw hundreds of students each year. She won Berkeley's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1987.
Maslach has published extensively on the phenomenon of workplace "burnout." Her current book, "The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It," is slated for publication in November by Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
With co-author Michael P. Leiter, professor of psychology at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Maslach argues that burnout in individual workers "says more about the conditions of their job than it does about them.
"Contrary to popular opinion," write the authors, "It's not the individual but the organization that needs to change, especially in the present work environment."
"We have the material for a thousand Dilbert cartoons."