UW Tacoma Faculty Profiles & Open Access

Map of Open Access Downloads

Map showing showing total downloads since 2012 of UW Tacoma faculty scholarship shared openly through UW Tacoma Digital Commons.

by Justin Wadland

Open Access and Publicly Engaged Scholarship

In recognition of Open Access Week (October 23-27, 2017), I would also like to take stock of UW Tacoma Digital Commons and the Library’s efforts to provide faculty a platform to showcase scholarly and creative work through author profiles. UW Tacoma has identified publicly-engaged scholarship as it’s second impact goal in the recently completed strategic plan. As a librarian and advocate for Open Access, I believe that one clear, achievable way that the campus can champion publicly engaged scholarship is to promote and support Open Access to the published research of its faculty. By doing so, the public would be able to read and engage with the campus’s scholarly activities without encountering the paywalls that usually come up for subscription-based journals.

Faculty and Departmental Participation in SelectedWorks

Using the total number of faculty from Autumn 2016, I have created this estimate of faculty who had SelectedWorks profiles:UW Tacoma Faculty with SelectedWorks Author Profiles

I use the word “estimate” because we have quite a few profiles that are in-process and have not yet been made live one our site.

Here are the total number of profiles by department:

Unit Faculty Profiles
 Education 3 Profiles
 Institute of Technology 6 Profiles
 Milgard School of Business 5 Profiles
 Nursing and Healthcare Leadership 17 Profiles
 School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences 84 Profiles
 Social Work and Criminal Justice 16 Profiles

Again, this list doesn’t include about a half dozen faculty members who have profiles that are still in the process of being built.

All of the profiles draw from departmental collections in UW Tacoma Digital Commons for books and publications. Here is a breakdown of the total number of works shared across these collections:

Unit Books Publications*
 Education 18  113
 Institute of Technology  # 182
 Milgard School of Business  3 103
 Nursing and Healthcare Leadership  7 135
 School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences  96  798
 Social Work and Criminal Justice  28  464

*Publications here refers to peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, op-eds, and any number of non-monograph publications.

Adding up all these works bring us to this graph, which shows the total number number of works shared and which percentage is openly available:

The Open Access works identified here are usually the post-print prints (or final manuscript drafts) of peer-reviewed journal articles. Usually, authors may deposit and share their work based upon the journal polices. When an article cannot be deposited, we provide a link to the electronic version, whenever available.

Besides allowing the general public to read their publications, the faculty members who openly share their scholarly work through UW Tacoma Digital Commons are able to get analytics on how often a work has been downloaded and where the readers are located throughout the world, among other data points.

Different Strategies for Creating Profiles

To understand why these numbers look the way they do, I would like to provide some context:

The Library began offering UW Tacoma Digital Commons as a pilot project in 2012, and in that time we have experimented with several approaches to create faculty profiles. We have ultimately evolved into a service model where a small number of library staff do most of the technical work for faculty, including:

  • Creating and updating author profiles;
  • Checking the rights agreements for published articles;
  • Uploading full-text of appropriate versions of the article in UW Tacoma Digital Commons;
  • Purchasing books and linking to electronic versions of materials whenever available.

In providing this service, we have found two primary strategies to be successful for creating profiles:

Partnership with departments, units, or faculty groups: Library staff have partnered with specific groups at UW Tacoma to systematically create profiles for small groups of faculty. This has proven to be an effective way for faculty to understand Open Access and the role of profiles in sharing their work. To do this, I first meet with a faculty leader and broadly discuss the process, then I attend a faculty meeting to present the process and answer questions, and then Library staff work closely with faculty to create profiles.

General calls for profiles and publications: In order to keep up with faculty publications and provide other opportunities for individuals on campus to have profiles created, the Library is now also sending out quarterly calls for new publications. I have made calls like this twice, and we typically receive about a dozen requests to update or create profiles. A variation on this approach has also been to create profiles individually for faculty when when an interview with them is featured on this blog.

Questions for the Coming Year

As I share data about the adoption of author profiles, I would like to emphasize that the Library has undertaken this project on its own initiative in response to faculty members’ expressed needs to:

  • Share the unique scholarly and creative work produce on campus.
  • Connect with other researchers on campus around common interests.

As the Library’s lead for this effort, I have focused my efforts on demonstrating how a platform like UW Tacoma Digital Commons and the SelectedWorks author profiles can be used to achieve these aims. For this project to be successful — and for it to fully align with the campus’s strategic goal of publicly engaged scholarship — I recognize that campus leadership and the wider academic community must have wider conversations about the role of Open Access and the supporting technologies available to share faculty and student work.

There are two significant developments that will raise questions and perhaps encourage the wider conversations in the future:

Elsevier acquisition of bepress: During the summer, the scholarly communications corporation Elsevier announced that it has acquired bepress, the company behind the Digital Commons platform. I am exploring the implications of the acquisition on our own repository and considering its long-term effects, and I intend to share the Library’s position during Winter Quarter. For anyone interested in learning more about this, I would encourage you to read these pieces by Roger Schonfeld: “Elsevier acquires bepress” and follow-up reflections.

UW Open Access Policy: The UW Faculty Senate is expected to vote, possibly in November, on a Class C Resolution that would establish an Open Access Policy that would apply to all scholarly articles authored by UW faculty members. Gordon Aamot, the UW Library Scholarly Communications Librarian, will presenting to the UW Tacoma Faculty Assembly Executive Committee in December, and I hope that there might be additional opportunities for UW Tacoma faculty to learn about it. If this resolution is passed, it will likely lead to significant changes in the system the UW Libraries uses to share faculty research, which in turn could influence our approach to sharing faculty work. Please see the UW Libraries Scholarly Publishing & Open Access pages for more information.

Both of these developments bring into relief larger questions that have lingered in the background of the UW Tacoma Digital Commons project. The digital landscape will continue to change and evolve, but the Library remains committed to gathering, sharing, and preserving the unique intellectual and creative work that is happening on campus. It is one of the ways the Library will continue to fulfill its mission to ” our students, faculty and staff achieve their goals.”

Call for Recent UW Tacoma Faculty Publications

UW Tacoma Faculty: Please let us know about your publicaitons

If you are a UW Tacoma faculty member and have published a new book, article, op-ed, or other scholarly or creative work, please let the Library know so that we can share your work on your Author Profile in SelectedWorks.

There are now two ways to send us this information:

  • Create/Update profile – If you don’t yet have a profile or you’d like us to make any changes to your profile, use this form.
  • Submit publication(s) – If you’d like to submit a new publication or list of publications, use this form.

If you send us information about your new or forthcoming publications, Library staff will then take care of updating your profile. What we’re able to publicly share largely depends on the type of work:

  • Books and monographs: The Library strives to purchase all of the books published by UW Tacoma faculty. If you send us the title, we’ll purchase a print copy for UW Tacoma Faculty Publications Collection and an electronic version for the UW Libraries, whenever available.
  • Articles, book chapters, and shorter work: For scholarly peer-reviewed articles, we check the journal policies via Sherpa/ROMEO and determine which version of an article can be shared publicly. We will then provide you with a publication report that shows which articles can be publicly shared on your profile. If the journal doesn’t allow deposit – or if you don’t wish to share the work – we provide a link to the UW Restricted version on your profile. You may also provide direct links to any articles available online in other places. For book chapters, we will need confirmation from the publisher that you have the rights to deposit it.
  • Multimedia: We have the capacity to embed media files hosted on third-party sites like YouTube, Vimeo, or Soundcloud. If you have media materials you’d like shared on your profile, just send us the link, and we’ll work with you to determine the best place to post it.

For more information about the author profiles and UW Tacoma Digital Commons, please view the Faculty guide to SelectecWorks or email taclibdc@uw.edu.

Written by Justin Wadland, Associate Director, UW Tacoma Library & Head, Digital Scholarship Program

Profile in Research: Global Honors Undergraduate Theses

by Justin Wadland

Global Honors Word Cloud

A word cloud generated from the abstracts of all the Global Honors capstone papers submitted to Digital Commons.

Students in the Global Honors Program have submitted over 40 undergraduate theses and many of these titles appear in the list of the most downloaded papers in UW Tacoma Digital Commons. At the end of each year, all students who achieve a 3.7 GPA or higher are automatically invited to add their papers to the collection.

When the collection was created in 2012, Global Honors was the first program on the UW Tacoma campus to begin systematically providing online access to student work. Executive Director Divya McMillin and Program Administrator Paul Carrington discussed some of the unexpected ways that students have benefited from sharing their work through Digital Commons.

Justin Wadland: How does sharing the Global Honors Capstones through Digital Commons support the goals of your program?

Paul Carrington and Divya McMillin

Paul Carrington and Divya McMillin

Divya McMillin: With the capstone project, we want students to explore an issue in-depth that has global implications. The global aspect of the project focuses on the dynamics of interdependencies and interconnections, and the students investigate questions that are compelling to communities locally and across the world, grounding their work in specific cultural contexts and locations. The capstone demonstrates an understanding of these global dynamics and has academic rigor through the breadth and quality of the research.

In a broader view, we also want our students to be public intellectuals. The important question for us is: What is the impact and value of the work? Often the capstones investigate a line of inquiry down to a specific action. We’re looking for transformation in the students themselves and transformation in communities that they’re writing about.

In 2012, we were considering the legacy of these projects and how they fit into the larger academic community. We initially explored creating a Global Honors journal, but after doing extensive research, we realized the complexity of such an undertaking. Around that same time, Digital Commons became available, and we were impressed with it.  It’s a simple, high value way for getting our students’ work out there.

How has putting the Global Honors Theses into Digital Commons changed the students’ relationship to their own work?

Divya McMillin: We really encourage the students to see their work as having an impact beyond the classroom. It’s a supportive process, but we want to challenge the students as scholars. By the time they are ready to write their theses, the students see what the value of the capstone is to them. Once it’s available in Digital Commons, it becomes a credential that can help them in applying for graduate school or in any professional career.

Even when their work is eligible for submission, the process isn’t over because they get extensive feedback from us before it goes online. This is important to us because it’s not just their name on the paper but the names of the program and the faculty advisors.

Digital Commons is one representative of a thoughtful, collaborative community process, and it shows not just the students but all of those involved what goes into knowledge production. We really want to make sure that everything that’s out there is valid and substantiated.

What have been some of the unexpected outcomes of having the projects available in Digital Commons?

Paul Carrington: One of our students was recruited to a doctoral program at University of Chicago after a professor there found her paper in Digital Commons. I got the call early one morning.  Because the student had developed considerable expertise in her subject area, the professor saw her as a candidate for a research assistant and wanted to get in touch. I connected the student with the professor. She ultimately turned down the opportunity because she was already settling into a very successful career path here, but this wouldn’t have happened if the paper wasn’t online. This is a remarkable example, but it demonstrates how making the work more widely available enables students to make connections through their outstanding work.

Divya McMillin: Also, I should mention a new way we are using these capstones. We are building a Directed Research Program and want to be more deliberate about guiding students to grounded and community-relevant research questions that arise from both global contexts as well as the global port city of Tacoma. The members of our Advisory Board are asked to engage in conversations with representatives from various professional areas in the community to identify questions or topics that would be valuable to them and their organizations. In that process, one Board member is sweeping Digital Commons to see what’s been explored in Global Honors theses already. We’ve identified two sets of questions, one from the community and another from the past theses. Through this, we’re offering current students both a starting point for their own projects as well as opening up for them, areas where their research will have a direct impact. This front-end guidance provides deeper support for the student research journey and paves the way for mentor-relationships and various experiential learning opportunities based on the question or questions picked up.

Additional information

The UW Tacoma Experts Gallery (Beta Version)

by Justin Wadland

Whenever I’ve shown SelectedWorks author profiles on campus, the most common question to follow is: Will this platform help us search and identify faculty based on their research expertise?

The potential for doing this has always been a part of SelectedWorks — all of the profiles allow authors to identify their disciplines and research interests — but up until recently, this data was not easily searchable. I’m pleased to say, however, that this has changed with the UW Tacoma Expert Gallery.

Screenshot of Experts Gallery

Screenshot of Experts Gallery

Earlier this summer, bepress (the company that supports Digital Commons) released a beta version of this new service for all institutions that have a subscription to the SelectedWorks profile feature. The Expert Gallery offers searching and browsing of terms entered in the discipline and research interest sections of faculty profiles. Take a look at this screenshot of the “about” page of a profile to see the fields it uses:

Screenshot of profile "about" page showing disciplines and research interests.

Screenshot of profile “about” page showing disciplines and research interests.

This tool has the powerful potential to:

  • Help researchers with complementary interests find each other.
  • Connect student researchers with faculty advisors or projects.
  • Identify areas of expertise on campus for internal and external queries.

It must be emphasized, however, that the Expert Gallery is in beta mode, meaning that it is still under development. Also, the gallery is far from comprehensive; currently only about half of all UW Tacoma faculty members have SelectedWorks author profiles.

Over the next year, we plan to fine-tune existing profiles as we learn more about how the Expert Gallery works and receive feedback from from UW Tacoma faculty. Also, we intend to reach out to departments and faculty who don’t yet profiles so that the the gallery can reflect the various work being done on campus. In the mean time, if you would like to have your profile created or updated, there is a new request form:

Also, you may always login to and edit your profile at any time. Instructions on how to create, access, and customize your profile can be found on my libguide to Digital Commons. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Profile in Research: Belinda Louie

Keywords: Children’s and Young Adult Literature; English Language Learning; Online Instruction; Faculty Teaching Development; Reading Instruction

Belinda Louie is a professor in the Education Program and has taught at the University of Washington Tacoma for over twenty years. An avid reader and collector of children’s and young adult literature, she and her husband established an endowed collection of juvenile literature in the UW Tacoma Library. Her research has often focused on the role of reading and language in primary education.

What aspects of your research are you most passionate about?Photo of Belinda Louie

My area of specialty is children’s and young adult literature, and I use it as a platform to go into language learning and reading instruction. One area that I focus on is online instruction and another is faculty development. I’m a bit of hybrid, like an English faculty member who is housed in Education.

I originally got my bachelor’s degrees as a double major in English and History, then, went on to get my Ph.D. in Education with focus on K-8 and bilingual and bi-cultural education. I came to juvenile literature as something that could be used in my classes. Ultimately, I believe teaching reading is not just teaching a skill. A lot of Americans are aliterate. They can read, but they don’t choose to read, and they don’t love books. The alumni magazine once quoted me as saying, “Books will get offended if you use them without loving them.” I still believe that.

You’re currently doing grant-funded research into English Learners in elementary schools. What are some of your findings about Washington State?

I’m so deep into that research that it’s hard for me to comment right now. In Washington State, 9.8% of students are English Learners or EL, meaning that English is not the primary language spoken at home. If you look across the country, other states beat us in the overall number of EL students, but we have distinct honor of having the poorest record in preparing teachers to work with EL students. Currently, there is one trained EL teacher to 250 learners. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to apply for a grant, and we initially received funding to develop a program for training teachers.

After collecting data and reviewing the literature, however, we saw that if you want to have big impact on EL academic achievement, you must train the principals. Leadership matters in creating an environment that supports EL students. The principals may not work with students, but they are the instructional leaders of the school. Ultimately, they decide what kinds of professional development opportunities are available for teachers. Our current grant proposal establishes a partnership with the Association of Washington State Principals, and I’m collaborating with Rich Knuth, who is a former principal himself and well-respected in the field.

You published an article the ways that historical fiction can be used to teach a perspectives on a complex topic. How can this literature be used by educators?

I looked at the ways Pacific Front during World War II was presented in literature from various Asian countries and found that each side was focused on its own suffering. For instance, the Korean literature tells of the pain caused by the Japanese, and the Japanese literature speaks of the pain caused by the Americans. Yet they each present very different perspectives of the war and create opportunities for discussions.

It was a very difficult topic for me to bring up, but I tend to have a global perspective. I am forever international because I am an immigrant. As a Chinese person, I always remember the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong. People who read my article appreciated my critical analysis. Because I have a degree in history, I bring the cultural historical perspective into the story, as well.

I tend not to read individual books but a collection of them, looking at how similar titles are to their neighbors. I do not want acknowledge it, but I’m very systematic in my reading habits.

Name one work or author that has had a significant influence on you.

My husband, Douglass Louie, is my mentor and has influenced me in so many ways. He tends to read widely and deeply when he approaches a topic—I don’t know how many doctorates has: he’s an M.D. with a J.D., a Ph.D. in Pyschology, among others. He prefers to get a much more comprehensive view on a particular point. Also, during some periods of my life, I was very sick, and he would go to the university library and bring half of an entire bookshelf home for me to read. He once ordered the whole archive of a journal so I could read the key articles without going to the library. That was the time before digital collections, when we could only read journal articles in the library.

Learn more about Belinda Louie’s research.

Profiles in Research: SIAS Assistant Professors

By Justin Wadland

Word Cloud of SIAS Research Interests

A word cloud generated from the collective research interests described on faculty profiles of SIAS assistant professors, generated at tagxedo.com

This month features the author profiles of all of the assistant professors in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (SIAS), a group whose research interests encompass a wide range of disciplines and topics. In each of the profiles below, you will find a list of all available publications by the respective authors, including links to the full-text versions whenever possible.

To create these full and up-to-date SelectedWorks author profiles, a small team of library staff worked closely with Turan Kayaoglu and the SIAS Assistant Professor peer-mentoring group during Spring Quarter 2016. Each faculty member received a publication report outlining which publications could be made available full-text on his or her SelectedWorks site, along with instructions on how to upload the articles. Then during the May 2016 peer-mentoring meeting, I offered a training in how to log into and edit the profile.

This was the first time that the UW Tacoma Library Digital Commons team completed author profiles for a large group of faculty. We look forward to applying what we learned as we branch out to other departments and units on campus. I would like to thank Dr. Kayaoglu and the SIAS assistant professors peer-mentoring group for being our test group on this project. Also, special thanks to the library staff who put extra effort into making this possible: Katrina Gertz, Megan Saunders, and Angie Wiehagen.

Photo of Ellen Bayer

Ellen Bayer

Photo of Elizabeth Bruch

Elizabeth Bruch

Photo of Ed Chamberlain

Ed Chamberlain

Photo of Jane Compson

Jane Compson

Photo of Vanessa de Veritch Woodside

Vanessa de Veritch Woodside

Photo of Julie of Eaton

Julie Eaton

Photo of John Finke

John Finke

Photo of Sarah Hampson

Sarah Hampson

Photo of Rachel Hershberg

Rachel Hershberg

Photo of Natalie Jolly

Natalie Jolly

Photo of Maureen Kennedy

Maureen Kennedy

Photo of Michael Kula

Michael Kula

Photo of Hyoung Lee

Hyoung Lee

Photo Lindsay McCunn

Lindsay McCunn

Photo of Will McGuire

Will McGuire

Photo of Benjamin Meiches

Benjamin Meiches

Photo of Danica Miller

Danica Miller

Michelle Montgomery

Photo of Ariana Ochoa Camacho

Ariana Ochoa Camacho

Photo of Emma Rose

Emma Rose

Photo of Stephen Ross

Stephen Ross

Photo of Dan Shugar

Dan Shugar

Photo of Huatong Sun

Huatong Sun

Photo of Etga Ugur

Etga Ugur

Profile in Research: Jeff Cohen

Keywords: Gender; Masculinities; Integral Theory; Restorative Justice; Bullying

Jeff Cohen is a professor in the UW Tacoma Social Work and Criminal Justice program. His recent book  Confronting School Bulling: Kids, Culture, and the Making of Social Problem investigates media representations of bullying and the implications for criminalizing this behavior. Drawing upon Integral Theory, his work also more broadly examines masculinity in a variety of contexts.

What aspects of your research are you most passionate about?

Photo of Jeff CohenI’d say that I’m most passionate about uncovering the complexities of the lived experience of people who find themselves in the criminal justice system. Also, I’m interested in understanding how men’s lives and perspectives are shaped by their experiences of gender.

In my research I use Integral Theory, which is a trans-disciplinary model that looks at human phenomenon from multiple perspectives and provides a deeper, more complex view of the situation. We tend to think of things in essentialist terms—you behave in particular way because of sex—but the reality is that we are much more than our biology. Men experience the social construction of gender, for instance.

How has your research into bullying changed your view of news coverage of this issue?

What I see is that adults are often blind to the way that news coverage and analysis reinforce the very problems they want to uncover or address. For example, I saw a show where Dr. Drew was interviewing a young woman who had experienced bullying. He said to her something like, “You’re a beautiful young woman. Why would anyone bully you?” This comment assumes that people who don’t look good would be bullied. Adults often adopt stereotypes as they try to influence things.

Cover Image: Confront School BullyingAlso, I don’t think bullying is something that can be stopped. It’s an unfortunate but natural part of the development of young people. Kids are drawn to conformity, and generally any difference, good or bad, can lead to kids being a target for bullying. The reality is that roles fluctuate, and kids are often friends with those that do the bullying. The problem is that we don’t do enough to acknowledge young people’s own awareness of what’s happening, and when we respond, it makes the situation worse.

I tend to take a restorative rather than a punitive approach. When I speak to young people about bullying, I usually start with the academic definition, but then move to asking whether the definition makes sense. Have they seen examples of bullying? What have they seen? The discussion then moves to the reasons why kids bully or get bullied and what are appropriate ways to respond. What I find is that kids are much more open to this kind of conversation.

How has your work influenced how others see bullying?

I didn’t initially go into my research on bullying to influence policy and practice. Adults are not in a position to make effective change without engaging young people. There’s no way we address this from a top down approach. In many ways, we’re speaking a different language.

There is a relationship between disciplinary policies and the bystander. Adults say we need harsh penalties, but the effect of these policies is that kids are less likely to turn in peers. Kids don’t want to be snitches, which makes it harder to recognize when bullying is happening. By silencing them, we do them a disservice.

The restorative approach, on the other hand, has been proven to work because it engages youth in ways that don’t alienate and shame them. It expands the scope beyond adult ideas of what’s right. These programs are working really well and are having an impact on the school-to-prison pipeline.

Name one work or scholar that has had significant influence on you.

Intellectually, the author that had most effect on me is Ken Wilber, who developed Integral Theory and perhaps described it best in his book The Marriage of Sense and Soul. His work suggests that science and eastern and western approaches to spirituality can and should be integrated. My dissertation was the first to apply Integral Theory in the Criminal Justice field. Many of my works have been applications of his model.

Learn more about Jeff Cohen’s research.

Profile in Research: Anaid Yerena

Keywords: Affordable housing, advocacy organizations, resident participation, e-governance, energy efficient design

Anaid Yerena is a professor in the University of Washington Urban Studies Program. As an architect, planner, and researcher, she is interested in the public participation processes and activities related to housing and community development.

Justin Wadland: What aspects of your research are you most passionate about?

Yerena 93015Anaid Yerena: Improving the lives of others around the issue of people in need of affordable
housing —that’s what gets me going. We all need affordable housing, so this is a topic that touches us all.

My research studies how advocacy organization promote policies at the local level to encourage the creation of affordable housing. For example, I looked at how many years particular organizations had worked in a community, and I found that they got better at influencing policymakers. They know who to call, who to reach out to, who their allies are. They also have a recognition or standing in the community. People see that they’re not going away. In many cases, these organizations learn more than decision-makers and become experts in policy issues. My goal is to be an advocate for the advocates, to make planers and decision-makers aware that advocacy organizations are their partners and contributors to the solution.

How does your research affect your view of what’s happening in the Puget Sound region?

I recently attended two meetings, and I saw advocates being misunderstood and mistreated. Everybody in those meetings was concerned about the issue of homelessness, but the advocates and community members were divided into groups. During the community input portion of the meeting, these groups were pitted against each other. I felt that the passion and anger that people brought to the meeting was unfairly directed at the advocates. Everyone—decision-makers, advocate, residents—was there to help reduce homelessness in that city. The way neighborhood leaders were approaching the issue is making it more difficult to move forward.

By the way, I use advocacy organization broadly; when I use this term I include non-profit organizations as well as service providers. The service providers were there to speak for the community they serve. If the city council decided to fund a project for homeless services, they were seen as deciding against neighbors. I don’t envy the council’s position. What I wish had been acknowledged was that everybody was on the same side. We all wanted a solution: to improve the current conditions of homeless people in that city.

What has been one of the unexpected outcomes of your research?

There’s an article I have coming out that has created a lot of opportunities for community engagement, especially in my work around homelessness. I developed a tool that gives organizations the ability to do process evaluations. It is a research project that has direct practical applications.

Funding for these organization is often tied to how they perform and how the community sees them. Most of organizations evaluate their outcomes but rarely complete a process evaluation. This type of evaluation looks at the inner workings of the organization. It considers the priorities of an organization and evaluates them against policies and practices. For example, if your priority is helping program participants find resources for mental health, why are you dedicating so many resources on job skills training?

The results of the evaluation encourage organization leaders to have a conversation about how their priorities align with what they’re actually doing. It also creates a record that can help inform future decisions and improve training for new members. Best of all, with this tool, organizations only need to allocate twenty-four hours divided among staff and leadership to complete the evaluation.

If you were going to recommend someone new to your work to read single book or article, what would it be? Why?

For a practitioner interested in affordable housing, I would recommend “Advocacy in Action,”  which summarizes the findings of my dissertation. My research has found that advocacy organizations do make a difference. Before my work, people agreed that advocacy organizations had an impact, but no one was able to measure it. My work operationalizes a very abstract concept. How do you quantify the ability to advocate, and see whether it had influence on spending?

Name one work or scholar that has had the biggest influence on you.

I’m going to go with Victoria Basolo. She conducted a comprehensive study that asked policymakers their impressions of advocates and the influence they had on furthering the policy agenda. Dr. Basolo is interested in the same policy issue as I am, and in fact, she was my adviser and is now a collaborator. With my work, I feel like I am picking up a baton and continuing where she and others had left off. They found evidence that the answer is, yes, organizations are perceived to influence decision-makers, but due to a lack of better measurement options that is where they stopped. With access to larger data sets, I can make more precise observations. The data had always existed, but it hadn’t been put in to a format that could be analyzed.

Learn more about Anaid Yerena’s research.

Profile in Research: Kima Cargill

Keywords: Consumerism, Marketing, Overeating, Well-being, Existentialism

Kima Cargill is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Washington Tacoma. Her research examines how overeating is influenced by living in an affluent consumer culture. Librarian Justin Wadland interviewed her about her research.

Justin Wadland: What aspects of your research are you most passionate about?

Kima Cargill PortraitKima Cargill: I’m most about passionate understanding how consumer culture has taken over our psyche in many ways without us ever realizing it. I want to uncover how consumer products, marketing, and advertising take over identity.

My work for the past several years looks into the ways consumer culture and the food industry have created the tremendous public health crisis of overeating. A lot of people think my work is about food, but it’s not just that. I’m looking at how rampant consumerism affects us psychologically. More recently, I’ve been looking at how Psychology itself has been commercialized and made into a product that doesn’t necessarily improve our well-being or live up to promises it makes to people. In a lot of ways, it’s cheapened the discipline.

What impact has your research had on your daily life?

A lot of the time I tell people that I’m on a diet of spite. I get so angry when I learn about the tactics that food marketers — and the pharmaceutical companies, as well — use to get people to buy products. I’m so outraged that it makes me not want to give money to these companies. I think hard about where I put my dollar. We generally feel better when we spend money on experiences rather than consumer goods. My research makes me more careful about how I spend money.

What has been one of the unexpected outcomes of your research?

What has surprised me is that I wrote a book for an academic audience — and my talk at town hall was a synopsis of that book — and I’ve been surprised and touched by the random emails I’ve gotten from ordinary people who have read my book or watched the presentation. One person wrote this week that as a result of my work, the connection between the food and pharmaceutical industries finally clicked for him. The highest compliment is to have someone tell me I articulated something that they almost knew but hadn’t quite arrived at on their own.

If you were going to recommend someone new to your work to read single book or article, what would it be? Why?

Cover of Psychology of OvereatingI’d recommend my book because it was a real departure from my previous publications. Everything before it was more esoteric and full of jargon for insiders in the discipline, and I decided to do something different and have my natural voice come through. It’s more accessible and polemical, and it’s very timely to call out the health risks of our consumer culture, especially in light of the Occupy Movement and the discussions about income inequality.  It seems like there is much more global awareness of the effects of consumerism—even Pope Francis has made this central to his message.

Name one work—book, movie, song, anything—that has had a biggest influence on you.

This is not a model but an influence. One of the first articles I read in graduate school was “Why the Self is Empty” by Phillip Cushman. (By coincidence he lives out here and has taught for UW Tacoma.) That article really opened my eyes to the way our personal psychology develops within consumer culture, within what some people call the culture of narcissism. Also, it very honestly said the discipline of Psychology was complicit in the problem. That article had a profound effect on my understanding, and I think I cite that article in everything that I’ve written.  I’d call it a seminal work for me, and I’d credit Dr. Cushman in my intellectual development.

Learn more about Kima Cargill’s research.