February 2018 Newsletter


Reflections from the Fellowship Chair:
The Full Cost of Sexual Harassment

by Deborah Daro, PhD., Senior Research Fellow and Doris Duke Fellowship Chair, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

The #MeToo movement has touched virtually every workplace setting, including academic life. Support for female students, faculty, and administrators who have faced any form of sexual harassment was demonstrated at the recent Society for Social Work Research Annual Conference in January. Participants wore black to show support and solidarity for all survivors. Several Doris Duke Fellows played a leading role in organizing this event, underscoring the value the fellowship network plays in elevating issues of high priority to emerging scholars.

In addition to the personal trauma experienced by victims of this behavior, sexual harassment diminishes the learning environment in any department, research institute, or field of study. As Professor Kim Cobb from Georgia Institute of Technology noted in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “There’s a big gray zone between legal sexual harassment and a culture of inclusion. In that gradient, real damage is done on a daily basis that changes people’s lives and changes people’s careers.” When graduate students spend time fending off unwanted sexual advances or dealing with colleagues and faculty who dismiss their claims of such treatment as “misunderstanding a joke,” they are not free to do their best work, nor do they have the opportunity for their work to be reviewed in a fair and objective manner. When women and professionals of color continue to be underrepresented in a department’s tenured faculty and administrative positions, the next generation of students and our assessment of ideas misses out on the value diverse perspectives bring to how we define our research questions, interpret our findings, and use our research to alter policy and practice. Individuals who feel threatened by their colleagues and unsupported by their administrative leaders are not operating in an optimal environment.

We are all challenged to do better. While everyone can agree on the most egregious behaviors to avoid, future discussions need to recognize the more subtle behaviors that undermine trust among colleagues and demonstrate that the institution is often valued more than the individual. We are all responsible for creating a positive environment for people and ideas to flourish, free from harassment or diminishment of any kind.  

1. Mangan, Katherine. (2018). U. of Rochester Report on Professor’s Alleged Harassment Gets Mixed Reviews. The Chronicle of Higher Education, www.chronicle.com/article/U-of-Rochester-Report-on/242241.


Cohort Eight Selection Update

ddf timeline 2.PNG

Interviews with Finalists for Cohort Eight have been scheduled for March. We look forward to our discussions with finalists, and to announcing the newest group of Doris Duke Fellows soon! Stay tuned!


A Conversation with Doris Duke Fellow, Paul Lanier:

paul lainer.jpg

A recent grant recipient for his work on home visitation in North Carolina, Paul Lanier, Assistant Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Cohort One fellow, took a moment to connect with Mickie Anderson to discuss his research plan, grant writing tips, and how being part of the Doris Duke Fellowships network has and continues to impact his work. See what he has to say below:

Mickie Anderson (MA): You recently received a grant from the Winer Family Foundation and The Duke Endowment. Congratulations! What motivated you to apply for this grant? Can you tell us what your plans are with this grant funding?

Paul Lanier (PL): Thank you. Our team at the Jordan Institute for Families is very excited about this work. It is also a great experience to work with funders who are also passionate about the field of home visiting. My personal motivation for applying for this grant is to generate more information to effectively advocate for home visiting at the state level. Due to the history and nature of early home visiting, programs and resources are very disconnected. At the state level, no one really has a strong idea of the great work that is happening across our state. This not only limits our ability to make strategic decisions going forward, but also limits our ability to collectively tell the story about home visiting.

MA: As an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, what trends or changes are you currently witnessing in the academic field? Will this influence your research?

PL: Social Work research has always been very applied, but I am noticing more interest and emphasis at our university to make an impact in our state. As a state university, the emphasis on impacting the lives of people in North Carolina has created closer relationships with our state and local partners.

This emphasis has also brought in researchers from many disciplines who may not have been interested in this type of local, applied work. But, I think we realize that problems like child abuse emerge from highly complex, strained systems, often starting at the local level.

Since many of our solutions also emerge from a policy landscape that is always rapidly changing, it has made me re-think the types of methodologies and questions that I am asking in my work. Straightforward intervention research does not really reflect many of the realities of applied policy research, where more dynamic and adaptive methods are crucial.

MA: What advice do you have for fellows or other grant applicants who are looking to receive funding for continued research?

PL: First of all, I would say to be patient and persistent. The funding landscape is very competitive, so if you receive one rejection, don’t let that deter you. I have certainly dusted off plenty of rejected applications and found a different home for those projects than I originally anticipated.

Second, work in teams. Team science makes for stronger applications; any individual weakness you may have can be supported by someone with a different, but complementary skill-set. Teamwork makes us test many of our disciplinary assumptions going in to a study; there are always multiple ways to look at a problem like child maltreatment.

Finally, start small and build up. Find some small pilot funding at your university or with a local foundation and test out some of your ideas and designs. Early efforts will make for a stronger application down the road.

MA: How has your experience as a Doris Duke fellow influenced your work or professional aspirations?

PL: My experience as a fellow has had an enormous influence on my work and aspirations. I can attribute the positive effects entirely to the opportunities I have had as a fellow to interact with the sharpest minds in our field, most of them other fellows. The fellowships team at Chapin Hall was always great in getting us connected with other senior researchers, which has been incredibly helpful in building connections with the authors of my favorite papers. However, it is the individual relationships I built with people in my cohort and new fellows I meet that has been most important. I had the opportunity to co-edit the special issues featuring Doris Duke Fellows last year with Katie Maguire-Jack, Cohort One fellow. Learning about what work other fellows are engaged in, how they think, and how they approach their research was very fun and inspiring.

MA: One last fun question: what does your ideal day look like?

PL: Delivering a great lecture in the classroom in the morning, informing policy makers about the best available evidence over lunch, and then opening my perfectly scored NIH grant submission at end the day. But, in reality, a day at the beach with my family!

MA: Is there anything else you’d like to add?



Fellows Updates:

Bridget Cho, Cohort Seven fellow, and her Policy Mentor, Dr. Briana Woods-Jaeger, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Mercy Hospital, recently co-authored a paper titled, "Promoting Resilience: Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Adverse Childhood Experience." This paper shares the results of their mixed methods study on ACEs and their impact on child and family health.

bridget cho.jpg
katie paschall.jpg

Katie Paschall, Cohort Four fellow, recently published two papers. The first is published the Journal of youth and adolescence and is titled, “A Two Decade Examination of Historical Race/Ethnicity Disparities in Academic Achievement by Poverty Status.” The second article is published in the Infant mental health journal and is titled, “A Longitudinal, person-centered analysis of Early Head Start mothers’ parenting.”


annie davis.jpg

Annie Davis, Cohort Seven fellow, matched with the University of Maryland School Of Medicine to complete her clinical predoctoral internship in Baltimore, MD. She will be working to provide treatment to young children and children who have experienced trauma.

kaela byers.jpg

Kaela Byers, Cohort Three fellow, has been invited to attend the Australia Early Childhood Learning Exchange from March 13-21, 2018. The Exchange provides an opportunity to learn from Australia's policy makers and leading program and research experts about the implementation of the Australian Early Development Instrument (AEDI) and how it guides policy and program development. Kaela will attend the Australian Early Development Census National Conference in Melbourne, Australia. Following the conference, the delegation will travel to Adelaide to visit programs and see how the AEDI is used for community planning and resource allocation.


Upcoming Events & Dates