Todd Kashdan Named Faculty Member of the Year

Posted: April 26, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: April 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

By Leah Kerkman Fogarty

The pursuit of happiness — it’s one of the tenets on which this country was founded. So it’s somewhat surprising that the scientific study of happiness is a somewhat new field.

Todd Kashdan, associate professor of psychology, is at the forefront of this relatively young discipline known as “positive psychology.”

The George Mason University Alumni Association named him the 2010 Faculty Member of the Year at its April 14 Celebration of Distinction event.

Edward Diener, a professor of psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and one of the first to seriously study the science of happiness, says Kashdan is “the entire package as a scholar” and “one of the outstanding young research psychologists in the country.”

Since earning a PhD in 2004, Kashdan has published 77 articles, written 10 book chapters, and given more than 100 presentations.

“Dr. Kashdan is the rare scientist who breathes life into research,” says William Breen, one of Kashdan’s doctoral students. “He has a knack for conveying complex ideas in ways that promote understanding and generate enthusiasm.”

Therein lies Kashdan’s success with the popular media. His work has been featured prominently in the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as on NPR and PBS. He also writes a blog for Psychology Today.

Last year, his book, “Curious? Discovering the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life,” was published. He also co-wrote “Designing the Future of Positive Psychology: Taking Stock and Moving Forward” that same year.

Along with publishing, a large part of Kashdan’s success lies in his teaching.

“Dr. Kashdan is passionate about seeing his students succeed,” says Alex Afram, another psychology doctoral student. “In everything he pursues, be it teaching, conducting research or mentoring students, he gives himself completely.”

Write to gazette at