Leadership - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences


Co-directors of TITAN

TITAN co-directors

Dr. Lisa CromerLisa Cromer, Ph.D., Psychology

Dr. Cromer joined TITAN in 2010 and is the current Executive Director of TITAN. Broadly speaking, Dr. Cromer studies resilience to trauma and adversity. She is interested in historical trauma, in particular examining ways that we can collectively heal institutionalized trauma. In her theoretical work, Dr. Cromer distinguishes between historical trauma, which occurs at the societal level, and intergenerational transmission of trauma, which occurs within systems, including, but not limited to, family systems. A core value in this work, is not pathologizing individuals, or ‘blaming the victim,’ when institutional structures cause on-going harm. In her intervention work, Dr. Cromer has worked to help individuals build resilience through transitions (e.g., transition to kindergarten, transition to college, and for military families with young children through the pre-deployment to deployment transition). Her lab focuses on sleep as a critical aspect of building resilience. Currently, she is conducting a treatment study for children with nightmares to see if improved sleep and nightmare mitigation reduces suicidality in youth. Dr. Cromer is the director of the Study of the Prevention of and Adjustment and Resilience to Trauma and Adversity (SPARTA) Laboratory . In 2012 she was awarded the American Psychological Association Early Career Achievement Award in Trauma Psychology. She is the chair of the Science Committee for Division 56, Trauma Psychology for the American Psychological Association.

Jennifer Airey, Ph.D., EnglishJennifer Airey, Ph.D., English

Jennifer L. Airey, Associate Professor of English and is currently serving as the University of Tulsa Interim Provost, is interested in the ways in which literature describes, comprehends, glorifies, or protests experiences of trauma, and particularly sexual violence. Her first book, The Politics of Rape: Sexual Atrocity, Propaganda Wars, and the Restoration Stage (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2012), examines images of sexual assault in the political propaganda and theater of late seventeenth-century Britain, arguing that descriptions of women’s physical and emotional trauma pervade political discourse; women’s injured bodies become symbols of political struggles. Dr. Airey has published broadly on authors such as Wycherley, Dryden, Haywood, Centlivre, and Fielding, and she is co-editor of Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, the first scholarly journal devoted solely to the study of women’s writings.

Joanne L. Davis, Ph.D., PsychologyJoanne L. Davis, Ph.D., Psychology

Leave 2023-2024

Dr. Davis is a founding co-director of TITAN, and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, director of the Trauma Research, Assessment, Prevention, and Treatment Center (TRAPT), and a member of the University of Tulsa’s Women and Gender Studies Board. Her research interests include the assessment, treatment, and prevention of interpersonal violence and its effects. In recent years she has focused on the assessment and treatment of chronic nightmares and other sleep disturbances in trauma-exposed persons. Dr. Davis directs a study abroad course in Ghana during the summers. She is interested in the psychology of community change in poverty-stricken areas in Ghana. Her current studies with graduate and undergraduate students and other collaborators include a randomized clinical trial investigating two approaches to treating nightmares and sleep problems, treating chronic nightmares in persons with bipolar disorder, the prevalence and impact of campus interpersonal violence, the effect of interpersonal violence on sexual minorities, and evaluating factors influencing the decision to report rape. She has published over 60 journal articles and book chapters in the area of traumatic stress and has written a book on treating chronic nightmares.

Elana Newman, Ph.D., PsychologyElana Newman, Ph.D., Psychology

Sabbatical 2023-2024

Dr. Newman’s major area of work focuses on assessing, understanding, treating, and preventing maladaptive responses to traumatic life events in adults and children. Most recently this work is focused on the intersection of journalism and traumatic stress studies (i.e., examining PTSD among journalists, reader response to news, and victim’s responses to news coverage), trauma education and self-care, program evaluation of a trauma-informed substance abuse criminal justice program, dissemination of best practice, and disaster mental health. For more information on Newman’s other work visit her personal web site. Dr. Newman is also the Research Director for the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, a project of the Columbia School of Journalism which has a research node/office at the University of Tulsa.

Kristen Oertel, Ph.D., HistoryKristen Oertel, Ph.D., History

Kristen Oertel is the Mary F. Barnard Chair in Nineteenth-Century American history at the University of Tulsa and joined TITAN in 2016. Her research focuses on the history of race and gender relations in early America up through the Civil War, and her most recent book, Harriet Tubman: Slavery, the Civil War, and Civil Rights in the Nineteenth Century, was published by Routledge in 2016. Like Harriet Tubman, many of the historical subjects that Kristen studies and teaches about in her classes suffered trauma as they confronted racism, sexism, and violence in the past. Kristen also examines historical memory and the ways in which painful histories have been erased by popular culture, and she works to unearth these histories and share them with her students and the public.

Dr. Laura WilsonLaura Wilson, CCC-SLP, CBIST, Ph.D., Hearing and Speech Sciences

Dr. Wilson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Her primary research focuses on understanding the nature and implications of concussion/traumatic brain injury and aphasia. She has a particular interest in interdisciplinary approaches to the study of these disorders and publishes and presents with colleagues across multiple professions. She is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and trainer and offers courses that prepare students and professionals across disciplines to become certified as Brain Injury Specialists. Recently, she has expanded her clinical work and research to focus on fluency disorders in school-aged children. She has presented and published work in this area, has started a summer therapy camp for children who stutter, and is the founder of a Tulsa-area chapter of the National Stuttering Association. In addition, Dr. Wilson has an interest in improving clinical care for marginalized or underserved populations and has mentored research studies on topics such as disparities in spatial access to aphasia services, biases among speech-language pathologists and how they relate to practices when assessing bilingual or multilingual children, and best practices for supporting speakers of non-Mainstream American English dialects within the schools. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on topics including anatomy and physiology, neurology, stuttering, aphasia, traumatic brain injury, statistics, and research.

Robin Sherman, Esq.

Robin Sherman is a Clinical Instructor and Staff Attorney for the B.C. Franklin Legal Clinic which provides pro bono legal services to the north Tulsa community while teaching law students to critically examine the systems in which lawyers work and the impact of those systems on marginalized populations. Ms. Sherman is dedicated to trauma-informed lawyering and increasing access to justice for all people.

Rachel N. Head, Ph.D., Sociology

Rachel N. Head is a co-director at TITAN, an Assistant Professor of Sociology, and an affiliate of the Fishlinger Center for Public Policy Research. Dr. Head’s research addresses mental and physical health inequities for marginalized, under-represented, and disadvantaged populations based on racial-ethnic stratification and class inequities. Her recent work applies the stress process model to “deaths of despair”—deaths due to substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and intentional self-harm—among white working-class and Native American communities. This work broadly conceptualizes trauma due to rapid economic change and institutionalized racism. Dr. Head has published in Society and Mental Health, Sociological Spectrum, Health Promotion Practice, Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, and the Journal of Behavioral and Social Sciences.


Kathleen Strunk, APRN, CNS, NursingProfessor Kathleen Strunk, APRN, CNS, Nursing

Professor Strunk was a founding co-director of TITAN and retired in 2021. She will continue to consult and work on TITAN projects.