Big Ten Academic Alliance
Department Executive Officers Program
Each year, up to five department heads and chairs at Nebraska are selected as DEO Fellows and participate in the Department Executive Officers Seminar put on by the Big Ten Academic Alliance. This three-day seminar includes workshops on topics such as conflict resolution, time management, faculty development, performance reviews, and group problem solving.
2023-24 DEO Fellows
Maria de Guzman
Professor and Extension Specialist in Adolescent Development in Child, Youth and Family Studies
Maria de Guzman is a Professor and Extension Specialist in Adolescent Development in Child, Youth and Family Studies. She has over 15 years of experience in research and programs that promote well-being among underserved populations. She also has a joint appointment with Nebraska Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design, for which she serves as Chair. De Guzman has generated over $5M in grants, as well as over 50 publications, including the book Parenting From Afar: The Reconfiguration of Family Across Distance (Oxford University Press), which was awarded the prestigious Gielen Global Award by the American Psychological Association for its contribution to psychology as an international discipline. She has two forthcoming books: Extension and the Social Sciences: Uplifting Children, Youth, Families, and Communities (Cambridge University) and Adolescent Development: An International Perspective (Springer). She is originally from the Philippines.
Brewster Professor of Accountancy, Director of the School of Accountancy
Jimmy Downes is the Brewster Professor of Accountancy and Director of the School of Accountancy. His research interests include economic transactions of multinational firms, accounting for derivatives, and international accounting. His research is used in generating policies and review by organizations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. He also teaches financial accounting. Downes holds an active Certified Public Accountant license. His bachelor's degree in accounting and master's degree in accountancy are from Kansas State University and his doctorate in accounting is from the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University.
Jody Koenig Kellas
Willa Cather Professor and Chair of Communication Studies
Jody Koenig Kellas is Willa Cather Professor and Chair of Communication Studies. The goal of her research program is to study the ways in which narratives and storytelling can be translated to help individuals and families understand, negotiate, and improve communication, coping, and individual, relational, and interactional well-being. She is the author of communicated narrative sense-making theory and founder of Narrative Nebraska, a research lab focused on investigating and applying the ways in which narratives and storytelling can improve the communication and lives of participants. The majority of her research focuses on family storytelling. Her recent work provides empirical evidence for the mental and relational health benefits of a theoretically grounded translational storytelling intervention called Narrative Parenting, which helps parents make sense of and — in the process build community and connection with other parents around — the difficulties and joys of parenting. She has received many awards for her scholarship and teaching, including the Bernard J. Brommel Award for Outstanding Scholarship or Distinguished Service in Family Communication from the National Communication Association and the NU Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award. On campus, she co-facilitates the FIRST Project, taught Preparing Future Faculty for many years, and is a member of the DEO Advisory Board. She earned her bachelor's degree in communication at Northwestern University and her master's degree and doctorate in communication at the University of Washington.
Professor and Chair of Sociology
Jolene Smyth is Professor and Chair of Sociology. Her primary research focuses on survey methodology, particularly the science behind collecting high-quality survey data. Her research interests are driven by an unwavering belief in the importance of good data as a basis for science, decision making, and policy. Her book Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method is a top reference for researchers and practitioners who use survey methods in their work. Her research, which has been funded by NSF and the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, has also been published in numerous peer reviewed journal articles and has examined such topics as the design of web surveys, context effects in web surveys, mixed-mode surveys, mode preference, questionnaire design for smartphone surveys, visual design for web and mail surveys, multiple-answer questions, open-ended questions, scalar questions, survey recruitment, within-household selection in self-administered surveys, incentives, survey sponsorship, and interviewer effects in telephone surveys. From 2011-2020, she served as the Director of UNL’s Bureau of Sociological Research. She received a bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree and doctorate in sociology from Washington State University.
Professor and Program Director of Community and Regional Planning
Zhenghong Tang is Professor and Program Director of Community and Regional Planning. Additionally, he holds a professorship in the Landscape Architecture Program and courtesy positions in the School of Natural Resources and the School of Global Integrative Studies. He is also a faculty fellow at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the Center for Great Plains Studies. His primary research interests focus on the fields of environmental planning, hazard mitigation, and geospatial science and technology. Over the past decade, his research has received active funding from various federal agencies. He teaches a diverse range of undergraduate and graduate courses including Environmental Planning and Policy, GIS in Environmental Design and Planning, Environmental Impact Assessment, Hazard Mitigation Planning, Planning Theory, and Planning Studio. He holds a bachelor's degree in land management from Human Normal University, a master's degree in soil science from Huazhong Agricultural University in China, and a doctorate in urban and regional science from Texas A&M University.