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News and Communications Services

Walter Schumm

Professor of family studies and human services

Social science research can be controversial and few are better positioned to understand that than Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University.

In the arena of research with military families and service members, he has studied the effects of deployments on families, arguing against the hypothesis that overseas combat deployments are seldom stressful on soldiers or their families; and the effects of toxic exposures during the first Persian Gulf War, arguing against the hypothesis that Gulf War illnesses were a figment of the imagination.

Schumm served for more than 30 years in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard, commanding units at the separate detachment/platoon, company, battalion and brigade levels. He has also written extensively on Islam and the implications of engaging in conflicts with Islamic societies, with an emphasis on properly treating Muslim prisoners of war, something that has been controversial in the past. Most recently, Schumm has published extensively in the area of gay and lesbian parenting.

His other research interests include evaluation of premarital counseling and marriage preparation, marital satisfaction, family measurement, religion and family life, and building healthy and happy marriages among young couples. Schumm is currently working with professors in the College of Engineering on the assessment and analysis of human networks as they pertain to the spread of epidemics in rural areas. He also has conducted studies on the Titanic and Pearl Harbor.

Schumm is currently editor of the journal Marriage and Family Review, which welcomes manuscripts and publishes a variety of sometimes controversial reports.

Schumm received his bachelor of science in physics from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., his master's in family and child development from Kansas State University and his doctorate in family studies from Purdue University. He joined K-State in 1979 and teaches family theories, marital interaction and various research courses.

Throughout his career with the Army Reserves, Schumm received numerous decorations and service medals including the Legion of Merit in 2002, three Meritorious Service Medals, seven Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Army Service Ribbon and Reserve Component Overseas Training Ribbon.

During the Gulf War, Schumm served on active duty in San Antonio, Texas, for 12 months and managed military transportation movements to and from the Gulf region. In 1995, his statistical analysis of the redeployment of equipment earned him an award from the Defense Transportation Association as their second best defense transportation journal article.

Schumm can be reached at 785-532-1494 or schumm@k-state.edu.