Liberal Arts Expertise around COVID-19

“The work we do is our strength. The questions we ask, the analytical tools we bring, the perspectives we raise from our various disciplines—that’s the heart of how the liberal arts advances our understanding of critical societal issues… . Our work is our strength. Nothing we are going through right now changes that in the least.” — John Coleman, dean

Here you’ll find the stories in which our faculty are bringing their insights and expertise to the benefit of us all during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Last updated July 22, 2021)

African American & African Studies

Keith Mayes standing in the doorway of his office, smiling

Keith Mayes, associate professor

Expertise: 19th and 20th-century African American History, Kwanzaa and Black holidays, Civil Rights and Black Power Movement, Black history and educational policy, African American public history

American Studies

Learn how our economists are helping with the pandemic response

As the novel coronavirus has evolved into a worldwide pandemic, the toll on economies has increased dramatically. Along with epidemiologists and public health experts, economists are using their expertise to offer insightful analysis and policy recommendations for mitigating the impact (in both health and financial terms) now and into the future. View a compilation of Department of Economics COVID-related news, research in progress, and other updates.

Professor VV Chari

V. V. Chari, Paul Frenzel Land Grant Professor of Liberal Arts and an advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Expertise: Financial intermediation, fiscal and monetary policy, industrial organizations, macroeconomics, public economics

Professor Tim Kehoe

Timothy Kehoe, Distinguished McKnight Professor and an advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Expertise: Applied general equilibrium modeling, intertemporal general equilibrium theory, trade theory

Christopher Phelan

Chris Phelan, Chair of the Department of Economics and an advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Expertise: Monetary economics, public economics, macroeconomic theory, incentives, inequality, game theory

Portrait of Aldo Rustichini

Aldo Rustichini, professor

Expertise: Economic dynamics, game theory, mathematics for economists, microeconomic theory, models of bounded rationality, political economy


Photo of Katherine Scheil sitting in front bookshelves decorated with a string of small British flags

Katherine Scheil, professor

Expertise: Shakespeare, early modern literature, theatre history and performance studies, archival study, history of reading, women's studies/feminist criticism/history of women, 18th-century literature

Geography, Environment, & Society

Abdi Samatar

Professor Abdi Samatar, professor

Expertise: Development theory and the state, capitalist development, environment and development, political economy, agrarian change, ethnic politics, East and Southern Africa, Third World, Islamic world, Botswana, Somalia, Ethiopia


COVID through the Eyes of Historians

The coronavirus pandemic will live not only in our memories but also in our history books. How does COVID-19 compare to other infectious diseases? What other implications does it have for our societies? In this series, faculty experts reflect on what we can learn from past epidemics and how we might change in response to this one.

Portrait of Professor Willian Jones

William P. Jones, professor, AFSCME's Jerry Wurf Memorial Fund Scholar-in-Residence, and president of the Labor and Working-Class History Association

Expertise: Labor, work, unions, race, civil rights, African Americans, 20th-century United States

Erika Lee

Erika Lee, Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies, Director of the Immigration History Research Center, and Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History

Expertise: Xenophobia, Migration, race, and ethnicity; Asian Americans; 20th-century United States; law and public policy

Immigration History Research Center
Journalism & Mass Communication

Portrait of Emily Vraga

Emily Vraga, associate professor, Don & Carole Larson Professorship in Health Communication

Expertise: Identifying and correcting misinformation, political communication, health communication, digital media effects


Portrait of Alan Love.

Alan Love, John M. Dolan Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science

Expertise: Philosophy of biology; philosophy of medicine; history of biology; science and religion

photo of Valeri Tiberius

Valerie Tiberius, Paul W. Frenzel Chair in Liberal Arts, Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy

Expertise: Ethics, moral psychology, well-being

Political Science

Photograph of Professor Chris Federico

Christopher Federico, professor and director of the Center for the Study of Political Psychology

Expertise: Political psychology, ideology and belief systems, political knowledge, race and politics, quantitative methods in the social sciences

Portrait of Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson, professor

Expertise:  Supreme Court Oral Arguments and Decision Making, The Evolution of the Norm of Respecting Precedent in U.S. Courts, Executive/Judiciary Relations, Judicial Politics, American politics

Howard Lavine

Howard Lavine, associate dean of the social sciences in the College of Liberal Arts, Arleen C. Carlson Professor of Political Science and Psychology

Expertise: Human rights, populism, partisan asymmetries, the intersection of race and political context on public opinion, and the psychological underpinnings of mass political behavior

Portrait of August Nimtz

August Nimtz, professor

Expertise: African politics, comparative politics, ethnic politics, Marxism, political development, politics of the transition to socialism, political economy

Kathryn Pearson

Kathryn Pearson, associate chair, Department of Political Science

Expertise: American politics, US Congress, women and politics, Congressional elections and political behavior, US political parties


Timely: Psychology Research During COVID-19

Psychologists are uniquely positioned to do good during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a series of short stories and social media posts, Department of Psychology researchers are exploring ways in which people, communities, and organizations are impacted by COVID-19, and how each can best manage and respond to stressors, transitions, and challenges that they are now confronting.

Photo of Patricia Frazier

Patricia Frazier, Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Expertise: Counseling and social, coping with traumatic life events; PTSD and post-traumatic growth; perceptions of control over traumatic events

Portrait of Nathan Kuncel

Nathan Kuncel, professor

Expertise: Structure and prediction of academic and work performance, predictive validity of standardized tests and non-cognitive predictors

Portrait of Richard Lee

Richard M. Lee, Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Distinguished University Teaching Professor 

Expertise: Racism, discrimination, xenophobia and implications for mental health and parenting in Asian American families; impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, well-being, and school/work performance; transracial and transnational adoption; culture-specific risk and protective factors on the development and well-being of families and youth of color

Portait of Schmuel LIssek

Shmuel Lissek, associate professor

Expertise: The neurobiology and psychophysiology of human anxiety, classical and operant conditioning markers of clinical anxiety, generalization of conditioned fear, the neural antecedents of avoidance and other fear-related decisions

Portrait of Deniz Ones sitting at a desk with bookshelves in the background

Deniz S. Ones, Distinguished McKnight University Professor

Expertise: counterproductive work behaviors, employment integrity testing, hiring and retention of employees, meta-analysis procedures, personality assessment and research, personality measurement in I/O psychology, personnel selection and classification

Photograph of Professor Mark Snyder

Mark Snyder, McKnight Presidential Chair in Psychology and director of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society

Expertise: Altruism, attitude change, interpersonal behavior, personality and social interaction, self-monitoring processes, social and psychological aspects of volunteerism and pro-social action, social influence, social perception, social power


Doug Hartmann

Douglas Hartmann, professor and sociology department chair

Expertise: Race, ethnicity, and Immigration; sociology of culture, sport studies, social movements, American society, field methods, contemporary theory, public engagement

Portrait of Ann Meier

Ann Meier, professor

Expertise: Family and Life Course; Adolescent and Young Adult Development; Gender

Portrait of Phyllis Moen

Phyllis Moen, McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair in Sociology 

Expertise: Work and retirement, family, subjective well-being, health, policy, gendered life course

Portrait of Josh Page

Joshua Page, Don A. Martindale Professor of Sociology, Beverly & Richard Fink Professor in CLA

Expertise: Crime, law, deviance, and punishment; labor and unionization; political sociology, qualitative research methods, social theory

Portrait of Michelle Phelps

Michelle Phelps, associate professor

Expertise: Crime, law and deviance; inequality; mixed methods

Steven Ruggles

Steven Ruggles, professor, History & Founder of ISRDI & the MN Population Center

Expertise: U. S. census research; U. S. social history; historical demography; history of the family

Portrait of Rob Warren

Rob Warren, professor and director of the Minnesota Population Center

Expertise: Social inequality, education, health disparities, demography

Portrait of Elizabeth Wrigley Field

Elizabeth Wrigley-Field, assistant professor

Expertise: Formal demography, social demography, race, health, inequality.

Theatre Arts & Dance

Photo of Sonja Kuftinec

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