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June 2010  |  Return to issue home

What's Next for Diane Carlson Jones?

Diane Carlson Jones
Diane Carlson Jones

Dr. Diane Carlson Jones, professor of Educational Psychology, will retire at the end of this academic year.

She obtained her Ph.D. at Wayne State University in lifespan developmental psychology. Before this, she earned an M.A. in comparative government and taught high school social studies. During her time as a teacher, Carlson Jones became interested in pursuing her own work on educational lessons and developmental outcomes.

"I had worked with adjudicated adolescents in Detroit," she explains, "and was aware of the challenges they faced in the arenas of home and school. I wanted to learn how to better support positive outcomes for all children and graduate school was a means to that end."

After obtaining her doctorate, Carlson Jones worked at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and, more extensively, at Texas A&M University. Human development was her primary interest. As her career advanced, she became more specialized in the areas of social development, adolescent development, gender development, with specific emphasis on peer relations and friendships.

Carlson Jones joined the University of Washington College of Education in 1996. It was one more step in her "journey to finding a balance between teaching, research and family."

When asked what she considers the highlights of her time at the College, Carlson Jones notes that she has built on her interest in human development with additional layers of knowledge around social relationships in schools.

"It has been an opportunity to clarify my thinking around the importance of social relationships in schools," she says. "I have come to appreciate how teachers are central figures in creating relationships with students and supporting positive developmental outcomes for all students. It has been a real highlight of my time at the College to work with our TEP students to create awareness of the teacher role and to develop strategies for positive classroom relationships."

Carlson Jones also lists her "relationships with colleagues" and "work with students" as high points.

"Our faculty are very smart and decent," Carlson Jones states. "There is a lot of goodwill and that extends to our students…I feel that my work with students has also been highly rewarding. I appreciate our students’ devotion to their work and have enjoyed helping them to develop their own careers."

Carlson Jones plans to continue work on at least two major projects after she formally retires. The first is an NSF grant on engineering along with PI Denise Wilson, faculty member in the UW Department of Electrical Engineering. This grant will focus on retention of engineering students in five colleges/universities through the development of community and professional identity. The research will help to create understanding of the role of social affective aspects in higher education with relevance for education more broadly. Additionally, Carlson Jones will continue research around body image issues for adolescents.

"These issues of physical and psychological well-being are very important," she explains. "Concerns with body image can undermine a youth’s well-being and put kids at risk in school settings"

Carlson Jones hopes to split her time between Seattle and Austin, where her family and 18-month-old grandchild reside.

Read testimony from some of Carlson Jones' students, peers, and friends or add your own.

June 2010  |  Return to issue home

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