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Barbara Entwisle, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor, Sociology

Barbara Entwisle focuses on social, natural, and built environments and their consequences for demographic and health outcomes. Her current research examines migration processes in relation to the life course, household dyamics, and community contexts in the US, Southern Africa, and Northeastern Thailand.  

Barbara Entwisle is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Fellow of the Carolina Population Center (CPC). She also holds adjunct and affiliate faculty positions in Geography and the Environment, Energy, and Ecology Program. Her research contributions have been recognized by her election as President of the Sociological Research Association (2015), President of the Population Association of America (2007), and Fellow of the AAAS (2003).  Between August 2010 and June 2016, she served as Vice Chancellor for Research at UNC-Chapel Hill, leading a campus-wide research program with nearly $1billion in annual research expenditures; overseeing 10 research development, support, and compliance offices, and responsible for 15 pan-university research centers and institutes, including the CPC. Prior to her service as Vice Chancellor, from 2002 to 2010, Dr. Entwisle was CPC's Director and Training Director. 

Since returning to the full-time faculty in 2016, Dr. Entwisle has focused her efforts in two areas. First, continuing her long-term interests in  population-environment interactions, she has leveraged data and tools assembled as part of the Nang Rong [Thailand] project to investigate climate change, social networks, and migration processes. A paper based on this work was recently published in the American Journal of Sociology (2020).  She is also engaged in an NSF-funded project investigating migration as a livelihood strategy in the context of energy poverty challenges in Southern Africa. Second, in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Horowitz, Dr. Entwisle launched a study of migration and the life course in the US. Their first paper is forthcoming in Social Forces and a second will be presented at the 2021 PAA Meeting. 

Over her career, Dr. Entwisle has led the development of and early application of new methodological tools, including statistical methods for estimating multilevel models, the integration of social and spatial data, and the development of spatially explicit agent-based modeling approaches. She has contributed to the design of innovative surveys around the world, including the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), the China Health and Nutrition Survey, the Russia Longitudinal Monitoring Survey, and the Nang Rong (Thailand) Surveys of Social and Demographic Change. Between 2005 and 2013, she was PI for the North Carolina components of the National Children's Study (NCS).  Currently, in collaboration with colleagues at the US Census Bureau and in UNC's School of Medicine, Dr. Entwisle is engaged in methodological studies of linkages between electronic health records and American Community Survey data. 

Dr. Entwisle is an engaged mentor with a track record of successfully preparing predocs and postdocs for research careers. To date, she has supervised 17 PhD students to completion and served as advisor for 8 postdoctoral scholars (including one currently). Her former advisees have gone on to tenure-track appointments at major R1 universities (e.g., Washington-Seattle, Brown, Ohio State, Penn State, Maryland, Arizona). Dr. Entwisle has received an NIH MENTOR award, a UNC Outstanding Postdoc Mentor Award, a UNC Distinguished Teaching Award for Post-Baccalaureate Instruction, and six awards for teaching and mentoring from the graduate students in her home department of sociology, the most recent in 2019.

In addition to her research, teaching, and mentoring activities, Dr. Entwisle has led advisory and review panels for the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), NSF, and NIH and engaged in policy discussions of the future of social and behavioral research in those venues as well as in her role as chair of the Board of Directors for the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP) and at-large member of the Consortium for Social Science Associations (COSSA). Dr. Entwisle serves as Series Editor for Sage's Quantitative Applications in Social Science.

 

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