The Laboratory

A Research Lab of His Own?

Alas, I no longer has a research lab of my own. It was a hard decision, and miss the type of mentorship that allowed. At the moment, however, I am pretty darn happy with my new research adventures.

Wait... what are you doing then?

I traded co-running an quirky undergraduate lab with an awesome sociologist (Dr. Nicholas Rowland) for running the Research Support Group's Lab within the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning at American University. This lab supports faculty, staff, and students from across American University. Most of our support goes to the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of International Services, and the School of Public Affairs, but we also provide assistance to many people in the Kogod School of Buisness, the School of Professional and Extended Studies, and the Washington College of Law. We have also provided support for many staff offices, including the Registrar and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. 

In addition to helping people plan and implement studies, we support a wide variety of research software, including SPSS, STATA, SAS, Matlab, Python, R, NVivo, ArcGIS, and Qualtrics. We offer workshops and in-class tutorials in all these software, often highly customized to the needs of a particular audience. To help with this, I run a physical space (the lab), which has two rooms, 36 computers, and 12 half-time graduate students ranging from 1st year masters students to 5th year Ph.D. students. I help teach them stuff, they teach me stuff, and we try to get a lot done while still having a good time. I have learned a lot about analyses done in different disciplines and figured out how to use and support several software packages I had never used before.

Does that mean you have stopped doing research?

I am still active in research. Before this transition I did a lot of empirical-research collaborations, with students and other faculty. Meanwhile the focus of my "main line" of research slowly shifted to history and theory. This stays true. One day I might return to my own empirical research lines, and I have some really interesting ideas at the ready when that happens. For now, I am happy doing original research on various topics in the history and theory of psychology, while collaborating with others on empirical work.

What's next?

This job is great for now. In the future I would like to either get back on the tenure-track or continue to advance in the realm of research support. I miss being in the class room and working with undergraduates, while also finding much reward in developing my managerial skills and working with a wider variety of faculty and graduate students.