FYCS Welcomes Three Faculty Members

Three new faculty members joined the FYCS department over the summer—Randall Cantrell, Martie Gillen, and Victor Harris.

Dr. Cantrell, Assistant Professor, Housing and Community Development, is a researcher and educator who focuses on helping homeowners, homebuilders, and product manufacturers understand housing markets and related issues. His diversified background enables him to approach issues from perspectives of engineering, teaching, economics, community development, marketing science, and housing research. He has extensive experience working as a housing government contractor with the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Energy, and Agriculture to improve housing and building products. He also has conducted research in the area of biomass utilization, especially as it relates to construction applications. And, taught high school mathematics in Africa while serving in the Peace Corps.

Dr. Cantrell provides extension services as well as traditional academic research in the areas of Housing and Community Development. One of his broad goals is to assist homeowners in understanding how changes to each system within a home (e.g., HVAC) impact the various other systems within the home.

Dr. Gillen is an Assistant Professor, Family and Consumer Economics for Older Adults. Her research interests include personal and family finance, consumer economics, older adults, Social Security retirement benefits, employment, financial social work, and innovative post-secondary education models. Dr. Gillen will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of personal and family finance and research methods.

Prior to joining the Department, Dr. Gillen served as an Assistant Dean for Finance and Center Administration in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. She has assisted the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program by preparing tax returns for low income families and taught tax law to volunteers. She has also served as a grant reviewer and invited presenter for United Way. Her appointment is 70% teaching and 30% extension.

Dr. Harris is an Assistant Professor, Family and Youth Development. His research foci include: 1) close relationships–with an emphasis in relationship quality, marriage, and parenting education, and balancing work and family; 2) teaching pedagogy with an emphasis in empirically-informed program design, teaching methodologies, curriculum enhancement, group process, and effective online instruction; and, 3) cultural diversity with an emphasis in spirituality and religiosity manifest across world cultures and religions.

Dr. Harris has directed multiple travel study groups to Europe and enjoys studying different cultures and peoples and how these peoples form and maintain close relationships. As a result of his studies, he has traveled to almost all 50 of the United States and to such countries as Eygpt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Greece, Japan, Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Portugal, England, and the Czech Republic.