Professor Phyllis Moen Named Recipient of the 2022 John Bynner Distinguished Scholar Award

Professor Phyllis Moen

UMN Sociology Professor Phyllis Moen is the recipient of the 2022 John Bynner Distinguished Scholar Award from the multidisciplinary, international Society for Longitudinal and Life Course Studies (SLLS).

This annual award honors a scholar who has shown exceptional lifetime achievement in advancing the longitudinal study and scientific understanding of the life course. The purpose of this annual award is to recognize the most eminent scholarly exemplars in the field, whose contributions to research, theory, or policy analysis have elucidated the macro- and micro-level foundations of the life course and individual biography.

Congratulations, Professor Moen!

Phyllis Moen received her PhD in Sociology at Minnesota and was recruited back in 2003, after 25 years as a professor of Human Development and of Sociology at Cornell University, where she held the Ferris Family Chair. Professor Moen is a life course scholar investigating the timing, duration, and sequencing of work, family, and retirement pathways in tandem with the health and well-being of women and men of different ages, life stages, race/ethnicities, and social classes.

Her research takes a life-course, contextual approach to the social determinants of work, health, and well-being across historical time and place. She has a strong interest in the dynamics of individuals’ and couples’ conjoint later life-course paths reproducing inequalities as well as in gendered paid work, volunteer, and caregiving paths, particularly for people at older ages. She has expertise as a sociologist, demographer, life-course scholar, and is the former Director of the University of Minnesota Life Course Center. Dr. Moen also launched the University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative (UMAC), bringing Boomers and others back to campus to explore their next acts by widening horizons, reimagining identities, intergenerational learning, and hands-on participation in community organizations.

Her latest book (with Erin Kelly) is Overload: How Good Jobs Went Bad and What We Can Do About It (Princeton University Press), published in March 2020. Drawing on five years of research, including hundreds of interviews with employees and managers, Kelly and Moen tell the story of a major experiment that they helped design and implement at a Fortune 500 firm. The company adopted creative and practical work redesigns that gave workers more control over how and where they worked and encouraged managers to evaluate performance in new ways. Employees’ health, well-being, and ability to manage their personal and work lives improved, while the company benefited from higher job satisfaction and lower turnover.

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