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Announcing the Appointment of Dr. I-Fen Lin, Inaugural Coleman-Ganong Endowed Professor in Family Structure and Family Process

I-Fen Lin
Dr. I-Fen Lin

Dr. I-Fen Lin will join the Department of Human Development and Family Science, College of Education and Human Development at the University of Missouri as the Coleman-Ganong Endowed Professor in Family Structure and Family Process on June 1, 2025.  Dr. I-Fen Lin is a distinguished and prolific researcher whose expertise focuses on family science, aging, and survey methods.

Dr. Lin has been funded consistently by the National Institute of Aging for the past decade. One of Lin’s notable areas of research is the phenomenon of “gray divorce,” which examines the increasing trend of divorce among middle-aged and older adults. Her studies in this field look at the antecedents and consequences of such divorces, aiming to understand how these separations affect familial relationships and individual well-being.

Notably, Lin has contributed to understanding the economic implications of gray divorce, particularly how it impacts the financial stability of the involved parties. Her research in this area utilizes longitudinal data to compare economic well-being before and after gray divorce, revealing significant disparities in economic outcomes based on gender. She is also engaged in studying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on generational health and economic outcomes. Lin’s research extends beyond the U.S., as demonstrated by her involvement in various collaborative studies that address global and societal issues, such as the changing dynamics of late-life care and the shifts in support networks for the elderly during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. For those interested in the evolving challenges of aging, family dynamics, and societal shifts, Lin’s work offers valuable insights and contributions to the field of family science.

Dr. Lin, a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, obtained her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has spent the past 24 years at Bowling Green State University after completing a prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University, with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. 

The Coleman-Ganong Endowed Professorship in Family Structure and Family Process compliments on-going work in the department that emphasizes family dynamics, family relationships, and individual and interpersonal wellbeing of members of structurally complex families. This endowed professorship is made possible by the generous support of Drs. Marilyn Coleman and Larry Ganong, whose pioneering research into family dynamics, particularly in stepfamilies and post-divorce resilience, has significantly influenced this field. Their dedication to the field is evident in their prolific output, including numerous books and articles that address these complex dynamics, offering valuable resources for both academic and practical applications in family science. Their body of work continues to support educational endeavors and research at the University of Missouri and beyond, aimed at enhancing the well-being of individuals within various family structures.