Docking Institute Staff
The Docking Institute's staff and fellows have a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. The Docking Institute draws upon university and field-based experts. The vast levels of expertise allow each person to contribute to the overall success of the Institute. This collection of individuals offers a complete and rounded organization.
The staff and fellows bring specialized knowledge and experience in the areas of program evaluation, research, grants facilitation, economic development, government, natural resource issues, healthcare, business, telecommunications, and education. Each person involved in the success of the Docking Institute is highly qualified to achieve excellence in the field of policy research.
Gary Brinker, Ph.D
Dr. Gary Brinker has been the director of the Docking Institute since 2008 and a professor in the Department of Sociology at Fort Hays State University since August 2011. He was previously the director of the Center for Social Sciences and Public Policy Research at Missouri State University, from May 2002 to July of 2008, and the associate director from August 1997 to May 2002. His teaching interests include research methods, social problems and quantitative analysis. His sponsored research projects define an eclectic research agenda. Gary has been the principal investigator for more than 100 applied research projects, including program evaluations, needs assessments, economic impact studies, population projections and public opinion surveys in the areas of education, substance abuse, environment, education, politics, family planning, aging, community health and marketing. He is the editor of the Missouri Electronic Journal of Sociology and a member of the Midwest Sociological Society, and the Southwest Social Sciences Society. He has published articles in the International Journal of Sociology of the Family, Free Inquiry in Creative Sociology, Journal of Applied Sociology, North American Journal of Psychology, Social Development Issues, Journal of Population and International Review of Modern Sociology. Gary earned a Master of Arts degree in sociology in 1994 and a doctorate degree in applied sociology in 1997 at Baylor University.
Michael Walker, M.S.
Michael Walker is the assistant director of the Docking Institute and an instructor in the Department of Sociology at Fort Hays State University. He joined the Institute in 2000 as a research scientist and was promoted to assistant director in 2006. He designs a variety of research projects involving survey and focus group research, strategic planning and program assessment. He has been the lead researcher for 109 of labor and employment studies in Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Mike is a member of the Rural Sociological Society, the Community Development Society, the Midwest Sociological Society, and the Population Association of America. Prior to coming to Fort Hays State University, he performed ethnographic and survey research in California, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Nebraska. Mike also participated in archeological digs in southern Utah, completed a political internship in Washington, DC, and served in the U.S. Army. He regularly teaches urban and rural sociology, community theory and development, social demography and research methods. He is adding environmental sociology to his teaching rotation. Mike received his Master of Science degree in sociology from Utah State University in 1995 and is currently pursuing a doctorate at Kansas State University.
Jian Sun, Ph.D.
Dr. Jian Sun joined the Docking Institute in July 2007 as a research scientist. His responsibilities include survey design, survey administration, data analysis, and report writing. He has been the lead researcher for a variety of projects involving feasibility studies, health needs assessments, program evaluation, public opinion surveys, and housing studies. His personal research interests include housing prices, urban developmental policies, and public administration. Before joining the Docking Institute, he was involved in several planning projects in the United States and China, including land use planning, transportation analysis, and community economic development. He has published in the academic journals Environmental and Planning A, Journal of Real Estate Literature, Journal of Housing Economics, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Public Affairs Education, Real Estate Economics, and Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. Jian is also an associate professor in FHSU’s Department of Political Science, teaching research methods and public administration courses. Jian received his doctorate from the University of Louisville in 2007.
Lynette Ottley joined the Docking Institute in June 2008 as the administrative associate. Responsibilities include budget records, billing contracts, management of accounts, monitoring of fund balances, assigning expenses, payroll, and maintaining the website. She oversees student employment through JobX and supervises and coordinates the student activities. She is also responsible for design and publication of the Institute’s biannual report. Prior to joining the Institute, Lynette worked in the Academic Advising and Career Exploration office. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication from Fort Hays State University in 1992.
Brad Pendergast joined the Docking Institute in June 2014
as the Research Coordinator. Brad had
previously worked at the Docking Institute as a student researcher from
2011-2012. His responsibilities include
managing all student interviewers and supervisors. Other duties include
hiring and training to ensure a full staff of interviewers and supervisors
necessary for completing all survey research projects, making sure
all survey work stations are operational, tracking work hours and job
performance of all student interviewers and supervisors. He also monitors
progress of all survey projects, programs the IdSurvey CATI automated survey
software, monitors the sample status, along with reporting the status for the
survey center and all other survey projects to the directors, and performs
other tasks as assigned. Brad has interests in the areas of: policy implementation,
local government, non-profit management, Medicaid/KanCare and Kansas water
policy. Brad received his Master of Public Administration from Wichita State University in May, 2014.