Associate Professor and Graduate Committee Chair
Ph.D. University of Minnesota
Areas of Specialization:
My research focus has two key branches. First, I work to understand the social determinants of mental health in adolescence. Drawing from a variety of theoretical perspectives, such as the Stress Process Model, I focus on four key determinants: social network structure, perceptions of social relationships, stress exposure and the self-concept. Second, drawing from social psychology and network theory, I study both the predictors and consequences of faculty networks. I am the principal investigator for the Faculty Network and Workload Study (FNWS). An NSF-funded study that has collected two waves of data on faculty about their network ties to other faculty (research and friendship), academic climate perceptions (e.g., collegiality and organizational commitment), and productivity (in research, teaching and service). The purpose of the FNWS is to gain insights into how to retain and promote faculty at research intensive universities. As such, I examine how the structure of networks among faculty within academic departments varies across status characteristics, such as race and gender. I also study how a faculty member’s position within their department network shapes their perceptions of collegiality, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. The common link in my two lines of research is the application of social network methods.
At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I have taught four different classes. I teach the core required Research Methods courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level. I have developed an undergraduate course on the Sociology of Mental Health and a graduate seminar in Social Network Analysis. As the Director of Graduate Studies, I also lead a Professional Development Seminar for the first year graduate students. In the past, I have also taught an undergraduate class in Social Psychology.