3 NCFR Members Recognized for 2022 Innovation in Teaching Family Science

Cognella 2022 award recipients
The 2022 recipients are pictured with Kassie Graves, Senior Vice President at Cognella, Inc. (3rd from left)

NCFR members Kevin Roy, Ph.D.Sothy Eng, Ph.D., and Mamta Saxena, Ph.D. were each recognized with a Cognella Innovation in Teaching Award for Family Science at the 2022 NCFR Annual Conference in November.

Publisher Cognella and NCFR partnered to create the award, which recognizes outstanding instructors in the Family Science discipline who go above and beyond to introduce cutting-edge teaching practices that engage their students and advance the discipline.


Revolutionizing the Study of Masculinity and Its Impact on Family Health and Well-Being

Kevin M. Roy
Kevin M. Roy

The first-place honor went to Kevin Roy, Ph.D., a tenured professor in the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. The judging panel was impressed by how he developed a new course titled “Man Up? Health, Masculinities, Families, and Inequality.” The course is a signature elective for underclassmen and has been delivered to over 1,000 students over 20 semesters.

Within the course, students examine the impacts of masculinity on family health and well-being. They explore adolescent development, emerging adulthood, and aging for men over the life course; men’s mental health; consent and intimate relationships; violence and war; White supremacy and men’s entitlement; and child/father bonds, coparenting, and kin networks. The course prioritizes critical examination of structural racism, including African American, Latino, East and Southeast Asian, and White masculinities, and recognizing a full spectrum of sexual orientation and gender identities.

Courses on fatherhood are quite scarce within the Family Science discipline. This innovative class transcends similar offerings to ensure students develop the skills necessary to work in communities with men, builds their health literacy knowledge, exposes them to rigorous scientific methods and public health principles, and helps them better understand the complexity of fathers and the family. Additionally, “Man Up?” successfully marries Family Science and public health, representing an exciting new direction for family science studies and courses.

The panel believes Dr. Roy's innovation, leadership, and dedication to his students will result in healthier and happier families and communities.


The judging panel was so impressed by the entries submitted by Dr. Eng and Dr. Saxena they chose to award both educators with second-place awards.


Developing Innovative Teaching Methods and Theory to Cultivate Students’ Knowledge and Empathy

Sothy Eng

Sothy Eng, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, has developed a method called DRCRA to challenge students to read with purpose, find relevance in the material to their own lives, and learn to apply what they’ve read.

Through a storytelling presentation, students share a personal relationship story requiring them to Describe the story (like a news reporter), React to the issues based on stereotypes (like a misinformed audience), Reflect on the reading materials (like a scholar/scientist), Connect to their own life (like a conscious, informed audience), and Apply it to promote healthy family relationships (like a practitioner). This presentation not only helps students master their public speaking skills, but also enable them to connect with each other via openness and vulnerability—a key to enhancing communications and healthy relationships.


Implementing Care-Based Pedagogy and Emphasizing Interlinking Teaching, Advising, and Scholarship

Mamta Saxena, Ph.D.
Mamta Saxena

The judging panel was impressed with how Mamta Saxena, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Human Development at the State University of New York at Oswego, enriched her research-based courses with a care-based pedagogy and an emphasis on interlinking teaching, advising, and scholarship.

She combined frameworks, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy and an adapted version of the Partners in Parenting Education model, to introduce a four-step instructional model integrating subject mastery, a gamified approach, authentic assessment, and content accessibility in synchronous and asynchronous courses. Utilizing this method, Dr. Saxena’s students collected data on approximately 400 individuals to study the impact of COVID-19 on family routines, coping, and stress, which yielded valuable data and also taught students best practices in survey design and data collection. An account of Dr. Saxena’s implementation of this model and its positive result on student outcomes was published in March of 2022 in the Family Science Review.


To learn more about the recipients' unique contributions and innovations, read their profiles on the Cognella website.