Brenda Lohman, professor and director of graduate education in the Iowa State University Department of Human Development and Family Studies, will serve as the associate dean for research and graduate education in Iowa State’s College of Human Sciences, effective Oct. 1. Photo by Ryan Riley.

Lohman named associate dean for research and graduate education in Iowa State University College of Human Sciences

Brenda Lohman, professor and director of graduate education in the Iowa State University Department of Human Development and Family Studies, will serve as the associate dean for research and graduate education in Iowa State’s College of Human Sciences, effective Oct. 1.

“Dr. Lohman brings strong leadership as director of graduate studies and rich experience on multidisciplinary research teams,” said Laura Jolly, dean and Dean’s Chair of the College of Human Sciences. “She has a passion for graduate education and research and I look forward to working with her to enhance research and graduate education in the college.”

Lohman is best known for research in the areas of adolescent health and family policy, particularly for underrepresented youth and families who are economically disadvantaged. She studies the predictors and consequences of adolescent obesity, explores adolescent romantic relationships and sexuality, and identifies predictors of academic or educational outcomes.

Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as by private foundations. In 2004, the Society for Research on Adolescence recognized Lohman with a Social Policy Publication Award for the best journal article in the field. She received the Outstanding Professional Paper Award from the National Council on Family Relationship’s Families and Health Section, in 2010.  In 2014, she accepted the Mid-Career Achievement in Research Award from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences.

As public policy chair of the National Council for Family Relations, Lohman works to improve people’s lives by informing public policy at the national level. She also co-chairs the International Young Scholars Program of the Society for Research on Adolescence, which draws together emerging scholars to interact with senior research leaders from across the globe.

Her teaching focuses on improving the academic, physical, and sexual health of America’s youth.

She joined the Iowa State University faculty in August 2003 and was promoted to professor in July 2016. She has served as director of graduate education in human development and family studies since January 2011. She also directs six graduate certificate programs, which she helped develop to increase understanding of infant and youth development, research methods, and diverse families.

Lohman has worked with the students, faculty, and administrators in her home department to increase enrollment in the doctoral program and draw higher caliber students. Over the past six years, the human development and family studies department has recruited its largest cohort of Ph.D. students, increased enrollment of underrepresented graduate students, and reduced the time to degree completion for doctoral students.

While growing the doctoral program on campus, Lohman and her colleagues in human development and family studies also established an online master’s degree program in youth development, to increase access to graduate programs for Iowans who cannot come to campus. The new program complements the department’s previously-established programs that include the online family financial planning degree program as well as the interdisciplinary master’s and Ph.D. programs in gerontology.

Lohman holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois; a master’s degree in developmental psychology from Illinois State University; and a Ph.D. in human development and family science from The Ohio State University.

As associate dean for research and graduate education, Lohman succeeds Carla Peterson, who led from July 1, 2008 through July 30, 2017 before returning to the faculty as the Nancy Rygg Armbrust Professor in Early Childhood Development and Education. 

When Lohman assumes leadership, she will provide oversight for research conducted by College of Human Sciences students, faculty, and staff, backed annually by more than $21 million in external funding. Aiming to improve lives, human scientists target their study to advance health and wellness, education and human development, science and technology, and community and entrepreneurship.

Lohman said she will work to inspire continued academic excellence through recruitment, mentoring, and encouragement of all students, faculty, and staff members — and pledged to promote and support the college’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

“I am honored to serve as the associate dean for research and graduate education,” Lohman said. “I look forward to working with students, faculty, staff, and alumni to continue to build upon the college's preeminent reputation in research and graduate education.”