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Clemson University Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

The Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life (IFNL) helps generate, share and apply the research foundation for youth, family, and community social development. Work at IFNL starts from the premise that strong communities support strong families and vice versa, and that both are necessary for healthy development of children and youth. IFNL is part of the Clemson University College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.

Image of a family representing the Clemson University Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life

Our Mission

Our mission is to generate, share, and apply the knowledge needed to strengthen ties between families and communities. We believe that help is most acceptable, efficient, and effective when it is built into everyday life. We are particularly interested in the everyday experiences of children, youth, and adults in neighborhood institutions, such as schools, workplaces, religious organizations, civic groups, and courts. We seek to provide the knowledge necessary to enable these institutions to ensure respect for individual dignity, enhance "natural" social assistance, build a sense of community, promote civic participation, and foster family and neighborhood responsibility. We also strive to understand ways that public policy supports or hinders families and neighborhoods in these tasks and to offer alternatives that foster the creation of neighborly and family-friendly communities.

  • Our Work

    In order to accomplish the goals of the Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life, the Institute conducts empirical research, performs policy analyses, develops and evaluates programs, and provides technical assistance and community education. We work at all levels from neighborhood to global, because a comparative perspective offers new insights in understanding grassroots phenomena in neighborhoods and developing effective responses in public policy and community development practice.

    Institute Themes

    The Institute's work is focused on three themes. We conduct research and provide public service related to these broad topics:

    • The nature of everyday life in families and neighborhoods
    • The development, maintenance, and enhancement of community institutions
    • Current and alternative public policies supportive of family and neighborhood life
  • Our People

    Mark A. Small
    Director, IFNL, Professor

    Susan P. Limber
    Associate Director, IFNL, Dan Olweus Distinguished professor

    Natallia Sianko
    Assistant Professor

    Arelis Moore de Peralta
    Assistant Professor

    Matthew Hudson-Flege
    Research Assistant Professor

    Bonnie Holaday
    Emeritus Professor, Clemson University

    Jim McDonell
    Emeritus Professor, Clemson University

    Jan Urbanski
    Research Assistant Professor, Director Safe and Humane Schools


    June Jenkins
    OBPP Training Coordinator

    Jane Riese
    Associate Director Safe and Humane Schools, Director of Training

    Adjunct Faculty

    Asher Ben-Arieh, Ph.D. 
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Director, Haruv Institute, Jerusalem

    Nizel Fernandez, Ph.D.
    Researcher/Professor, Universidad Iberoamericana UNIBE, Dominican Republic

    Edlira Haxhiymeri, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Social Work and former Provost, University of Tirana, former Deputy Minister of Education, Albania

    Richard Holden, Ph.D. 
    Assistant Professor, Indiana University

    Migena Kapllanaj, Ph.D.
    Lecturer, Marin Barleti University, Albania

    Robin Kimbrough-Melton, J.D.
    Research Professor, Kempe Center, University of Colorado, Denver

    Osnat Lavenda, Ph.D.
    Lecturer, Ariel University, Israel

    Jill McLeigh, Ph.D.
    Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver

    Nikoleta Mita, Ph.D.
    Professor of Psychology, University of Tirana, Albania

    Julie Richards, Ph.D.
    Youth Family and Community Studies, Clemson University

    Kathleen Robinson, Ph.D. 
    Emeritus Professor, Clemson University

    Laura Sánchez, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor/Researcher, Universidad Iberoamericana UNIBE, Dominican Republic

    Martie Thompson, Ph.D.
    Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Endowed Professor in Public Health, Appalachian State University

    Jitka Vacková, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Social Work, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

    Odile Camilo Vincent, Ph.D.
    Vice-provost  UNIBE

  • Affiliated Organizations
    The Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

    The American Orthopsychiatric Association is a membership organization focused on mental health and social justice.

    International Society for Child Indicators

    The International Society for Child Indicators is a membership organization that brings experts from around the world together to share knowledge and experience to improve the lives of children.

    Childwatch International Research Network

    The Childwatch International Research Network is a global network of institutions that collaborate in child research for the purpose of promoting child rights and improving children’s well-being around the world.

    The University Based Child and Family Policy Consortium

    The University Based Child and Family Policy Consortium engages members around the core components of the Consortium’s mission:

    • Research – scientific collaboration around child and family policy issues.
    • Career Development – cross-disciplinary undergraduate and graduate training to support the next generation of child and family policy researchers.
    • Engagement - effective research-to-policy and research-to-practice translation; efforts to use research to inform policy and practice.
  • Giving

    Contributions to the Institute on Family & Neighborhood Life may be made to Clemson University Foundation. Please direct your gift to the Friends of Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life. Gifts may be made online at, by phone at (864) 656-5896 or by mail:

    Clemson University
    Annual Giving Office
    PO Box 1889
    Clemson, SC 29633

  • Contact Us
    Clemson Campus

    Our Clemson location is where you will find the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program, community youth development projects, Institute's administrative offices and the Coordinator of the doctoral program.  

    Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
    Clemson University
    321 Brackett Hall
    Clemson, South Carolina  29634-0132
    Phone: (864) 656-6320

    Greenville Campus

    Our Greenville location is where the PhD program is based and graduate students and faculty workspace exists. This location also serves as an office for the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

    Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
    University Center
    225 S. Pleasantburg Dr., Suite E3
    Greenville, South Carolina  29607
    Phone: (864) 656-6320

Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life
Institute on Family and Neighborhood Life | 321 Brackett Hall, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0132