Wendy Manning Promotes Visibility of Population Research

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Wendy Manning

When Dr. Wendy Manning presides over the 2018 Population Association of America (PAA) annual conference month, she will encourage her colleagues to share their research findings with broad audiences.

Manning, a Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at Bowling Green State University, is enthusiastic about the interdisciplinary research conducted by population scientists. She wants legislators, the media and the public to understand how their work speaks to important public debates. She believes that social media can be leveraged to help increase the visibility of the innovative and significant work that is conducted by members of PAA, including those in the fields of demography, sociology, economics, public health, geography, psychology, human development, family studies, criminology, gerontology, neuroscience, political science, environmental studies and history.

For the past 18 months, she has been preparing for her primary presidential responsibility, working to organize and plan the annual conference. She will also be presenting the presidential address in front of an audience of about 2,000 people, from 57 countries. Elected in 2017, Manning’s three-year term includes a year each as president-elect, president and past president.

“We will have great coverage of many topics this year, with 252 sessions, 1,808 presenters and over 900 poster presentations presented by population scientists, including faculty and students,” she said. “We will have engaging and lively presentations that range from families and fertility to aging and immigration. The bar is high and the work presented is high quality, with only about a quarter of the submitted papers accepted to be presented and about half of the posters.”

Manning has been a PAA member for 30 years, since she was a graduate student, and is an advocate for the work of the organization, whose mission is to promote the improvement, advancement and progress of the human condition through research of problems related to human population.

As a leader in the organization, she has participated in “courtesy visits” to legislators at the state and federal level. “We talk with legislators and their staff, and share about the research that is being done. We want them to see us as experts, and to call on us when questions come across their desk; we want them to turn to population scientists to help inform their decision-making,” she said.

“BGSU will be well represented at the conference, with nine faculty and staff along with 12 graduate students,” Manning said. “They are taking active roles as presenters, session organizers, chairs and as a discussant.”

BGSU will also have a booth featuring the work of the Center for Family and Demographic Research and the National Center for Family and Marriage Research.