Retirement of Judy Fischer

The last time Texas Tech completed a semester without Judy Fischer on the HDFS faculty, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, Walter Cronkite still anchored the CBS Evening News, and the first music album had yet to be released on compact disc.

Now, after 35 years with us (1979-2014), Judy has retired. Among her career milestones, Judy chaired the HDFS department from 1993-1999; was elected as a Fellow by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in 2009; served as program chair of the 2013 NCFR conference; served many important roles with the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family; won Texas Tech’s President’s Academic Achievement Award (2007); and chaired countless students’ Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

On a more personal side, Judy always looked after new faculty members, whether it was making sure they had a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner if they were staying in town or inviting them to sample Lubbock’s folk/country music scene. She frequently made her home available to HDFS parties and celebrations (which we hope she’ll continue to do!).

2014-08-22 12.04.33Like any diligent scholar, Judy accumulated a lot of academic journals and research articles (both her own and others’) over the years. With the ready availability of electronic versions, however, such hard copies are no longer really necessary. Many people still prefer hard copies, though, so Judy made them available to anybody who wanted them, as seen in the next photo.

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Judy will still be around the department, analyzing data, writing up manuscripts, and guiding to completion some graduate students with whom she has long worked. In the hearts and minds of Judy’s colleagues and former students, of course, her ties to Texas Tech will always remain intact.

Anyone wishing to share their thoughts may do so via the comments feature.

Categories: Faculty | 1 Comment

Ph.D. Alum Cat Pause Returns to Promote New Book

Cat Pause (pronounce Paus-ay), a 2007 Ph.D. recipient in our program and since that time a Lecturer in Human Development and Fat Studies Researcher at Massey University in New Zealand, returned to Lubbock in July to discuss her new book (co-edited with Jackie Wykes and Samantha Murray) Queering Fat Embodiment. More than 20 people attended the event, including several Texas Tech HDFS faculty and grad students, faculty from other departments, Texas Tech staff, and members of the community. Pictured below (left to right) are Dr. Lynne Fallwell (History and Honors College), Dr. Elizabeth Sharp (HDFS), Cat, and Dr. Kristina Keyton. Dr. Sharp organized the gathering.

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Here’s another picture of Cat and Elizabeth.

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The page for the book can be accessed by clicking here, whereas the publisher has made Chapter 1 of the book availble  free online at this link for those interested in getting a preview. The Texas Tech library has added the book to its holdings, although it is checked out at the moment!


Dr. Keyton, who completed her Ph.D. with us in 2012 and remained on board to teach several classes, will begin as a full-time faculty member at South Plains College in the fall. We thank her for her service to the department and we will miss having her around the department (although she won’t be too far away).

Categories: Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research, Uncategorized

Summer 2014 Briefs

Dr. Jeff Wherry, who served on our HDFS faculty for six years before moving to become the founding director of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Research Institute, is featured in this Dallas Morning News article.

Dr. Stephanie Shine, director of our Early Childhood training program for students who plan to teach children up through grade 6, has announced a welcoming event for EC majors. There will be a barbeque on Wednesday, September 3, from 6:00-7:30 pm in El Centro of the Human Sciences building.

The East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood program, with which Dr. Shine is also involved, is running a book-donation drive for children in the program. If interested, you can click on this link to be taken to a registry of children’s books for the drive at

Dr. Yvonne Caldera reports that Mary Sciaraffa, “my very first graduate student here at Tech back in the 90s,” has obtained tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Mary’s ULL faculty webpage is available by clicking here.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Teaching, Undergraduate Students

Ph.D. Alums Eng and Frederick Featured in NCFR Family Focus

The Summer 2014 issue of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Report is out, with article contributions by two of our Ph.D. alumni. Both articles appear in the Family Focus insert, which has the theme of Early Childhood in this issue. The contents of the issue are listed here, but full-text of the articles is available only to NCFR members.

Sothy Eng, a Professor of Practice at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, is co-author of the article “Home-based preschools in village communities: Lessons from field work in Cambodia,” with graduate students Anu Sachdev and Whitney Szmodis.

In addition, Helyne Frederick is co-author with two of her Eastern Kentucky University faculty colleagues, Carol Patrick and Lisa Gannoe, on the article “HOT tips for early learning.” In this case, HOT stands for Higher-Order Thinking.

Categories: Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research

Video of Michael Kimmel Talk

The Michael Kimmel talk was a big success, attracting an estimated 350 people (see posting immediately below for background information).  The talk was videotaped and can be viewed at this link. Access is restricted to those in the Texas Tech community (i.e., eRaider log-in is necessary). Congratulations to Dr. Elizabeth Sharp, graduate student Rebecca Oldham, and others for putting on such a great event!

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 (Photo of, left to right, Dr. Sharp, Dr. Kimmel, and Rebecca, added on May 28, 2014.)

Categories: Uncategorized

Gender Scholar Michael Kimmel to Speak

Stony Brook (NY) sociologist Michael Kimmel, author of the book Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, will speak at Texas Tech in the evening of April 15. Our department is the lead sponsor, thanks to the work of Dr. Elizabeth Sharp and others. The key information for the event, as it appeared on TechAnnounce, is available here. (The MCOM building refers to Media and Communication, which is the very tall tower that formerly hosted the Rawls College of Business Administration; see campus map.)

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome Back & News Briefs (Spring 2014)

We’re back in session for the Spring 2014 semester. We hope everyone had a nice holiday break. Here are a couple of brief news developments…

*Dr. Elizabeth Sharp was featured in the online publication Feminist Times (link; she is pictured at left in the photograph when the new page comes up). Dr. Sharp is now back at Texas Tech after completing a two-year visiting fellowship in England at Durham University’s School of Applied Social Science.

*Dr. Jeff Wherry was featured in the “Impact” newsletter of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (click here and then scroll to page 6).

Categories: Faculty, Research

HDFS Students, Alumni, and Faculty at 2013 NCFR Conference in San Antonio

Texas Tech University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies was well represented at this year’s National Council on Family Relations conference, held November 5-9 in San Antonio, Texas. Alongside the River Walk and the Alamo, our faculty, current graduate students, and graduate-degree alumni presented their research. Several undergraduate members of our local Tech Council on Family Relations also attended, to learn about graduate training and career options working with families. Dr. Judith Fischer served as Program Chair of the conference, lining up plenary-session speakers and organizing the full array of research presentations at the meeting. The following pictures (which you can click on to enlarge) show the extensive participation from our department. In fact, a good way to view the pictures is to click on the first one (thus enlarging it) and then keep clicking on the right-hand arrow to advance the slide show. Readers can also consult the conference program to see the titles of the presentations.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research

Fall 2013 Mid-Semester Briefs

Several HDFS faculty members and graduate students presented their research projects and teaching ideas before various audiences during the first half of the Fall 2013 semester:

  • Dr. Jacki Fitzpatrick, a TTU Teaching Academy member, shared some of her innovative instructional techniques at the university’s annual Faculty Academic Contributions Exhibit (FACE) and at the annual Engagement Scholarship conference, a national meeting that Texas Tech hosted this year.
  • Dr. Sylvia Niehuis presented a paper (co-authored with TTU colleague Dr. Alan Reifman and Florida State’s Dr. Christine “Coco” Readdick) at the German Pairfam (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics) conference in Munich. The Pairfam is a large, longitudinal data set that is available for scholars worldwide to conduct analyses. The PowerPoint slideshow from the talk (in PDF form) is available through the conference program.
  • Two HDFS doctoral students were scholarship winners at the Texas Tech Graduate School’s annual Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Research Conference: Timothy Oblad ($125) and Rachel Engler ($100).
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research, Teaching

Research/Humanitarian Project in Africa

HDFS faculty member Malinda Colwell and graduate studenMalawi in Africat Holly Wright participated this summer in a unique research and humanitarian project in the African nation of Malawi (map from Wikimedia Commons). Along with faculty colleagues Mary Murimi (Nutritional Sciences) and Markus Miller (Animal & Food Sciences), and student assistants of these professors, Malinda and Holly traveled to Malawi to study the effects of nutritional assistance on behavioral and physical markers of child development. Malinda wrote the following first-person account of her summer trip and provided the accompanying photos.

I am part of a multidisciplinary team of faculty and students working on a research project in Malawi, Africa. We are assessing the effects of goat meat consumption on young children’s development, as well as the health of the children and their mothers. Malawi is the third poorest country in the world. And, although people have access to some food, it is not nutrient rich. Therefore, people often die from malnutrition and more specifically, a lack of protein in their diets. The participants are fed goat meat 5 days a week and we then assess the children’s development in all domains (social, emotional, physical, cognitive).  This summer, Holly Wright, an HDFS graduate student and I (along with other faculty and students from various departments) traveled to Malawi to work with the families and to collect the developmental data from the children. Our project is a partnership with Circle of Hope International (COHI), a non-profit that provides food, education, and housing to orphaned children in Malawi. We will continue to collect developmental data from the children every 3 months for a year. We hope that the addition of goat meat to the diet is associated with increase in health and development for the young children in Malawi.

The people in Malawi are very friendly and welcoming. I especially enjoyed spending time with the children, who are fascinated by “azungus” or “white people”. The children are very curious and have a lot of questions about the United States and they are eager to help visitors in any way. Although the people are living in extreme poverty, they are full of joy and thankfulness. Malawians are relational and hospitable people. They take time to greet each person in a group and they have a sincere interest in each other’s welfare. It was refreshing to be among people who spend so much time investing in one another and in their relationships.

The travel was exhausting and very long. But, when we arrived at the Grace Center, all of the children greeted us with singing, lots of smiles, and a welcoming ceremony and that made the long, tiring travel worth it! One of my favorite things about Malawi is the silence and the natural sounds, particularly at night. There is not consistent electricity in the village where we stayed. So, other than the sound of a generator we had for a couple of hours each evening, at night we would hear people singing from our village and surrounding villages, animals, and people talking. There weren’t the electronic sounds of computers, phones, etc. and it was refreshing. I didn’t really realize how much “noise” we have in our lives until that “noise” was all gone.

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Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Outreach, Research

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