Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned a Ph. D. in Business Administration at the University of Alabama and a master of arts degree at the University of Alabama. I earned my bachelor’s degree at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. I’m head of the department of housing and consumer economics in UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
In 1981, Dean Emily Pou, the fourth dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, asked me to come to Athens for a part-time position to work on a Southern Regional Housing Research Project sponsored by the Agricultural Experiment Station. I then applied for and earned a tenure-track assistant professor of housing position in 1982. Thirty years later – the rest is history.
What are your favorite courses and why?
Housing and Household Technology and Systems. I also enjoy teaching the Internship Orientation Course HACE 5900.
What interests you about your field?
The study of housing is multi-dimensional and is always changing. Housing is often the largest expenditure most families make, and it is often misunderstood. I enjoy helping families, consumers and communities identify their housing needs and finding alternatives.
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
- Being able to be a part of creating programs that enrich the lives of our students, e.g. the Legislative Aide Program, Washington D.C. Study Course, Study Abroad in London, Family Financial Planning as a major and the Residential Property Management emphasis.
- Being named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor.
- I am thrilled to have been here to watch the growth and development of this wonderful university into one of the premier public research institutions in the country.
- Being elected to the Athletic Board to represent the faculty has been very rewarding.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching?
They are interdependent. I include my research and that of my colleagues in the classroom so that the students are always on the cutting edge of the field.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
I hope they have a desire to make a difference in the world. I enjoy watching students become involved with the department, college and university, and applying what they have learned to their careers and lives. I also enjoy helping students connect with opportunities that will enrich their professional lives. I love hearing from former students and keeping up with their successes in life.
Describe your ideal student.
I think the ideal student is positive, curious, excited, self-starting, and with a noticeable passion for life and other people.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
My favorite places to be on campus are in Dawson Hall, the athletic facilities and the Founders Garden. I enjoy supporting our student athletes, as well as interacting with all students who come through Dawson Hall.
Beyond the UGA campus…
I like to spend time at home entertaining family and friends on our decks and lawn. I also love to travel to new places.
Community/civic involvement includes….
Being tapped to be a member of the Local Realignment Authority (LRA) was a very special moment in my life. The LRA, composed of 16 community members, was tasked by the mayor to study and recommend the next use of the Navy Supply School property. I also have enjoyed working with the Athens Housing Authority and the Athens Area Council on Aging and having our students involved with Hands on Athens.
Favorite book is Breaking Night by Liz Murray (a memoir of forgiveness, survival and her journey from homeless to Harvard). Favorite movies are When Harry met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. I enjoy romantic comedies with happy endings.
Proudest moment at UGA?
Being selected to lead the department of housing and consumer economics (this has involved recruiting and mentoring the brightest and best junior faculty members from across the nation) and being named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor.