The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences is happy to welcome two new colleagues this fall semester. Luke Russell, Ph.D., and Chang Su-Russell, Ph.D., are the newest assistant professors to join the team in Turner Hall. The two are extremely excited to begin their journey here at Illinois State and they plan to gladly learn and teach.
Russell is from the Hartford, Connecticut, area and spent the last eight years in Columbia, Missouri, working on his M.S. and his Ph.D.
Russell began his path to teaching in higher education during his undergraduate career at the University of Connecticut. After getting involved in the field of human development, as a result of a friend’s suggestion, Russell majored and graduated with degrees in human development and family studies and political science with a minor in sociology. He went on to the University of Missouri to pursue the degrees that would allow him to teach the topics about which he is so passionate.
Su-Russell, a native of Huludao in the Liaoning province of China, began her education at the Minzu University of China, in Beijing, where she received her B.A. in English literature. She later earned her M.S. in human development and family science at Michigan State University. She went to the University of Missouri to obtain her Ph.D. so that she could begin her career in higher education here at Illinois State University.
Both professors are very excited to be at Illinois State. Russell is a firm believer that the best way to practice family science as a discipline is to continually further ones knowledge on human growth and family life as one experiences it.
“The opportunity to teach and conduct research that has meaningful implications for families both in Illinois and the country is a privilege, and one that I am most excited and honored to be able to contribute to,” he said.
Su-Russell echoes those thoughts, saying she believes Illinois State is the best place for her to achieve her goal of continuing the cycle of learning concerning human development and family science. “ISU emphasizes individualized learning, which is a crucial aspect to incorporate in my course design and everyday teaching practices.” This emphasis, which can be found in departments all across Illinois State and is exemplified in the University’s motto, “Gladly we learn and teach,” will be the driving force behind both professors’ teaching at Illinois State University.
The professors are already beginning to make their mark on campus. Beyond receiving praise from current students, Russell is transitioning into the digital scholarship editor position for the Journal of Family Theory & Review (JFTR). This position will make Russell responsible (in coordination with the JFTR Digital Scholarship Board) for supporting JFTR authors and the journal editorial team in advancing new forms and methods of scholarly communication regarding family theories and multidisciplinary approaches to understanding families. Along with traditional practices, Russell will be using “new media” outlets and platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and podcasts to broaden the conversation about contemporary family science and theory both within and beyond the academic community.
Su-Russell is making her impact as a co-chair for the Asian/Asian American Families Focus Group of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). In this position, she aids in offering professional support and networking opportunities for NCFR members. Working with other members, she was able to brainstorm new and innovative ways to better the organization’s participation and impact.
This year at the 2018 NCFR conference meeting in San Diego, Su-Russell helped organize a professional development panel for Asian/Asian-American students and scholars at various career stages. This event gave students access to a panel of four phenomenal scholars from various higher education institutions. Beyond the panel, there were discussion groups focusing on navigating the job market as well as furthering professional development through teaching and research.
With a bright road ahead of both professors, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences cannot wait to see what amazing things they achieve alongside the accomplished team of faculty and staff within the department. “Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State is where I see myself growing and flourishing,” Su-Russell said.