Sociology minor wins best honors thesis

July 1, 2020

The T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics recently announced Claire Mulholand as this year’s Best Honors Thesis recipient. Mulholand won the award for her Barrett, The Honors College thesis, titled “The Enneagram and Empathetic Development: How Personality Indexes May Explain and Predict Empathetic Interactions in a Professional Working Environment.” 

“The overall research goal of this thesis was to measure the change in development of empathy within a professional working environment,” said Mulholand. “I wanted to see how instances of empathy, or lack thereof, between coworkers could be explained by the types of Enneagram personality test.” Claire Mulholand in cap and gown Claire Mulholand, ASU 2020 graduate Download Full Image

Senior Lecturer and Online Graduate Program Director of Sociology Marcella Gemelli served as the supervisor for Mulholand’s thesis.

“The brilliance of Claire’s thesis is how she examined the interactional effects of a personality index indicator with a prosocial behavior such as empathy,” said Gemelli. “Her research has implications for understanding ourselves and how our personalities affect our propensity for empathy when interacting with others.”

According to Sanford School Professor and Faculty Honors Adviser Tracy Spinrad, Mulholand’s thesis was one of eight considered for this year’s Best Honors Thesis award. Each year the undergraduate committee convenes to review the theses of Barrett sociology and family and human development students. The undergraduate committee voted Mulholand’s thesis the best of this year’s submissions.

“I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of a program that is tangibly involved in the lives and professional development of students,” said Mulholand regarding her experience with ASU’s sociology program.

“It was such an immense pleasure working with Claire on her honors thesis,” said Gemelli. “Claire is hardworking, dedicated and passionate — I couldn’t be prouder of her and all that she has accomplished.”

Mulholand graduated summa cum laude this past May with her bachelor’s degree in psychology and a sociology minor. She will be starting her career in administration at Desert Springs Church and plans to do a postgraduate education in ministry program. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a license as a pastor for the Assemblies of God Church.

Read more about Mulholand’s achievements.

Article by Wesley Jackson

John Keeney

Media Relations Coordinator, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics


School of Public Affairs' rankings for public administration research rise to No. 2 in nation, No. 4 in world

July 1, 2020

Arizona State University’s School of Public Affairs has climbed to No. 2 in the U.S. and No. 4 globally for research on public administration, according to the 2020 Shanghai University Academic Rankings announced June 29.

ASU's national ranking places it in front of institutions such as Ohio State University, Harvard and the University of Southern California. headshot of Donald Siegel, Director of ASU's School of Public Affairs Donald Siegel, director of ASU's School of Public Affairs Download Full Image

In 2019, the school held the No. 3 and No. 7 positions, respectively.

“There is no doubt we have key thought leaders and gatekeepers in public administration,” said School of Public Affairs Director and Foundation Professor of public policy and management Donald Siegel. “Our world-class faculty constitute a potent mix of highly productive junior scholars and distinguished senior scholars who helped define the field, including seven fellows of the National Academy of Public Administration. We also serve as the editorial home of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, edited by Professor Mary Feeney,” Siegel said.

“Our prowess in research complements our programmatic excellence, as evidenced by the school’s seven top 10 rankings in specialized fields of public administration and public policy in the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings, more than any university in the U.S., except Indiana University. Congratulations to our faculty on this remarkable achievement.”

The school, part of the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, continues to expand on its reputation as a national and global leader in research and programming, said Watts College Dean Jonathan Koppell.

“I congratulate the faculty of the School of Public Affairs for this remarkable recognition. They are building the already-excellent reputation of ASU as one of country’s and the world’s best schools of public affairs,” Koppell said. “It is really important to also recognize that this achievement is paired with a non-negotiable commitment to a diverse student body and deep community engagement focused on addressing our most vexing problems. This exemplifies the values and mission of Watts College.”

Mark J. Scarp

Media Relations Officer, Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions