Melissa Landers-Potts

College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Human Development and Family Science

Interim Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Academic Affairs

Dr. Melissa Landers-Potts is focused on teaching undergraduates and serving as DEI advisor to the College of Family & Consumer Sciences & HDFS Department. She is also a faculty advisor to the HDFS Association and Phi Upsilon Omicron.


Degree Field of Study Institution Graduation
Ph.D. Human Development and Family Science University of Georgia 1998
M.A. Sociology University of Georgia 1994
B.A. Sociology/Anthropology Carleton College 1990


Dr. Landers-Potts is interested in how socioeconomic status/overall access to tangible resources and social capital, as well as race/ethnicity influence the success of human beings as they grow--particularly as these contexts relate to their educational outcomes.  Generally, she studies and incorporates into her teaching the importance of recognizing the ways that marginalization of people impedes optimal development and how this can be recognized and addressed.  Recently, she has also written, presented and taught about the effect and implications of new technologies on individuals and their development.  Additionally, she frequently presents on the design of online service-learning courses and her teaching model in which she has partnered with a private sector business to further the learning of her students.


Human Development,  Adolescence, Effect of Technology on Human Development, Impact of Identity & Experience on Human Flourishing


Award Name Awarded By Year Awarded
UGA Faculty Fellow for Student Success UGA Office of the Vice President for Instruction & Center for Teaching and Learning 2023
UGA Teaching Excellence Award UGA Office of the Provost 2022
UGA Active Learning Faculty Mentor UGA Center for Teaching & Learning 2022
UGA Teaching Academy Inductee UGA Teaching Academy 2020
Family & Consumer Sciences 100 Centennial Honoree College of Family & Consumer Sciences 2018
Cognella/National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Innovations in Teaching Award Cognella Publishing Company and National Council on Family Relations 2018
UGA Creative Teaching Award UGA Office of the Vice President of Instruction 2018
UGA Service-Learning Award UGA Office of Service-Learning 2018
UGA Student Government Association Teacher of the Year UGA Student Government Association 2017-2018
Teacher of the Year College of Family and Consumer Sciences 2013
Teacher of the Year College of Family and Consumer Sciences 2010


Dr. Landers-Potts regularly incorporates experiential and active learning into her teaching.  Recently, she has spent time speaking and facilitating faculty forums to discuss the ways that students with different identities and strengths can be supported through the way we structure our classes.  She teaches a service-learning Adolescent Development course each semester in which she partners with an online mental health company in the private sector.  Her students become online peer mentors to adolescents and emerging adults across the globe by way of sharing and discussing the developmental information they are learning about these life stages.  

Advisory Committee

Advisor to the Dean--Diversity, Equity& Inclusion, College of Family & Consumer Sciences

Facilitator--Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Social Justice Coalition in HDFS Department

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging strategic plan committee chair on outreach for College of Family & Consumer Sciences

Faculty Advisor for Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society

Faculty Advisor for Human Development & Family Science (undergraduate) Association (HDFSA)

UGA Active Learning Summer Institute speaker

UGA Service-Learning Fellows speaker

UGA New Student/Parent Orientation speaker

UGA New Teaching Faculty Orientation speaker

Division of Academic Enhancement 

Areas of Expertise

Economic hardship, Race-ethnicity, Lifespan Well-Being; Technology & Human Development; Adolescence

Melissa Landers-Potts is an avid runner who is a member of the Athens Road Runner racing team.  Her husband and older son are graduates of the University of Georgia and her younger son is a UGA student and member of the cross country and track teams.

Current Classes

HDFS 4330:  Diversity in Human and Family Development

HDFS 2200 & 2200H:  Lifespan Development

HDFS 3700 & 3700S:  Adolescent Development

HDFS 4900:  Seminar in Medical Technology, Ethics & Human Development

Current Research

Effects of economic stress and race/ethnicity on children/adolescents 

Racism, sexism & classism

Effects of electronic communication on the well-being of military youth

Journal Articles

  • Armah, A., & Landers-Potts, M. (2021). A Review of Imaginary Companions and Their Implications for Development (with considerations for race & social class). Imagination, Cognition and Personality41(1), 31–53. 
  • Landers-Potts, M. A., O’Neal, C. W., & Mancini, J. A. (2017). Electronic communication use and socio-emotional well-being among military youth. Journal of Child and Family Studies26(12), 3266-3277.
  • Simons, L. G., Wickrama, K. A. S., Lee, T. K., Landers‐Potts, M., Cutrona, C., & Conger, R. D. (2016). Testing family stress and family investment explanations for conduct problems among African American adolescents. Journal of Marriage and Family78(2), 498-515.
  • Landers‐Potts, M. A., Wickrama, K. A. S., Simons, L. G., Cutrona, C., Gibbons, F. X., Simons, R. L., & Conger, R. (2015). An extension and moderational analysis of the family stress model focusing on African American adolescents. Family Relations64(2), 233-248.
  • Brody, G. H., Jack, L., Jr., Murry, V. M., Lander-Potts, M., & Liburd, L. (2001). Heuristic model linking contextual processes to self-management in African-American adults with Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Educator, 27, (5), 17-25.
  • Malone, D. M., & Landers, M. A. (2001). Mother’s perceptions of the toy play of preschoolers with intellectual disabilities, Journal of Disabilities, Development and Education, 48, 1.
  • Landers-Potts, M., & Grant., L. (1999). Competitive climates, athletic skill and children’s status in after-school recreational sports programs, Social Psychology of Education, 2, 297-313.
  • Landers, M.A., & Fine, G. A. (1996). Learning life’s lessons in tee-ball: The reinforcement of gender and status in kindergarten sport. Sociology of Sport Journal, 13, 87-94.


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