HHS Office of Research

School of Health and Human Sciences

Esther Leerkes
Dr. Esther Leerkes, Associate Dean for Research, School of HHS
Email: emleerke@uncg.edu 

As the Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Leerkes is responsible for facilitating the School’s research enterprise and supporting the School’s research mission to “provide exceptional unit-based support services that facilitate faculty success with research development, grant submission and management, and scholarly productivity”.

She coordinates the work of the team of the HHS Office of Research, which includes pre-award, post-award, statistical consultation, and financial management staff. She serves as the HHS Liaison to the Office of Research and Engagement.

This includes serving on the Research Advisory Committee, as well as frequent communication with the staff in the Office of Sponsored Programs and the Office of Contracts and Grants. She works closely with the HHS Research Advisory Committee to assist faculty with their research needs.

Dr. Leerkes is also a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Her research program centers around psychological, biological and contextual predictors of early parenting quality and the links between parenting and child outcomes. She collaborates with other faculty in Human Development and Family Studies, Nursing, Nutrition, and Kinesiology on a number of related projects. Her research has primarily been funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and she is a standing member of the Psychosocial Development and Risk Prevention study section charged with reviewing grant proposals for NIH.

Leerkes is currently on the Executive Board of two UNC Greensboro Research Networks: The Child and Family Research Network (CFRN) and Research and Instruction in STEM Education (RISE).


Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker, Assistant Dean for Research Finance and Operations
Email: lbwalke2@uncg.edu 

As the HHS Assistant Dean for Research Finance and Operations, Lisa is responsible for directing the administrative and fiscal functions of the HHS Office of Research; she oversees day-to-day budget and personnel activities as well as forecasts planned short and long-term use of resources within the office.

Lisa assists the Associate Dean for Research with planning, project management, facilities management and other tasks. Lisa advises HHS faculty regarding fiscal management policies and procedures in the execution of grant funded research and programs. Additionally, she serves as a liaison with central campus administrative offices and non-campus offices and organizations and serves as a representative of the Office of Research at meetings both internal and external to the School of HHS.

Lisa is an active member of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI) and of the National Council of University Research Adminstrators (NCURA). She is a Past President of the SRAI North Carolina Chapter and has served as the Secretary of the SRAI Southern Section which covers 14 states and Puerto Rico; additionally, she serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Research Administration.

Lisa currently serves on the Greensboro Mayor’s Committee for Persons with Disabilities and on the HHS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.  Lisa is a co-advisor for the UNC Greensboro Zeta Phi Chapter of the Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society which recognizes high-achieving college and university students with disabilities.


Verna Leslie
Verna Leslie, Pre-Award Research Administrator
Email: vrleslie@uncg.edu 

Verna Leslie is a Pre-Award Research Administrator and helps researchers prepare proposals for external funding through assistance with budget development, internal routing, and assembling applications for the following departments and programs: Communication Sciences and Disorders, Community and Therapeutic Recreation, Peace and Conflict Studies, Genetic Counseling Program, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutrition, Public Health Education, and Social Work. Additionally, Verna works with the various Centers in the School of HHS.


Hannah Hawks
Hannah Hawks, Post-Award Research Administrator
Email: hbwashbu@uncg.edu 

Hannah Hawks is the Post-Award Research Administrator within the School of HHS Office of Research. Mrs. Hawks’ role is to provide advice and critical guidance regarding fiscal management policies and procedures for the following departments and programs:  Communication Sciences and Disorders, Community and Therapeutic Recreation, Peace and Conflict Studies, Genetic Counseling Program, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutrition, Public Health Education, and Social Work.


Jeff Labban
Jeff Labban, AP Associate Professor
Email: jdlabban@uncg.edu 

Jeff Labban has a doctorate in Kinesiology, with a doctoral minor in Educational Research Methodology. Jeff’s primary role in the Office of Research is to provide statistical support for both new and ongoing research projects generated by faculty and students within HHS. This typically includes analytical support for projects already underway or methodological consultation and power analysis for prospective projects.

He also provides support for proposals for external funding, including consultation for methodological design and plan of analysis. His research interests include the relationship between exercise and cognitive function, specifically long-term memory. Common support roles include, but are not limited to:

  • Statistical analysis of data and manuscript prep
  • Power analysis for prospective studies
  • Methodological design consultation
  • Plan of analysis consultation and/or writing for funding proposals