If asked to describe myself professionally to those who don’t know me, I am…
An instructor in family life quality sciences
I lead students seeking to learn what research tells us about families, for both their own professional and personal purposes.
A researcher and theorist in family life quality sciences
I conduct research intended to discover more about how we can help increase family resilience, stability, and progress.
Following more than 30 hours of interviews with low-income couples who considered their marriages to be healthy, I worked with other scholars in developing a theory of how individuals evolve in their perception of their intimate partner relationships as healthy or unhealthy.
I have been fortunate to author successful grant proposals (e.g., $1,000,000 federal grant in 2005), and have published journal articles and reports related to family life quality sciences.
I also regularly produce brief essays in support of pro-social causes, as well as commentaries on lighter topics such as my sports interests.
A facilitator, often at a community level, and even at an international level
There is nothing that gives me more personal fulfillment than to bring people of common purpose together, and to help organize, plan, and coordinate their work to achieve the “big, hairy audacious goals” we have agreed to target.
My experience includes endeavors to address goals like (a) involving families in structured neighborhood youth development programs, (b) growing a community-wide culture of relationship education, (c) raising appreciation for the value to both employers and employees to pursue an acceptable level of work/life balance, (d) initiating a community engagement project among colleagues purposed to benefit children in low-income homes, and (e) cultivating a cooperative agreement between my own employer and major universities in Southeast Asia.
I routinely work with individuals to help them discern how best to prepare themselves to achieve what they desire to achieve with their lives.
Someone who loves conceiving and constructing creative new ways to solve problems
For example, as the new, and only, full-time faculty member coordinating a program where the student-to-faculty ratio was 3x the average of the rest of the university and 6x that of the rest of my department, the prospect of carving out sufficient time to teach and advise was a challenge. In response, one of my strategies was to create online self-advising tools for the program’s students, greatly reducing the time necessary to satisfy students’ need for assistance.
If asked to describe myself as a person to those who don’t know me, I am…
A strong believer that compassion, trust, accountability and optimism are foundational to making all of our lives better
Like many people, I want to be the kind of person who routinely empathizes, who chooses to see the best in people, and who grants the benefit of a doubt until it has been proven to be undeserved.
I want to be one who holds himself accountable, and who only imposes accountability on others when it has been invited or when to fail to do so is unjust to others.
In that same vein, I desire to be known as a person who others find to be easy to get to know, easy to relate to, and unlike perhaps what is typically perceived about those in my profession and who hold a terminal degree, I want people to think of me as being down-to-earth and unpretentious.
I want to be someone who is a realist about what is, but who is an idealist about what can be.
Like others, I want to be one of those who contribute to this world at both the big picture level–which, thankfully, my profession has allowed me to do–and at a smaller picture level, within my social circles, and extending beyond that to the greater community. For instance, the journey of adolescents to establish confidence in themselves while learning humility and appreciation has been a specific intrigue and concern to me since my own adolescence. As a result, my free time has sometimes been committed to wilderness experience activities, and at other times to CASA volunteer work on behalf of children in the foster care system. It is a blessing–one that I do not take lightly–that I have had the chance to pursue those and other passions that speak to my heart.
I accept that to be human is to be less than I should be in a wide variety of ways at any given point in my life, and that my human purpose is to recognize my flaws and to work toward becoming something better than I am.
I accept a life philosophy that everyone is endowed by their Creator to live, to enjoy rights that are consistent with liberty, and to pursue life fulfillment.
As a consequence of all of the above, I reject life philosophies that assert it is reasonable to measure my worth or that of any other person in terms of wealth, power or authority over others, intellectual acumen, or physical attractiveness.
Rather, the measure of any of us amounts to a rubric of love, faith, justice, and hope.