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Michelle Toews named associate dean in College of Human Ecology

Monday, Feb. 23, 2015



MANHATTAN — 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 of the college. 

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

"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 strengthens our entire college's research portfolio." 

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

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

"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." 

The reputation of Kansas State University and the College of Human Ecology drew Toews to the Flint Hills. "The opportunity to be a part of that work is very exciting for me," she said. 

Plus, she said she welcomes getting back to her Midwestern roots. 

Toews received a doctorate 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. 

Toews has been involved in the qualitative and quantitative, 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. 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.

The College of Human Ecology consists of academic units involved in teaching, research and outreach in the areas of kinesiology, family studies and human services, apparel and textiles, interior design, family and consumer sciences education, hospitality management, dietetics, human nutrition, athletic training and gerontology.


John Buckwalter


College of Human Ecology


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Michelle Toews

Michelle Toews has been named associate dean for research at Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology.

Written by

Jane P. Marshall

At a glance

The College of Human Ecology at Kansas State University names a new associate dean for research.

Notable quote

"I will serve as an advocate for research needs so that faculty and student researchers can do their jobs even better."

– Michelle Toews, new associate dean for research at Kansas State University's College of Human Ecology