Who We Are
UT Opportunity Forum Faculty Affiliates
Barbara Brown Wilson – School of Architecture
Director of the School of Architecture’s Center for Sustainable Development, Brown Wilson’s current research includes developing integrated codes for green, affordable infill development in Austin; conducting project evaluation for the Texas Gulf Coast Recovery Rapid Housing Pilot Project; and working with the SEED Network to build an inclusive platform for socially-oriented green building assessment systems.
Mary Crouter – School of Law
Crouter teaches in the clinical program and is assistant director of the Law School’s William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law, which teaches students about access to justice issues, creates legal pro bono service opportunities for the law school community, and conducts research into legal issues affecting underserved individuals and communities.
Diana Dawson – School of Journalism
A former social issues reporter for newspapers nationwide, Dawson has created honors courses that take students out into the Austin community to learn how to communicate the human side of social issues, including gentrification and immigration. She is interested in research done by members of the Opportunity Forum and in learning about new and different speakers and organizations that might add to her students’ understanding of these critical topics.
Kevin Foster – Department of African and African Diaspora Studies
Foster is interested in student achievement and overall community well-being, as well as in the question of how universities can shape their agendas to best meet community needs as they fulfill their missions for teaching and research.
Helen Gaebler – School of Law
Gaebler is interested in equitable opportunity, especially as it affects youth and families, with a particular focus on the child welfare system. Her current work encompasses a broad range of issues, including unmet educational needs of youth in care, criminal expunction practices, and barriers to fair housing.
Paula Gerstenblatt – School of Social Work
Gerstenblatt’s areas of specialization are community engagement and arts practice, art-based qualitative research methods, and academic service learning, pedagogical methods that employ digital technologies. She is the director of the Mart Community Project.
Sherri Greenberg – Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
As director of the LBJ School’s Center for Politics and Governance, Greenberg’s research areas include state and local government, public finance, economic development, affordable housing, transportation, and education finance.
Jennifer Jellison Holme – College of Education
Holme’s research focuses on the politics and implementation of educational policy, with a particular focus on the relationship among school reform, equity, and diversity in schools. She seeks to understand how the structure of opportunity within metropolitan areas relates to schooling conditions and outcomes for students, and to examine how educational policies interact with, or are influenced by, these larger metropolitan opportunity structures.
David S. Kirk – Department of Sociology & Population Research Center
Kirk’s research is focused on three inter-related themes: first, the legitimacy of the law and the effects of illegitimacy on crime and the willingness of residents to cooperate with the police; second, the effects of criminal sanctions on future life chances and social inequality; and third, prisoner reentry and the consequences of housing and parole policies for offender reintegration. Kirk is the Vice-Chair of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable, and is the research advisor to the City of Austin’s Restore Rundberg neighborhood revitalization initiative.
Elizabeth Mueller – School of Architecture
Mueller is interested in the social make up of cities and how city policies reinforce or challenge existing divisions between socioeconomic and racial groups. Her current research focuses on the tension between local goals and policies for city planning and for affordable housing.
Jim Walker – Office of Campus Planning & Facilities Management
Walker is director of the Office of Sustainability in the UT Austin Office of Campus Planning & Facilities Management.
Heather Way – School of Law
Way directs the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at the Law School. Her primary interests are analyzing and developing laws and public policies that promote the creation of equitable and sustainable communities, including: problem properties, land title issues, land banks, housing preservation, transit-oriented development, and inclusionary housing.
Organization and Center Affiliates
Center for Health and Social Policy (CHASP) – Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
Center for Politics and Governance – Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs
William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law – School of Law
Center for Sustainable Development – School of Architecture