Dr. Marcia L. Weinstein '74

As a teacher, I've learned that solid grasp of the subject matter is only one of several essential ingredients for success.
Marcia L. Weinstein, PhD
Professor of Psychology, Salem State University

After graduating from Princeton University in 1974, I went directly to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where I earned a PhD in Developmental Psychology in 1978. That summer, I married Richard Steinbrook, MD, who was in a residency program at Harvard Medical School, and moved to Boston. My experience teaching psychology at UPenn, particularly during summer sessions, reminded me that I'm happiest in a classroom, discussing ideas face-to-face. I accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of psychology on the faculty of Salem State College (now University), where the emphasis for professional advancement is placed on teaching quality rather than research productivity. During the subsequent decades, I earned tenure and promotions to associate professor and then full professor there. Graduate school meets at night at Salem State U. and I preferred to be at home with my husband and our growing family, so most of my work at SSU during the past 39 years has been with undergraduate students. I've taught Introduction to Psychology, Neuropsychology, Developmental Psychology, and Seminars (advanced writing) on a variety of topics.

As a teacher, I've learned that solid grasp of the subject matter is only one of several essential ingredients for success. Classroom presentation in ways that students' attention will be sustained demands a grasp of basic theater arts. Assessment strategies can have a major impact on students' retention of new information, so awareness and application of relevant research in cognitive psychology is important, regardless of the topics under study. 

SSU takes pride in serving a diverse student body; many of its undergraduates are the first in their families to earn a degree from a four year university. The Learn Explore Aspire Pursue (LEAP) program, which is situated in Salem and has been around for 15 years, takes pride in helping students from challenging backgrounds to achieve their potential. I was honored to receive their 2017 Educator Award "in recognition of [my] commitment to education and [my] positive impact on the lives of youth and their academic advancement."

Regarding leadership roles, perhaps I'm best known at SSU for founding and developing the Psychology Colloquium Series, which has become a tradition over the past 30+ years. Although it was initially a professional development activity for my colleagues in the Psychology department, it is now a semi-annual, community-building event. It brings together approximately 200 faculty from a variety of fields (depending on the particular speaker), administrators, students, alumni, and professionals from the surrounding communities to enjoy a jazz brunch, followed by a lecture by a renowned researcher or clinician, such as David Hackett Fischer'58, Howard Gardner, and Robert Sternberg.

No description of my roles at SSU would be complete without making reference to my enthusiastic continuing education in Dance. Colleagues and students have grown accustomed to seeing me change from dressed-up-to-lecture/lead-seminar into dance clothes and head out to a studio or fitness center on campus to enjoy ballet, aerobics, Latin ballroom, or (most recently) Zumba sessions. During recent summers, I've volunteered on campus to help our Zumba instructor with choreography for new material that she will be introducing in Wellness U (employee fitness program) during the following academic year.