There’s a wealth of expertise on the hilltop, and it’s regularly sought after by local and national media outlets and publications. In a year upended by the global pandemic, faculty and staff at St. Edward’s provided astute viewpoints on current events, shared research and perspectives on topics they’re passionate about, and weighed in on social issues in a shifting landscape. Here’s a roundup of their thought leadership.

Rebecca Davis

Virtual Learning Goes Beyond Online Lectures

Rebecca Davis, associate vice president for Digital Learning, was interviewed by The Economist Intelligence Unit for a report sponsored by the Microsoft about advancements in virtual learning during the pandemic. Davis points out that opportunities for active learning and engagement foster a greater sense of connection, and that innovative schools like St. Edward’s already use virtual anatomy, virtual internships, virtual counseling and virtual student teaching. 

Timothy Braun

Teaching from the Kitchen Counter 

In his essay for KUT’s Texas Standard, “There Is Wrong and Less Wrong,” playwright and visiting professor Timothy Braun gives a glimpse into how faculty at St. Edward’s have gone above and beyond to teach and care for their students during the pandemic. Braun keeps a watchful eye on his students’ wellbeing and notes, “You don’t become a professor at a school like St. Ed’s for money or fame. You do it because you love your students.”

Sarah Mittal

New Business Research Makes the Case for Beards

Fast Company featured research by Sarah Mittal, assistant professor of Marketing. Mittal’s research, recently published in the Journal of Business Research, looks at the “power” of beards in a sales/service role. It found that “customers consider bearded salespeople to have greater expertise and, therefore, more trustworthiness than mustached, clean-shaven, or stubbled coworkers” regardless of race, ethnicity, attractiveness or likability.

David Thomason

Democracy Requires Listening

David Thomason, assistant professor of Political Science, penned an op-ed in the San Antonio Express News on the importance of listening to one another in a democracy — a lesson that was reinforced for his students when they interviewed voters for The Civics Lab, a student and faculty podcast at St. Edward’s. Thomason’s op-ed was also published in the Dallas Morning News.

Expert Analysis of the Political Climate

David Thomason (above) is among a group of faculty members at St. Edward’s sought after for political commentary by Austin media outlets, including ABC KVUE, Fox 7, KXAN, CBS Austin and the Austin American-Statesman.

Brian Smith

During the 2020 election season, Brian Smith, professor of Political Science, contributed keen perspectives on the Texas and national primaries; state and presidential races; and false claims of election fraud. 


Chad Long, associate professor of Political Science, chimed in with insights on how the court vacancy left by the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg could impact the Texas Senate race.

Lee Jooyoun

Jooyoun Lee, associate professor of Global Studies, provided timely commentary on the state of the U.S. presidential election and Texas politics to South Korean broadcasting company TV Chosun.

Jena Heath

Texas Elections and Teaching in a Pandemic Season

Jena Heath, associate dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, and associate professor of Journalism and Digital Media, penned an op-ed for USA Today on the outcome of the recent election titled “It Gives Me No Pleasure to Be Right, but Democrats Were Never Going to Win Texas in 2020.” Heath also shared her thoughts on teaching during the pandemic in her op-ed for the Austin American-Statesman, “Let’s Stop Apologizing for Teaching Online.”

Carsten Andresen

Tracking the “Gay Panic Defense”

W. Carsten Andresen, assistant professor of Criminal Justice, spoke with The Economist about his research and insights on the “gay panic defense,” a controversial legal tactic rooted in homophobia that is admissible in courts in 39 states. The Conversation also interviewed Andersen about what he has found in researching these cases, and what sets them apart from other murder trials.

Natalie Beck

Home Visits, Not Handcuffs

In response to large-scale Black Lives Matter protests, Natalie Beck, assistant professor of Social Work and a Field Research Scholar with the University of Calgary, wrote an op-ed for Medium calling for schools to hire social workers. “It is time for Texas to invest in prevention rather than criminalization and do better for our children, especially those from systematically-oppressed communities," Beck said.

Adam McCormick

Speaking Out for LGBTQ+ Youth

Adam McCormick, professor of Social Work, penned an op-ed in the San Antonio Express News regarding changes to the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners code of conduct policy that “will now allow social workers to turn away clients based on disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.” After meeting with criticism from social work professionals across the state, the proposed changes were withdrawn.

Katy Goldey

Texas Sex Education Standards Fall Short

Katherine Goldey, associate professor of Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience, wrote an op-ed for the Austin Chronicle weighing in on the Texas State Board of Education’s proposed revision to sex education standards, which excludes sexual orientation and gender identity from the health curriculum. Goldey writes that SBOE’s proposal missed a vital opportunity to support the wellbeing of Texas’ LGBTQ+ students.