Anne Cafer serves as Director for the Center for Population Studies and State Data Center for Mississippi. She also co-Directs the Community First Research Center for Wellbeing (UM CREW). She holds a BS in both molecular biology and sociology, an MA in anthropology, and a PhD in Rural Sociology. She works primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Mississippi Delta. Her research uses a systems approach to examine community resilience and systems integration, with a particular emphasis on food and health systems. She does this both domestically and internationally. These problems are complex in nature and require adaptive, context specific solutions, earning them the title “wicked” problems. To examine these problems and work toward sustainable solutions, Dr. Cafer consistently works across disciplinary boundaries—engaging plant scientists, geographers, veterinary medicine specialists, economists, and public health professionals. She also has an interest in scholarship of teaching, specifically the impacts of community engaged learning on both community and student outcomes. Her research informs her teaching, and she consistently works to bring research experiences and findings into the classroom. She also believes students learn best in an active learning environment guided by inquiry based teaching. Her goal is to help students develop a toolkit that includes critical thinking, logical reasoning, and a sociological imagination, regardless of background. Her advanced courses are community based participatory research courses in which students are actively involved with community stakeholders to explore collaborative solutions to non-resilient systems. Dr. Cafer is a former Borlaug Scholar in Global Food Security and a member of the prestigious Rollins Society at the University of Missouri. She is a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow.
Dr. Cafer received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award as a faculty member at the 2019 UM Celebration of Service. This is the university’s highest honor recognizing service. (Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services)