Managing director named for institute that provides latest in family research to policy leaders

July 28, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jacquelyn Thomas-Miller has been named managing director of the nationally recognized Family Impact Institute at Purdue University.

"With Dr. Thomas-Miller's guidance, the institute will continue to ensure that policymaking is guided by the latest evidence for families across the nation, especially through our Family Impact Seminars, which are offered in 26 states, including Indiana," said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of the Center for Families and executive director of the Family Impact Institute. "We are very excited to have Dr. Thomas-Miller join the Family Impact Institute's effort. She brings great energy and experience in connecting people and building communities."

Family Impact Seminars are an award-winning and cost-effective model for educating legislators about high-quality research on family-relevant policies currently under legislative debate, MacDermid Wadsworth said. Seminars also provide legislators with a neutral forum in which to engage and discuss family-related research.

"The Center for Families is respected for its work supporting those who work directly with families," Thomas-Miller said. "As a part of the Family Impact Institute, I look forward to working with affiliates all over the county and I am excited to continue the work of FII in helping policymakers see families, not as the private problems of individual families, but as public priorities for policy and program decisions."

Thomas-Miller previously served as a high school and elementary school administrator for 11 years, following a 19-year teaching career as a special educator. She also has served terms as an adjunct professor for Ivy Tech Community College and Indiana University Kokomo. Thomas-Miller's appointment was effective June 8.

Thomas-Miller has a bachelor's degree in education from Jackson State University, a master's degree in education from the University of Toledo, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Oakland City University. She has a public school administration certification through Indiana University Bloomington. Thomas-Miller serves on the board of directors for Indiana Black Expo, Inc., the advisory board for the IN Learning Disabilities Association and is an active member of Alpha Mu Omega-Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Indianapolis, and the Community Women's Guild in Kokomo.

The Family Impact Institute receives support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation as well as multiple Purdue units, including Extension, the department of Human Development and Family Studies, the Brian Lamb School of Communication, the Department of Political Science, and the Purdue Honors College.

"These partnerships will allow Purdue to create a unique experience for students seeking a degree at Purdue," MacDermid Wadsworth said. "They will have the opportunity to engage with legislators and universities from around the country, providing the most recent research to influence policies affecting families."

Founded in 1994, the Center for Families is an initiative of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences. Its mission is to help improve the quality of life for families. In addition to the Family Impact Institute, the Center for Families is home to the Military Family Research Institute. The center integrates outreach, teaching and research activities that support families, through increased and enhanced collaborations among academic disciplines, professionals, policymakers, corporations and community organizations. 

News Service Contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, 

Sources: Kate Kester, assistant director of Center for Families,

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director for Center for Families and executive director of the Family Impact Institute, 

Related news release:

Family Impact Institute at Purdue to provide research, data for government leaders 

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