Faculty Farewells

Faculty Farewells Image

This semester we are not saying goodbye, but see you later, to two of our beloved colleagues. 

John Riskind with a student at the 2019 Honors ShowcaseLinda and Jane Flinn Traveling

      Dr. John Riskind          &       Dr. Linda Chrosniak

A little about both of the faculty members...

Dr. Linda Chrosniak

Dr. Chrosniak came to the university in.    She received a B.S. degree in psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas and her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from The George Washington University. Her areas of research interest include implicit and explicit memory, cognitive aging, stress, and health. More recently her interests have included the interaction effects of stress and cognitive processes and their effect on health and health behaviors. As a faculty member - her main roles were working with students in the Psychology Honors Program and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. 

She was the director of the Psychology Honors Program for 17 years, since 2003.  She has also mentored graduate student TAs in research methods for nearly 20 years, which is "a real teaching assignment" in her own words. She developed a curriculum for some courses such as research methods and the writing-intensive portion of the course and developed a course directly relevant to the Health Psychology minor in the psychology department. There is no stop for her commitment to her students as she has also served on about 30 dissertation committees and about 20 master’s theses.  While the research was not her own focus, she conducted a number of research projects over the years and has had many conference presentations and a number of published papers.  In addition to collaborating on research projects at Walter Reed for 6 years.  She has given invited addresses at several conferences and presented on stress and health in a variety of community settings. Served on the Undergraduate Committee for 17 years and on the Mentoring Committee for 7 years. Served as a judge at the Undergraduate Research Symposium every year since its inception.  Then, lastly, serving on the Teaching Excellence committee several times through the years.

Her published work has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, Psychology and Aging, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Military Medicine.

She was nominated for a University Teaching Excellence Award in 1992 and 1999 and was a recipient of the University Teaching Excellence Award from George Mason University in 2000. She also received the Teacher of the Year Award from the GMU chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology in 2003 and 2005. She was the recipient of the BIS Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2010.

Dr. John Riskind

He came to the university in 1985 as a specialist in cognitive-behavioral research, treatment, and theory of anxiety, mood, and related disorders. His most recent book, Cognitive Vulnerability to Emotional Disorders, with Lauren Alloy, appeared in 2006. He has also currently completed two books with Neil Rector, Looming Vulnerability: Theory and Applications to anxiety (for Springer Press, 2018), and Anxiety and Depression Co-morbidity: A Transdiagnostic Theoretical and Clinical Approach (for Guilford Press, 2020). As a faculty member - he taught undergraduates and graduate students, supervised around 17 Ph.D. dissertations, mentored many Honors students, and he has seen many of them pursue successful careers after they have left Mason. Along with having been on numerous CHSS and University committees.

He has published numerous journal articles in cognitive-behavioral, social-psychological, and psychiatric journals as well as many chapters. Riskind has been the editor or associate editor of several cognitive-behavioral journals and is the editor of the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy. He serves on the Executive Boards of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, where he is also a Founding Fellow and the International Association for Cognitive Psychotherapy. He previously held the position of Director of Research at the Center for Cognitive Therapy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1983-1985.

Words From John Riskind 

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time with us at Mason?

"I am proud to have contributed to the success, growth, and recognition of the department and clinical program from when I joined the faculty to where it is today. I also feel pride in my own scholarship and in the body of work and theoretical model I produced. My model faced a great deal of initial skepticism and resistance because it addressed anxiety and its cognitive content in a different way than had been taken before. I am also proud of undergraduate and graduate students I mentored who have become researchers and gone on into academic careers or other walks of life and benefited from my mentorship."

Have you or do you plan to continue scholarly activities post-retirement? Tell me about these activities, and why or why not?

"Yes. I will be continuing scholarly activities and I have several international collaborations with researchers in this country in progress.  I am working on several manuscripts and have begun working on the outline for a book on the integration of social psychology into cognitive-behavior therapy. I am on the board of an international cognitive therapy association, will continue to attend and present work at conferences, review manuscripts for journals, and remain the editor of the International Journal of Cognitive Therapy."

How do you think students will remember you, your research, and your classes?  

"I hope that some will remember me as being a good mentor and stimulating to work with or to have learned from."

Any advice for your now-former students and colleagues? (life, career, etc.) 

"Try to live with balance in your life.  Try to enjoy your work even if it is not always exciting. Be healthy. If you are in a university, get to know colleagues in other departments.  It is intellectually stimulating."

What are three things you will miss about your time in our department and at Mason? 

"I will miss many of my colleagues but hope to see many of them post-retirement.  I will miss the intellectual stimulation from being an active member of the university but have set my life up so that I will continue to have this.  When I miss teaching in the future, I know I will arrange opportunities to do this.."


Words From Dr. Chrosniak..

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time with us at Mason?

"Wow, it is hard to say, but a few things stand out in my mind. I feel that I was able to mentor, teach and support many students in ways that helped them grow as scholars and as individuals.  I also spent many hours outside of class talking with students who said they felt comfortable asking me for help or guidance and they often let me know that that support was helpful to them.   Also, I am extremely proud of the success of students in the Honors Program in Psychology.  These students really challenged themselves, and they certainly grew as scholars as a result of their experiences in the program.  This was really where I felt I made a difference for many students.  Finally, I had the opportunity to mentor over 100 graduate students for nearly 20 years, as they began their roles as instructors, often in the first semester, when they were assigned to be TAs for research methods. This was very meaningful to me."

Have you or do you plan to continue scholarly activities post-retirement? Tell me about these activities, and why or why not?

"My plans are somewhat undecided at this time, but I have some professional writing I plan to do and also plan to collaborate with a former colleague in writing as well. I hope to expand on my interest in stress, cognition, and health and present this research and information to a broader audience.  I am also thinking about a book on topics regarding what I have learned about teaching and college students – we will see.   Right now, I plan to spend more time with my family and travel as much as possible."   

How do you think students will remember you, your research, and your classes?  

"I think they will remember that I cared about them first as individuals and then as students. I think they will remember that I respected them and supported them all, but also expected them to do their best and that I challenged them to do so.  I expected them to learn and develop conceptual knowledge so they would become educated and not to just work for a grade."

Any advice for your now-former students and colleagues? (life, career, etc.) 

    • Well, I think for my former students, I would say do your best always and the results will pay off. You will learn and become a scholar.  Listen to others, seek advice and communicate with your professors, and then decide the course of action.  I have learned that what we see in others at first is not all there is to someone. Think the best of others and let them show you who they are.
    • For my colleagues, I would say keep doing what you are doing. You are all amazing and I am honored to have worked with you.  Truly I have been inspired by many of you over the years and you have made me a better person.

What are three things you will miss about your time in our department and at Mason? 

    • I will miss the students so much.  I love teaching and mentoring and seeing their academic success and also their personal growth, so this is very hard to leave behind.
    • I will certainly miss my colleagues.  Leaving at the time of a pandemic did not allow time to see everyone and have that last cup of coffee, quick hallway conversation, or that time to complain about typical issues that arise such as late papers coming in from students.
    • Simply put, I will miss my job (except for grading papers).  I was fortunate to have a career that was truly meaningful to me. 

Farewell picnic