Dr. Mari S. Wilhelm is Associate Professor in the Academic Program of Family Studies and Human Development. She holds a joint appointment in the College of Public Health. She earned her B.A. in Vocational Home Economics Education at the University of Nebraska and her M.A. in Family Studies and Ph.D. in Family Ecology at Michigan State University. In 1982 Dr. Wilhelm came to the University of Arizona as an Assistant Professor in the Consumer Studies part of the Academic Program of Home Economics Education/Consumer Studies. Her contribution to the quality of that Academic Program and the School was outstanding in instruction, research and outreach. In 1997 the Board of Regents approved the Institute for Children Youth and Families. In 1998 Dr. Wilhelm was officially named as the Director of the Institute, a position in which she currently serves. Under Dr. Wilhelm’s leadership, a variety of projects addressing critical social, emotional and physical issues facing today’s children and families were initiated, implemented and evaluated using a research mode.
Among the many issues addressed were early child development and learning, positive youth development in current familial, educational, and societal conditions; women’s health; fathers and parenting; and service learning for college students in community-based agencies serving families. Throughout the work of the Institute, Dr. Wilhelm’s commitment to the well-being of families, her belief in the value of multidisciplinary approaches to research and outreach in addressing issues affecting children, youth and families is evident. In addition she has demonstrated unusual skill in bringing together people, institutions and agencies to create programs and to secure funding for carrying them out. With an eye to the future, Dr. Wilhelm was instrumental in specifying research related space for the Institute in the plans for the new John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences Building. This space will include a Child and Family Observation Laboratory and additional multi-purpose research space. It is significant that Dr. Wilhelm’s work in the Institute was accomplished along with her other faculty responsibilities for instruction, research, publication, scholarly presentations and service. For her superior performance, skilled leadership and scholarship and her service to the School and the University, Dr. Wilhelm is most deserving of the Outstanding Faculty Award for 2006.