Department Head

Joel Hektner, PhD

Professor and Head 
(PhD, University of Chicago) 

Phone (701) 231-8269 

Core Area: Child, Adolescent Development 

Research Interests: Design and effectiveness of programs to prevent adjustment problems and promote well-being in children and adolescents; Peer affiliation patterns and peer influences on children's behaviors; Family and school conditions that facilitate optimal experiences (flow) and optimal development; The Experience Sampling Method

Developmental Science Program

Academic Advisor

Amolia Schumacher

Academic Advisor
Academic Advising Center

Phone (701) 231-9849

Teaching Faculty

Jim Deal, PhD

(PhD, University of Georgia) 

Office Phone (701) 231-7568 

Core Area: Child Development  

Research Interests: Identity development in emerging adulthood, particularly in the areas of religion, the transition to college, first generation and/or low income students, and issues related to financial support. 

Developmental Science Program

Margaret Fitzgerald, PhD

(PhD, Iowa State University)

Office Phone 701-231-9792

Core Area: Financial Planning and Public Policy; Family Science

Research Interests: Family Owned Businesses--copreneurial couples, women and minority owned businesses, the interface between the business, family and community, and managerial adjustment strategies.

Heather Fuller, PhD

(PhD, University of Michigan) 

Phone (701) 231-5621 

Core Area: Adult Development and Aging 

Research Interests: Social relationships and well-being across the lifespan (e.g. intergenerational relationships); Successful aging and health promotion; Aging in rural and cross-cultural contexts; Aging families and caregiving; Survey research and program evaluation 

Research Lab:Linked Lives Lab

Developmental Science Program

Carmen Kho, PhD

Assistant Professor
(PhD, University of California Merced) 

Phone (701) 231-1823 

Core Area: Context and Diversity, Adolescence, Emerging Adulthood 

Research Interests: I apply a cultural-ecological framework to examine how cultural, family, and other contextual influences intersect with socio-emotional development of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. My research takes a normative development approach and examines developmental processes with careful consideration of contexts in which they take place (e.g., family, neighborhoods, immigrant receiving context) and the timescale in which these processes occur (e.g., moment-to-moment, day-to-day, across years).  

Developmental Science Program

Christi McGeorge, PhD

(PhD, University of Minnesota) 

Phone (701) 231-7335 

Core Area: Couple and Family Therapy and Family Science 

Research Interests: The influence of heterosexism, cissexism, and sexual and gender minority prejudice on clinical practice and training, gender equity in therapy, promoting LGBTQ ally behavior in collegiate athletics, gender equity in higher education, and societal perceptions of single parents.

Leanna McWood, PhD

Assistant Professor
(PhD, Auburn University) 

Phone (701) 231-1826

Core Area: Child and Adolescent Develoment

Research Interests: The goal of my research agenda is to examine developmental processes in relational contexts (e.g., peer and family) and identify potential risk or resilience factors that promote positive development (mental and physical health). One key relational context I study is extracurricular involvement, particularly under what conditions organized activities are beneficial or risky.

Developmental Science Program

Natira Mullet, PhD

Assistant Professor  
(PhD, Texas Tech University)  

Phone (701) 231-1828

Core Area: Diversity and Family Science 

Research Interests: Examining intergenerational, cultural and familial protective factors to reduce interpersonal trauma and resulting substance use and mental health outcomes among marginalized communities.  

Developmental Science Program

Melissa Lunsman O'Connor, PhD

Associate Professor
(PhD, University of South Florida) 

Phone (701) 231-8688 

Core Area: Adult Development and Aging 

Research Interests: Examining age-related differences and changes in cognitive and functional abilities, such as driving, among healthy adults and clinical populations; quantitative methods and psychometrics; interventions for improving cognition, health, and everyday functioning; and attitudes toward dementia. 

Research Lab: Healthy Aging Lab 

Developmental Science Program

Candace VanSickle, PhD

Senior Lecturer
(PhD, North Dakota State University) 

Phone (701) 231-8270

Core Area: Gerontology 

Wen Wang, PhD

Assistant Professor
(PhD Michigan State University) 

Phone (701) 231-1875 

Core Area:  Child Development 

Research Interests:  The development of young children’s mastery motivation and persistence; Cultural variances in parenting and early parent-infant communication; Prosocial behaviors and emotions towards racial ingroup and outgroup members

Developmental Science Program

Dena Wyum, MS

Senior Lecturer
​​​​​​​(MS, North Dakota State University) 

Human Development and Family Science and Women and Gender Studies

Phone (701) 231-7755 


Sean Brotherson, PhD

Extension Family Science Specialist, Professor
(PhD, Oregon State University)

Office Phone (701) 231-6143

Core Area: Family Science 

Research Interests: Parenting and fatherhood; Health marriages; Family stress; Rural families; Grief and bereavement; Family life education; Family policy 

Developmental Science Program

Kim Bushaw, MS 

Extension Family Science Specialist 
(MS, North Dakota State University) 

Phone (701) 231-7450 

Core Area: Family Science

Krista Olson

Administrative Secretary, HDFS Extension

Phone (701) 231-8652

Meagan Scott Hoffman, PhD

4-H Youth Development Specialist, Associate Professor
(Ph.D., Oklahoma State University) 

Phone (701) 231-7964 

Core Area: 4-H Youth Development 

Area of Responsibility: Family and Consumer Science, Communication Arts, Afterschool Training, Adolescent Development, Children, Youth, and Families at Risk

Jane Strommen, PhD

Extension Gerontology Specialist and Assistant Professor of Practice
(Ph.D. North Dakota State University) 

Phone (701) 231-5948 

Core Area:  Gerontology  

Website:  Aging & Wellness

Research Interests:  Family caregiving, rural elders, aging in place, healthy aging  

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