WOU Welcomes New Dean of Graduate Studies and Research, Dr. Hillary Fouts

WOU Dean of Graduate Studies and Research Hillary Fouts smiles for a photograph. She is wearing a gray shirt, a purple-toned scarf, and glasses.

This summer, WOU welcomed a new dean of graduate studies and research, Dr. Hillary Fouts. As the new dean, she oversees the Sponsored Projects office, research centers and grant work, as well as Graduate Studies. Prior to joining WOU, Fouts worked at the University of Tennessee as a professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. 

Fouts attended Central Washington University, where she received a Bachelor of Science in both Anthropology and Psychology. She received her doctorate in anthropology from Washington State University. When asked about why she chose anthropology and psychology as her areas of study, Fouts mentioned that “the focus of [her] research has always been children and their development and well-being. Child development is complex and viewing these processes from one discipline or even two felt too limiting to [her].” She said that she is “a transdisciplinary researcher and [she takes] an integrated bio-cultural approach to [her] research, drawing from the fields of developmental psychology, family science, anthropology, and public health.” 

While she has lived in the Eastern parts of the United States for the last 18 years, she mentioned that she is excited to be back in the Pacific Northwest. Even while she lived in Tennessee, Fouts considered the PNW her home, and she especially missed the Cascade mountains, and that “being near them again feels like a dream.” When she first visited WOU’s campus, Fouts said she was inspired by the faculty, staff, and students she met, and knew that the WOU community was something she wanted to be part of. 

Fouts, who has been a professor for the last 15 years, mentioned that her favorite aspect of being a professor is mentoring and supporting graduate students, especially as they conduct research. In fact, it was this enthusiasm that inspired Fouts to apply for the dean of graduate studies and research position. As for her advice to incoming students, Fouts had three things to say: “Keep an open mind. Follow your curiosity. Work hard and also take time to rest and play.” 

Looking into her future at WOU, Fouts is excited to support WOU faculty, staff, and students in their research endeavors, as well as helping these researchers gain external funding. In regard to funding, she mentioned that “the grant world can be daunting, so [she hopes] to help demystify and streamline that process for researchers at WOU.” 

When she’s not working, Fouts can be found “playing with [her] children, camping, mountain biking, hiking, baking, exploring Oregon, and traveling (during non-COVID times).” 

If you’re interested in checking out some of Fouts’ recent publications, she has graciously shared a few articles. Check them out below: 

Bader, L., Ward, J., Fouts, H.N., & Jaekel, J. (2020). Infant care practices among resettled refugee mothers from East and Central Africa. Children, 7, 63.

Bentley, R.A., Ruck, D.J., & Fouts, H.N. (2020). The delayed effect of added sugars on U.S. obesity. Economics and Human Biology, 36.

Salinas, D, Fouts, H. N., Neitzel, C. L., Bates-Fredi, D. R. (2019). Young children’s social networks in an informal urban settlement in Kenya. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(5), 639-658.  

Bader, L. R., Fouts, H. N., & Jaekel, J. (2019). Mothers’ feelings about infants’ negative emotions and mother-infant interactions among the Gamo of Southern Ethiopia. Infant Behavior and Development, 54, 22-36.  

Bader, L. R. & Fouts, H. N. (2018). Cultural models of infant emotions and needs among the Gamo people of Southern Ethiopia. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(5), 497-510.  

Hallam, R. A., Bargreen, K., Fouts, H. N., Lessard, L. & Skrobot, C. (2018). The use of infant confinement equipment in community-based child care centers: An analysis of centers participating in a statewide quality rating and improvement system. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 22(5), 694-701.  

Fouts, H. N., McAteer, C. I., Neitzel, C. L., & Bates-Fredi, D. R. (2017). Residential crowding and young children’s social and emotional behaviors in a Burundian refugee community. Children, Youth and Environments, 27(3), 34-55.  

Fouts, H.N., Neitzel, C.L., & Bader, L.R. (2016). Work-themed play among young children in foraging and farming communities in Central Africa. Behaviour, 153, 663-691, DOI:10.1163/1568539X-00003362.  

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