Christine B. Whelan is a clinical professor in the Department of Consumer Science. She is the director of the Money, Relationships & Equality Initiative in the School of Human Ecology. In partnership with the Center for Financial Security, Dr. Whelan teaches and researches on topics of self-improvement, gender, relationships formation, and purpose throughout the life course. Prior to joining the School of Human Ecology, Dr. Whelan was a visiting assistant professor in the sociology departments at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Iowa.
Dr. Whelan earned her doctorate from the University of Oxford for her research on the quest for self-control and self-improvement in America since the 1950s. She continues to research behavioral change literature and programs, incorporating aspects of applied sociology into her teaching. As a nationally recognized expert in the field of self-improvement, Dr. Whelan has authored two books on best practices for emerging adults—Generation WTF (Templeton Press, 2011) and The Big Picture (Templeton Press, 2016)—delivered two TEDx talks on applied purpose, published op-eds in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, Chronicle of Higher Education, and been quoted as an expert on self-improvement in Forbes, SELF, City Journal, and many others.
Dr. Whelan also researches and writes on changing dating and marriage patterns in the United States. She has authored two books shattering myths of hypergamy—Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women (Simon & Schuster, 2006) and Marry Smart (Simon & Schuster, 2009)—and academic articles on mate preferences. On this topic, Dr. Whelan has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the New York Post, and she has been cited and reviewed in The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, and The Washington Post, among others.
View a more current and comprehensive list of media placements on my website here.
“Discussing Money in Relationships” (TV appearance), Live at Four, January 24, 2019
“Doctor’s Tips: How to Cope with Negative News” (TV appearance), News 3 Wisconsin, December 4, 2018
“Self-Help Gurus Like Tony Robbins Have Often Stood in the Way of Social Change,” Washington Post, April 13, 2018
Wellness: Ancient Practices for Modern Times (foreword written with Dr. Charles L. Raison), 2017
“A Roundabout Path to Self-Help”, The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 2, 2013
“Beware of Self-Help Gurus”, USA Today, July 11, 2013
“Marriage is Not a Dirty Word for College Women”, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 2, 2013
“Measuring Mate Preferences: A Replication and Extension”, Journal of Family Issues, with Christie F. Boxer and Mary C. Noonan, Spring 2013
“Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the Twentieth-Century United States”, Journal of Social History, Spring 2011
“Helping College Students Help Themselves”, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 17, 2011
Generation WTF: From “What the &%$@!” to a Wise, Tenacious and Fearless You, Templeton Press, West Conshohocken, PA, 2011
“James Ray and the Dangers of Self-Help”, The Washington Post, October 25, 2009
A Feminist Friendly Recession?, The State of Our Unions, 2009
Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2008
“It Isn’t About the Trash Can”, Washington Post, November 11, 2008
Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2006
In Consuming Happiness (Consumer Science 173), we explore our attempts buy happiness successfully and unsuccessfully in the market economy. From buying experiences to advice, from insurance to marketing practices, from the business of psychedelics to the business of physical fitness, this class is an always evolving look at how to spend our limited resources in keeping with our values to maximize prosocial outcomes and our own individual thriving.
In EcoYou: Belonging, Purpose and the Ecology of Human Happiness (InterHE 201), we offer first-year students an introduction to the human ecological perspective. From the microbes that inhabit our guts to political revolutions sparked by a tweet, human lives are embedded in an ecology of complex, interdependent systems. EcoYou explores opportunities and constraints for individual and shared flourishing as we discuss power and privilege, the need to belong, purpose and meaning, social identity, money and finances, and much more.
In Finance and Families (Consumer Science 273) we explore the intersection of money and love through the life course. From the basics of relationship formation and dissolution to gender and family dynamics and the psychology of money, this class encourages financial equality among members of families of all types. Designed for those students seeking careers in helping professions—financial professionals, family therapists and other relationship-focused careers—this class offers applied tools to develop profitable and equitable relationships with people of all backgrounds.