James Beryl Maas (born 1938) is an American social psychologist, past professor at Cornell University, and former Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, and Chair of the Psychology Department for 8 years. He is best known for his work in the field of sleep research, specifically the relationship between sleep and performance. He coined the term "power nap" and wrote the best-selling book Power Sleep. He holds a B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell. Maas has produced numerous film specials on sleep research for PBS, BBC, and others.
As reported in the January 27, 1995 issue of the New York Times, an arts College ethics committee (since disbanded) recommended sanctions against Maas for sexual harassment. On June 23, 1995 the Cornell University Administration published a press release released by Henrik Dullea, vice president for university relations, that noted: "Professor Maas was not found in its present proceedings to have either had, or sought, an intimate sexual relationship with any of his students nor to have engaged in the physically abusive behaviors often associated with the term 'sexual harassment.' Professor Maas has had a long history of dedicated service to Cornell University and its students, faculty, staff and alumni. It is the University's hope that with the conclusion of this proceeding, that service will continue." He continued as a distinguished professor and award-winning university mentor for 18 more years until his retirement on December 31, 2011.
For his teaching, Maas has received the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Teaching Award, Cornell's Clark Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Merrill Presidential Scholars Award (four times) for being an outstanding mentor at Cornell.
For a total of 48 years, Professor Maas taught Psychology 101 (now entitled Psych 1101) at Cornell. Over the course of that time, the class achieved a "near-mythical status" and often had enrollments of 1,948 students, making it one of the largest classes in the country. The class size required a large venue, Bailey Hall, the university's main concert hall. He has instructed over 65,000 students in his career.