The College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri welcomes Dr. Brenda Lohman as Chair and Professor of the Department of Human Development and Family Science. Dr. Lohman joined the MU faculty on August 1, 2019, after an extensive national search.
Previous to joining the faculty at Mizzou, Dr. Lohman was Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education in the College of Human Sciences at Iowa State University. Dr. Lohman provided oversight for research conducted by her former College of Human Sciences students, faculty, and staff, which was backed annually by more than $21 million in external funding. She also oversaw the office of distance learning and IT for the College, as well as supported faculty development programming. “We are extremely fortunate to attract someone with Brenda Lohman’s experience and expertise to be the Chair of HDFS, noted Dean Sandy Rikoon, “She has an amazing track record as both a faculty member and campus leader and I am absolutely confident she will provide the leadership necessary to maintain the high national reputation and standing of Mizzou’s HDFS department.”
At Mizzou, the Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) produces around $4 million dollars annually in research grant expenditures. HDFS current and past students as well as faculty have won state, national and international awards for this research. “I will work to support, encourage, and elevate Mizzou students and faculty so that we can continue to excel at the local, national, and international levels.” Dr. Lohman remarks. “When you combine HDFS’ research expenditures with the tuition income from their high volume of student credit hours, the department produces a return of investment for the University of more than $5 for every $1 invested, which has to be one of the highest ROIs on campus,” Rikoon states.
Dr. Lohman is known for her research in adolescent health and family policy, particularly for underrepresented youth and families who are economically disadvantaged. She studies the predictors and consequences of adolescent obesity, explores adolescent romantic relationships and sexuality, and identifies predictors of academic or educational outcomes. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as by private foundations. She was an Investigator for the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station and a Faculty Affiliate of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. Her honors and awards include the 2004 Society for Research on Adolescence Social Policy Publication Award for the Best Journal Article. She also received the Outstanding Professional Paper Award from the National Council on Family Relationship’s Families and Health Section, in 2010.
She joined the Iowa State University faculty in August 2003 and was promoted to professor in July 2016. Formally, she served as director of graduate education in human development and family studies for 6 years. While at Iowa State, Dr. Lohman worked with the students, faculty, and administrators to increase enrollment in graduate studies and draw higher caliber students, increase enrollment of underrepresented students, and reduce the time to degree completion for doctoral students. While growing the doctoral program at Iowa State, Lohman and her colleagues in HDFS also established an online master’s degree program in youth development in order to increase access to graduate programs for students who could not come to campus.
“I look forward to carrying over my skills to Mizzou in the areas of student recruitment, completion, and online learning. Beyond our outstanding research-intensive doctoral program, HDFS at Mizzou has a large online presence in professional practice degrees which provide workforce development to Missouri to help improve the lives of children and families in the state. Our HDFS Mizzou Alumni help care for and educate young children, youth and the aging, support children who are hospitalized and their family members, and provide support to individuals, families and communities through social services as well as 4-H and Family Extension programming,” Dr. Lohman explains.
At the graduate level, students can enhance their service careers in youth development, community and family services, and gerontology by earning a Master’s degree completely online. At the undergraduate level, HDFS at Mizzou trains students for careers in Child Life, Child Development and Education, as well as Families and Lifespan Development. Students in our early childhood programs are provided with a strong foundation in child development and opportunities to train directly with children in preschool settings, such as our Child Development Laboratory School. Students who live at a distance and want to focus on caring and educating young children can earn an undergraduate degree online.
“For all of these programs, our goal is to improve the lives of individuals and families. We do so by training the next generation of professionals and scholars. We have alumni working in every county of the state and across the nation. HDFS faculty, staff and myself work to inspire continued academic excellence through recruitment, mentoring, and encouragement of all students — and pledge to promote and support the college and university’s core values of Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, and Excellence,” Lohman states.
Dr. Lohman’s leadership experience also extends to serving on college and university committees, faculty mentoring committees, and as an elected committee member and officer for professional organizations, such as chair of the National Council on Family Relations: Family Policy Section; Co-Chair, Society for Research on Adolescence, International Young Scholars Program; and Board Member, GP-IDEA, Human Sciences Board of Directors. As a past-public policy chair of the National Council for Family Relations, Dr. Lohman worked to improve people’s lives by informing public policy at the national level. She also co-chaired the International Young Scholars Program of the Society for Research on Adolescence, which draws together emerging scholars to interact with senior research leaders from across the globe. Lohman is “excited to bring my work and training in family policy to Mizzou and collaborate with colleagues in the Human Development and Family Science’s Center for Family Policy and Research (CFPR).” The CFPR has an outstanding history of translating research to practice and we are working to strengthen those relationships across the state and beyond.
Dr. Lohman holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; a Master’s degree in developmental psychology from Illinois State University; and a Ph.D. in human development and family science from The Ohio State University.
As Department Chair, Dr. Lohman succeeds Drs. Larry Ganong and Jean Ispa, who led the department from July 1, 2008 through July 30, 2017 before retiring. “I am honored to serve as the Department Chair in Human Development and Family Science at Mizzou. The program has a long reputation of being a leader in the field,” Dr. Lohman exclaims, “I have thoroughly enjoyed my first few months and I look forward to continuing to get to know, support, and work with the students, faculty, staff, and alumni to continue to build upon the department’s preeminent reputation.”