Russell is director of the University of Arizona's Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families, housed in the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.
He also is the associate editor of SRA's Journal of Research on Adolescence and the Fitch Nesbitt Endowed Chair. The McClelland Institute that he heads is a catalyst for research that addresses social, emotional and physical issues that families face.
SRA focuses on theoretical, empirical and policy-research issues related to adolescence, promotes the dissemination of research and serves as a network and forum for its members. It grew out of the UA in 1986 and began the Journal of Research on Adolescence in 1991. Currently it has 1,300 members spread across 30 countries.
Russell said he plans to use his new leadership position to attract a more diverse global membership across fields, sharing research more broadly with the public and exerting greater influence on public policy dealing with the needs of contemporary youth.
He said he also will continue the current leadership's focus on generating public awareness of the contributions of the SRA and its members – especially in regard to the urgent needs of youths. That includes the launch of an interactive website for researchers, professionals, students and the public. The site will include blogs focused on current topics encompassing public policy, research and teaching.
Russell's own research is guided by a wide ranging interest in teenage issues, including sexuality, schools and family relationships for vulnerable youth.
"I'm personally interested in the links among research, policy and programs for young people, and I am impatient with the slow pace and occasional disconnect between research and relevant policies and programs," Russell said. "I'd like to use my time as president to emphasize the pressing needs of contemporary young people."