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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?LSU was my first job after completing my Ph.D. at the University of Delaware. I will always be grateful that LSU gave me a chance as a fledgling rookie.
What brought you to LSU?First, the search committee was proactive in recruiting me and asked me to apply. There were more impressive scholars on the market but the folks in my department looked closely at fit. When I came to interview, my future colleagues were warm, engaging and supportive of my research. For me, it felt like home.
What is your research interest?I study how and why religious faith influences marriages and families. With my research colleague Dave Dollahite of Brigham Young University, I have compiled a national qualitative data set based on interviews with nearly 200 families. I also have a special interest in African-American marriages and families.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?In terms of research, I want to produce nationally recognized work that focuses on how to build strong marriages and families. Further, I want this research to be accessible to my friends in extension and to the people of the nation and state. In terms of teaching, I want my students to have a learning experience profound enough to positively influence their long-term personal, professional and family lives. I also want them to retain enough research-based knowledge that they can still earn a B on my exam a year after graduating from LSU. For some reason, I havenít had many students come back to take that one-year exam.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?My immediate colleagues are some of the finest people I have met. However, what I enjoy most about LSU is my students. I could write a thick book on mistakes I have made in front of LSU classes but the students have been forgiving of my mistakes, quirks and long, hand-numbing essay exams.
What are your major accomplishments?Every once in a while, after their carpal tunnel from the aforementioned essay exams has subsided, a student will drop me a note to let me know that their time in the Family, Child, and Consumer Sciences program improved their personal and professional lives. Being a part of that is pretty hard to top. What I am most proud of, however, is my 13-plus-year marriage to my wife, Sandra, and our five kids. In the Family and Child discipline, you study all day and then you go home for the daily practice-based exam. I think I got a C- last fall, but things are looking better this semester.