Since completing a doctorate in Human Development and Social Policy in 1997, my scholarship has focused on asset-based and citizen-led development, and public policy, equity, and social justice. I remain committed to conducting research that is socially relevant and that bridges the academic and community domains. The body of work I have produced over the last 20 years is best described in the categories associated with the scholarship of engagement. These include discovery/ research, integration/positioning the work in a larger interdisciplinary context, sharing knowledge within and outside the academy, and the application of knowledge in the real world. All of my efforts in these areas reflect both a particular interest in community development, gender, and social justice, and a belief that the academic enterprise is obligated to integrate its pursuits with community issues and collaborative processes that contribute to the public good.
I was a member of the faculty at Northwestern University for ten years between 2005 and 2016, where I conducted research in communities and taught classes on the family, philanthropy, gender and the life course, and action research methods. I was also a member of the adjunct faculty at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, regularly teaching a course on US social welfare policy. As a regular guest lecturer, I contributed to courses at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, the Center for Urban Research and Learning at Loyola University, the Jane Addams School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, and the Chicago Area Project at Harold Washington College. In each teaching opportunity, I endeavored to bring the community engagement approach to a broad audience of students.
As a colleague of John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann at the Asset-Based Community Development Institute for 25 years, I contributed broadly to the institute's community-building research. In addition to authoring many of the institute’s publications, I have worked extensively with community groups, designing community-based participatory research projects, and partnering with them on the implementation of those efforts. My research has taken me beyond the traditional definition of community, exploring the application of asset-based community development principles in nonprofit and philanthropic settings, as well as to specific areas of interest, including health and aging.
Through research, consulting, and publications, I have built a body of scholarly work that reflects my dedication to community-engaged learning.
Please download my current CV to review a complete list of research and consulting activities or contact me to discuss opportunities for working together.