Justin Garcia named executive director of Kinsey Institute at IU

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --Justin R. Garcia has been named executive director of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, effective July 1. Garcia has served as acting executive director of the institute since July 2019, and prior to that was its research director.

The Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of Gender Studies and a Bicentennial Professor at IU, Garcia also serves as a scientific advisor to the world's largest relationship company, Match. An award-winning researcher and educator, he has published dozens of collaborative research articles and book chapters on various aspects of people's romantic and sexual lives and is frequently featured as an expert in the media.

Garcia's research focuses on the evolutionary and biopsychosocial foundations of romantic and sexual relationships across the life span, with emphasis on variation in monogamy and the tensions between gender and sexuality, and between romantic and sexual desires and how they shape intimate relationships. He is co-author of the book "Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior" (Harvard University Press).

Established by Alfred C. Kinsey at IU Bloomington in 1947, the Kinsey Institute has long been recognized for its groundbreaking interdisciplinary research on human sexual behavior as well as its outstanding collections of historical archives, research monographs, rare books, films, art, artifacts and photography.

"I'm truly excited to have the opportunity to continue leading the Kinsey Institute and our incredible team of researchers, staff, students and partners as we accelerate the institute's important research, education and collections missions forward," Garcia said.

Over the last year, Garcia has overseen several milestones for the institute, including a strategic reorganization to better support research efforts and collaborations, a move into a new centralized location in Lindley Hall on the IU Bloomington campus, and the consolidation of the institute's special collection and archives -- the largest research collection of historical, cultural and artistic sexuality-related materials in the world -- into IU's Auxiliary Library Facility.

In the first half of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic affected research efforts globally, Garcia noted that scientific research and scholarly productivity at the institute remained high.

"As the COVID-19 crisis developed, we were able to launch a series of studies examining sex, intimate relationships and mental health during the pandemic," Garcia said. "I think it's fair to say that Kinsey Institute data, research and faculty expertise have been leading scientific voices for how COVID-19 has impacted our romantic and sexual lives."

Looking forward, Garcia's goals for the institute include developing an initiative with the Kelley School of Business on sexual harassment and increasing capacity for and visibility of research on LGBTQ+ lives, such as the Kinsey Institute's new research partnership with The Trevor Project on LGBTQ+ mental health.

In 2022, the Kinsey Institute will celebrate its 75th anniversary, which is another focus for Garcia and his team.

"We've been working on several collaborative projects in preparation for the 75th anniversary to celebrate the institute's research excellence, both in the past and present, with an eye to what we plan to accomplish next. Our faculty are organizing a special curated exhibition and a new book featuring Kinsey Institute collections, and we're preparing to launch a 75th-anniversary capital campaign," Garcia said.

"I am thrilled that Justin Garcia has been appointed as executive director of the Kinsey Institute," said Jeff Zaleski, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington, whose office provides oversight and support for the Institute. "My campus colleagues and I could not be more excited by Justin's commitment to the institute's goals, sustainability and bright future."

Garcia earned an M.S. in biomedical anthropology in 2009 and a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 2011 from Binghamton University. He then completed an NIH T32 postdoctoral research fellowship before joining the IU faculty in 2013. Garcia is currently completing a new book, "The Intimate Animal," that focuses on the intersection of love and sex throughout the life course, scheduled to be released in early 2021 by Knopf.

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