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College of Human Ecology

Michelle Toews named associate dean for research

Friday, February 20, 2015

Michelle Toews, professor at Texas State University, has been named associate dean for research for the College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University by John Buckwalter, dean.

Currently she is assistant director for graduate studies and research in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences at the university in San Marcos. She was named following a national search.

Michelle Toews

Michelle Toews

“Dr. Toews’ experience in securing extramural funding and publishing high quality research in her area of expertise will be an asset,” Buckwalter said. “We look forward to her leadership in collaborations that strengthen our entire college’s research portfolio.”

The college brought in close to $13 million in external research funding last year for projects ranging from solutions to domestic violence and healthy relationships to exercise and cancer.

The associate dean will be instrumental in providing leadership in the coordination, implementation and assessment of K-State 2025-related research, scholarly and creative activities, and discovery for the college, Buckwalter added.

“I will serve as an advocate for research needs so that faculty and student researchers can do their jobs even better,” Toews said.

She lists three goals she hopes to accomplish in the college: encourage interdisciplinary teams to enhance the quality of research; establish a research mentoring program between junior and senior faculty; and promote research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.

“There are lots of opportunities in human ecology for interdisciplinary and translational approaches to research,” she said. “K-State is in a great place to advance research that improves the health and well-being of families both in the community and in the nation.”

K-State’s and the college’s reputation drew her to the Flint Hills. “The opportunity to be a part of that work is very exciting for me,” she said.
Plus, she added, she welcomes getting back to her Midwestern roots.

Toews received a Ph.D. in human development and family sciences, with a minor in research methods and statistics, from Ohio State University, where she also earned a Master of Science degree.

Her main research interests include dating violence, conflict and co-parenting during separation and divorce, and adolescent parents’ romantic relationships. She has published and presented numerous papers in these areas.

She has been involved in qualitative and quantitative research, as well as the scholarship of teaching and learning.

“I love doing research. It is exciting to go out and find answers to a question,” she said. “I especially enjoy applied research, using research to serve others. I hope I can use my experience in that area to explore research opportunities in the College of Human Ecology, as well as serve the Manhattan area.”

At Texas State, Toews served as a research mentor for students and junior faculty. “At K-State I hope to be involved with students, providing them with opportunities to engage in research,” she said.

“One of the important reasons we need to focus on students is that they are the next generation of scholars,” the professor said. “But even if they have no interest in conducting research, they need to understand and appreciate quality research. They are consumers of research, and research should inform their practice.”

Toews has received more than $4.9 million from the Administration for Children and Families to develop, implement and evaluate the Strengthening Relationships/Strengthening Families program, which focuses on teaching healthy relationship, money management and job readiness skills to pregnant and parenting adolescents.

She has taught courses such as Cultural Diversity of Families, Research Procedures in Family and Consumer Sciences and Family Policy.

Toews serves on the editorial board of Marriage and Family Review. At Texas State she has received presidential awards for excellence in service, scholarly activity and teaching.

Toews and her husband, Jason, have two daughters.

Prepared by College of Human Ecology communications

This article was posted on Friday, February 20, 2015, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design, Center on Aging, College News, Family Studies & Human Services, Food, Nutrition, Dietetics and Health, Hospitality Management, Kinesiology.