Rothermel Bascom Professor of Human Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Professor, Civil Society and Community Studies, School of Human Ecology (SoHE)
Outreach Specialist, Youth and Community Development, Wisconsin Cooperative Extension
As a professor, I use the tools of the trade – teaching, research, practice – to help promote youth development, student achievement, and community empowerment.
- I conduct research on adolescent and community psychology. I focus on youth and adults (youth workers, teachers, public officials) working together, as partners, to build a civil society. My research is cross national, including Malaysia, Canada, Portugal and Northern Ireland.
- I teach (formal and experiential) in the classroom and community. My teaching and outreach focuses on organizational learning, student engagement and belonging, community based research, civil society, and volunteer development. I am currently co-leading SoHE’s creation of a professional master’s degree in Human Development and Community Change.
- I strengthen the connections between higher education and community. I established the SoHE graduate program in Civil Society and Community Research (2010) to prepare students to use community-based research in efforts to promote the common good. I was the founding director (2009) of the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Non Profits (now the CommNS) that supports community organizations through applied research and youth worker training. My most recent effort is the Community Consulting Firm (2015), staffed by graduate and undergraduate students, to provide assistance to community organizations.
Prior to becoming a professor, I worked for 15 years as a youth advocate, a legislative policy analyst, and a director of a community-building organization. With my colleagues, I helped establish “positive youth development” as an influential theory of adolescent psychology and as an asset-based approach to youth work. I have also worked to create community-wide networks for youth worker training, and to establish “youth-adult partnership” as a best practice in community work.
My PhD is in developmental psychology (Cornell University). My undergraduate degree is in applied social psychology and political science (Columbia University).
All of my work is done through intergenerational and cross-disciplinary collaboration. Some of the specifics are listed below (under the “tabs”) and my web site on youth-adult partnerships.