B.A., St. Olaf College 1994; M.A. University of Notre Dame 1996; Ph.D. University of Notre Dame 2000.
Michelle's main teaching interests at Whitman are in the areas of family, gender, childhood, culture, popular culture, community based research, and education. In addition to her frequent public speaking, she has done research and grant work on gender, work and family, popular and material culture, sports, intersections of design and social relations, teaching sociology, comparative family studies (focusing on Scandinavia), early learning and childhoods, and student learning in higher education. Specifically, her recent research has been in the areas of digital vs. handwritten romantic communication, popular culture representation of families, gender and home decorating television, divorce and material culture, and motherhood and the management of digital photography. She has published in and is an active member of reviewing and editorial boards of various sociology and family studies journals, has been featured in numerous national and regional news sources, served as a visiting researcher at the University of York's (UK) Centre for Women's Studies, served as a visiting professor and consultant in the Sociology and Child Development and Diversity Programs at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad, was a Fulbright Specialist Scholar, and is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Council on Contemporary Families - an organization dedicated to connecting good research on contemporary families with journalists.
A native Minnesotan who spent parts of her childhood living in Germany, Michelle loves being a resident in the Pacific Northwest, and feels at home at Whitman College and in Walla Walla. Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband Neal and son Aaron, traveling, singing, playing piano, sewing, reading, walking her dog, watching television mysteries, and studying design and aesthetics. She also serves as a consultant for organizations wishing to conduct strategic planning, community based research, or needs assessments. Her website and blog, which focuses on boundaries in everyday life, can be found at http://michellejanning.com/.