Ashley Landers2022 Alumni Award of Excellence Recipient

Ashley Landers


Dr. Ashley L. Landers, PhD, LMFT is an Assistant Professor in the Human Development and Family Science Program’s Couple and Family Therapy specialization in the Department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University. As a community-engaged scholar, Ashley’s research predominantly encompasses projects that are co-created in partnership with the American Indian community.

Current Job

Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University

CEHD Degree

PhD, Family Social Science

What is your favorite memory from the University of Minnesota?

I can still remember when the Couple and Family Therapy Program Director called to inform me of my acceptance. All my educational and professional pursuits were building to that moment and in an instant, my life changed. I was humbled because I was not always sure I would get the chance to pursue my PhD. As I stepped foot on the steps to the McNeal Hall building, I metaphorically glanced back into my childhood remembering when my grandfather instilled in me that education was both a privilege and a responsibility.

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)?

My advisor, Dr. Sharon Danes, was by far the most influential professor during my time in the College of Education and Human Development. My father always says that I wouldn’t be here (where I am today) without her and he is right. I can think of no better teacher, mentor, or researcher than her. She is a living example of the kind of person and professional that I strive to be. Our relationship transcends my time at the University of Minnesota. She has and continues to play the most important role in shaping my professional development.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

My educational experience in CEHD at the University of Minnesota was transformative. I transitioned from a clinician to a researcher and an educator. My education afforded me the opportunity to pursue an academic career. With the completion of my undergraduate and master’s education, I felt compelled to eventually return to academia. When I graduated from the University of Minnesota, I hoped that I would never again have to leave academia, but simply transition to the other side. I am grateful I have been able to continue my long standing relationship with academia as an educator since I graduated.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

In my field, relationships are critical. We cannot learn about relationships in isolation. When we are studying families and their relationships, we are also studying ourselves. Fostering our ability to listen and learn from others is important.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

Spend time with family. I have a wonderful husband and two sons, Jack (2 years old) and Callan (1 year old). Family is everything to me.

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Well, it is not a book, but I highly recommend the documentary Blood Memory featuring Sandy White Hawk who is an Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

My grandparents. I would give anything for more time with them. They played an instrumental role in shaping the person that I am today. They loved me unconditionally and taught me the importance of caregiver-child relationships. They also taught me the value of knowing where we come from, honoring our heritage, and paying respect to our ancestors.

What gets you excited about work?

I am passionate about research and teaching. I am honored to be able to participate in community-based participatory research led by First Nations Repatriation Institute. I am in awe of the work that Sandy White Hawk is doing to welcome home fostered and adopted Native individuals across tribal communities.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a writer and in many ways that is what I became.