Psychologist Kellina Craig-Henderson, who has been serving as the acting head of the National Science Foundation’s Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate, has been appointed as the permanent boss.
Craig-Henderson has been serving as the acting head since January, when Arthur ‘Skip’ Lupia’s appointment expired. She had served as deputy assistant director of the directorate during Lupia’s tenure, one of several high-profile jobs she has had at the National Science Foundation (NSF) over the last 16 years.
As its name suggests, the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE) supports fundamental research in behavioral, cognitive, social and economic science. By budget, it is the smallest of the seven research directorates at the foundation, but the quarter billion dollars it allocates in grants annually is the primary source of funding for academic social science basic research in the United States.
Before coming to the foundation, Craig-Henderson served on the faculty in the Department of Psychology and in the Afro-American Studies and Research Program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She also served in the Psychology Department at California State University, Long Beach. In addition to her positions atop the SBE directorate, she has served as deputy division director of the directorate’s Social and Economic Sciences Division and director of the foundation’s Tokyo Regional Office.
Her own research program focuses on studies of groups, cross-cultural, gender and race issues, as well as aggression and expatriation processes. Her published work includes two books, Black Men in Interracial Relationships: What’s Love Got to Do with It? and Black Women in Interracial Relationships: In Search of Love and Solace.
A release from NSF reports that “Craig-Henderson is passionate about broadening the participation of underrepresented groups and has been involved in several national and international activities that share this focus.” She has promoted the establishment of new social science funding mechanisms, such as Build and Broaden, that support evidence-based research on the science of broadening participation.
Craig-Henderson received her bachelor’s from Wesleyan University and her master’s in social science from the University of Chicago. She earned a master’s and a doctorate in psychology from Tulane University.