This fall, three faculty members in the School of Human Ecology return to campus with added distinction, all promoted to full professor:
- Dr. Janean Dilworth-Bart, Department Chair of the Human Development and Family Studies department and Phyllis Northway Faculty Fellow;
- Professor Mary Hark, in the Design Studies department; and
- Dr. J. Michael Collins, Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance.
The trio have made important contributions to their respective fields and demonstrated a level of rigor and commitment well deserving of their recognition.
Dr. Janean Dilworth-Bart
Dr. Dilworth-Bart has served as chair of the department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) since 2015, and she leads the School of Human Ecology’s (SoHE) Prenatal-to-Five Initative, launched in June 2017. She advises a substantial cohort of both graduate and undergraduate students and teaches two foundational graduate courses, one of which she developed just last fall. In addition, she has given several presentations to lawmakers and community groups in Wisconsin, and she serves on the boards of directors of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and The Playing Field.
Dilworth-Bart’s own research centers on the children’s early developmental contexts and their impact on children’s advancement as successful members of society. More specifically, she examines how parents and co-parents engage with their children, particularly in the Black community, and how environmental pollutants (like lead poisoning) and social risks affect young people’s school readiness and achievement, as well as court involvement. She has won numerous awards for her scholarship, including the Wade and Bev Fetzer Fund for Excellence (2017), a fellowship in the Big Ten Academic Alliance–Academic Leadership Program (2017-18), and the Faculty Diversity Award from the UW System Institute on Race and Ethnicity (2009).
Professor Mary Hark
Mary Hark is a professor of Design Studies at SoHE, with a research agenda driven by her expertise in the fine craft of hand-papermaking and her art training in fiber and material studies. In her studio practice she develops and produces editions of unique high-quality handmade papers from flax, linen, and bio-waste, and uses these papers to produce limited-edition artists’ books and painterly wall works. These have been collected by major museums and special collection libraries internationally, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Museum of African Art, and the Ginsburg Collection (Johannesburg, South Africa).
Professor Hark serves as co-director of the Krataa Foundation, a platform for disseminating the field research she conducted in the Ashanti Region of Ghana developing a high-quality handmade paper using an invasive plant (www.ghanapaperproject.com). Hark has served as program coordinator for Textiles and Fashion Design and is a faculty affiliate of the African Cultural Studies and Art Departments, where she teaches Papermaking.
Professor Hark is regularly invited to facilitate workshops, give lectures, and curate exhibitions nationally and internationally. Most recently she was one of just 26 international textile artists featured in the book True Colors: World Masters of Natural Dyes and Pigments, by Keith Recker (Thrums Books, 2019). At SoHE Professor Hark teaches Experimental Textile Design, Building a Sustainable Creative Practice, The Design Studies Graduate Seminar, and Introduction to Textile Design. On campus her work has been recognized with a Baldwin Creative Arts Award and a Vilas Award. She is a member of the UW–Madison Teaching Academy.
Dr. J. Michael Collins
Dr. Collins is faculty director of the Center for Financial Security, which conducts research and provides services to help individuals and families improve their financial outcomes, and which also works with professionals and policymakers to advance systemic solutions to promote family financial well-being. He is also a faculty affiliate of the UW–Division of Extension, the Institute for Research on Poverty, the Center for Demography and Ecology, and the La Follette School of Public Affairs.
Since 2015, he has been SoHE’s Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance. His research centers on consumer financial decision-making, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings, and investment choices, especially for low-income families, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. His work is informed by past roles in nonprofit and government.
Collins has won numerous research grants while at SoHE, including a five-year award from the U.S. Social Security Administration to house a Retirement and Disability Research Center, one of just four in the nation. He has also been honored with two of UW–Madison’s most competitive awards, the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship and Vilas Associates Award, as well as the Ketchum Prize from the FINRA Foundation, Best Paper Nomination in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, and RWJ Health and Society Best Paper Award. He serves on the Boards of Directors of UW Credit Union, Jump$tart, and the Wisconsin Tax Sheltered Annuity Program, and he is a member of the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy.