School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy Affiliated Faculty 

The Ph.D. in Urban Affairs program has several faculty working with doctoral students while they study at the University of Memphis. Below, you can search for affiliated faculty that match your research interests.

Atyeh Ashtari

Atyeh Ashtari | Assistant Professor
City and Regional Planning
Website | aashtari@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Ashtari explores critical feminist methodologies, mixed-methods qualitative research, participatory action research, digital storytelling and visualizations, and ethnography.

Derefe Chevannes

Derefe Chevannes | Assistant Professor
Political Science
Website | dkchvnns@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Chevannes explores political theory, public law, Africana political theory, black liberatory politics, disability studies, Caribbean studies, and qualitative methods. 

Stephen Kofi Diko

Stephen Diko | Assistant Professor
City and Regional Planning
Website | skdiko@memphis.edu

Research Interests:  Dr. Diko focuses on urban green spaces, climate change, flooding, and urban plan quality assessments. Currently, he is working with towns and communities close to Blue Oval City to plan for their future.

Davia Downey

Davia Downey | Associate Professor
Public and Nonprofit Administration
Website | email@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Downey's research explores intergovernmental relations and federalism, disaster studies, emergency management policy, economic and community development, urban politics and governance, local government litigation patterns, American public policy, and quantitative methods.

Susan Elswick

Susan Elswick | Professor
Social Work 
Website | selswick@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Elswick uses single-subject, mixed-methods, and qualitative research methods to explore community mental health, the impact of evidence-based behavioral interventions, and the efficacy of play and art-based interventions in the school setting.



Atyeh Ashtari

Andrew Guthrie | Assistant Professor
City and Regional Planning
Website | guthrie1@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Guthrie focuses on transit accessibility, gentrification, and the intersection of transit improvements and housing affordability. His research quantifies displacement around newly implemented transit projects and explores public sector strategies for actively promoting transit-oriented affordable housing. 

Joseph Hafer

Joseph Hafer | Assistant Professor
Public and Nonprofit Administration
Website | jahafer@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Hafer focuses on measuring public value creation and perceptions, change, and modernization in rural local government, public management, and state and local government collaboration. His research incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methods. 

Arleen Hill

Arleen Hill | Professor
Earth Sciences
Website | aahill@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Hill's research focuses on natural hazards and disaster studies, urban and rural resilience strategies, disaster risk assessment, participatory action research, emergency management policy development, mapping risk using geographic information systems, and quantitative and qualitative methods.

Michael Howell-Moroney

Michael Howell-Moroney | Professor
Public and Nonprofit Administration
Website | mhwllmrn@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Howell-Moroney's research focuses on understanding causal inference using non-experimental (observational) data to explore the relationships between work and prosocial behaviors. He also studies the determinants of life satisfaction and happiness, citizen trust, collaboration, and innovation in local government. 

Amaia Iratzoqui

Amaia Iratzoqui | Associate Professor
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Website | ratzoqui@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Iratzoqui's research focuses on the barriers and issues facing victims of intimate partner violence in reporting their victimization, including prior experiences with the criminal justice system and their criminal history. She is particularly interested in the specific barriers that exist for women of color, particularly those who are undocumented, and for women with criminal records related to drugs.

Matthias Kaelberer

Matthias Kaelberer | Professor
Political Science
Website | mkaelbrr@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Kaelberer's current research examines socio-political discourses at the intersections of politics and soccer in Germany, particularly on issues of collective identities, race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Doyun Koo

Doyun Koo | Assistant Professor
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Website | doyun.koo@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Koo's research focus includes, but is not limited to, immigration/immigrants in sentencing and the criminal justice system, minorities in sentencing, and general corrections and reentry practices. 

Katherine Lambert-Pennington

Katherine Lambert-Pennington | Associate Professor
Website | k.lambert-pennington@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Lambert-Pennington's research includes race and social inequality, social movements, identity production, community development, food justice, alternative food networks, participatory action research, and community-university partnerships. Her studies are situated in the United States, Australia, and Italy.

Sarah Leat

SunAh Laybourn | Assistant Professor
Website | sunah.laybourn@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Laybourn's research focuses on race and ethnicity, identity development, particularly in Asian America/ns. Her other research explores issues of immigration, citizenship advocacy, and belonging through the lens of transracial adoptees.

Sarah Leat

Sarah Leat | Assistant Professor
Social Work
Website | srrbnsn2@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Sarah Leat focuses her research on the public health crisis of intimate partner violence and explores help-seeking behaviors and barriers and facilitators to accessing services, the role of transportation in accessing services for survivors, and the impact of the built environment on survivors' outcomes, specifically including domestic violence shelters. 

Atyeh Ashtari

Timothy McCuddy | Assistant Professor
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Website | tmccuddy@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. McCuddy's research interests focus on the causes and consequences of youth crime and violence. Within this broad umbrella, he specializes in four areas: the implications of digital communication for crime and deviance, peer groups and crime, school safety, and community crime prevention.

Atyeh Ashtari

James McCutcheon | Associate Professor
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Website | jcmcctch@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. McCutcheon's current research is focused on sexual violence, specifically the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative. Additionally, he works on the Law Enforcement Victims Services Projects in the City of Memphis that place victim specialists in the homicide unit to work with secondary victims of homicide. Much of his current research is applied and focused on community engagement.

Atyeh Ashtari

Susan Neely-Barnes | Professor
Social Work
Website | snlybrns@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Neely-Barnes's research focuses on disability studies, developmental disabilities in the school setting, integrated behavioral health, evaluations of programs providing effective support for people with disabilities and their family members, and improving the education and training of social work students.

Atyeh Ashtari

Erin Nelson | Associate Professor
Public and Nonprofit Administration
Website | knmenoff@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Nelson's research interests are understanding career decision-making and examining how people learn about and select careers in the nonprofit sector. Erin also researches nonprofit career trajectories, nonprofit management education, and leadership and talent development in nonprofit organizations.

Atyeh Ashtari

Gretchen Peterson | Professor
Website | gpterson@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Peterson's primary research interests are in the sociology of sports and social psychology. She is particularly interested in the intersection of those two areas and has specific interests in the sociology of emotions and gender. Her studies utilize various research methods, including experiments, surveys, and ethnographic fieldwork.

Atyeh Ashtari

Charlie Santo | Associate Professor
City and Regional Planning
Website | casanto@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Santo's research interests include Arts-based community development, the intersection of sport and urban public policymaking, and urban revitalization.

Atyeh Ashtari

Stephen Watts | Associate Professor
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Website | sjwatts@memphis.edu

Research Interests: Dr. Watts' research interests includes the overlap between offending and victimization. Recently, this research has incorporated the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on this overlap. He also does research looking at the relationship between victimization and substance use, among other areas.