College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Catherine Solheim

  • Pronouns: she/her/hers

  • Professor and Director of Graduate Studies

Catherine Solheim

Areas of interest

Families and Culture
Refugee Family Resettlement and Adjustment
Transnational Family Systems
Ambiguous Loss, Human Ecology, and Social Justice Theories

I am accepting new advisees for fall 2024 in the M.A., Ph.D., and M.A./Ph.D. programs.


Ph.D., Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
M.A., Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
B.A., Home Economics Education, University of Minnesota


Advising statement

Dr. Solheim and Dr. Liz Wieling are leading a project that seeks to understand the process of resettlement of newly arriving Karen refugees in Minnesota.


Solheim, C., Zaid, S. and Ballard, J. (2015), Ambiguous Loss Experienced by Transnational Mexican Immigrant Families. Family Process. doi: 10.1111/famp.12130. 

Reinke, J.S., & Solheim, C.A. (2014) Families of children with autism spectrum disorder: The role of family-centered care in perceived family challenges. In S.L. Blair (Ed.), Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, 8A, 247-284. Emerald Group Publishing. 

Reinke, J.S., & Solheim, C.A. (2014). Online social support experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child and Family Studies DOI: 10.1007/s10826-014-0039-9.

Brooks, D. C. and Solheim, C. A. (2014), Pedagogy Matters, Too: The Impact of Adapting Teaching Approaches to Formal Learning Environments on Student Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2014: 53–61. doi: 10.1002/tl.20085

Levchenko, P., & Solheim, C.A. (2013). International Marriages between Eastern European-Born Women and US-Born Men. Family Relations, 62(1), 30-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2012.00746.x.

Gutter, M.S, Hayhoe, C.R., DeVaney, S.A., Kim, J., Bowen, C.F., Cheang, M., Cheang, M., Cho, S.H., Evans, D.A, Gorham, E., Lown, J.M., Mauldin, T., Solheim, C., Worthy, S.L., & Dorman, R. (2012). Exploring the relationship of economic, sociological, and psychological factors to the savings behavior of low- to moderate-income households. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 41(1), 86-101. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-3934.2012.02130.x.

Solheim, C.A., Rojas-Garcia, G., Olson, P.D., & Zuiker, V.S. (2012). Family influences on goals, remittance use, and settlement of Mexican immigrant agricultural workers in Minnesota. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 43(2), 237-259.

Velasquez, J., Knatterud-Hubinger, N., Narr, D., Mendenhall, T., Solheim, C. (2011). Mano a Mano: Improving health in impoverished Bolivian communities through community-based participatory research. Family Systems and Health, Dec;29(4):303-13. doi: 10.1037/a0026174.

Solheim, C.A., Zuiker, V.S., & Levchenko, P. (2011). Financial socialization family pathways: Reflections from college student narratives. Family Science Review, 16(2).

Solheim, C., Longo, B., Cohen, B.A., & Garret Dikkers, A. (2010). Interdependent catalysts for transforming learning environments... and the faculty who teach in them. Educause Quarterly, 33(3).

Solheim, C.A. & Yang, P.N.D. (2010). Understanding generational differences in financial literacy in Hmong immigrant families. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 38(4), 435-454.


Solheim, C.A., & Buturian, L. (2014, October). Digital storytelling as a generative medium for facilitating global learning. Presented at the Association of American Colleges and Universities Network for Academic Renewal Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Digital Storytelling in Higher Education, as part of the Institute for Advanced Studies Thursdays at Four presentations, November 21, 2013.

Research and Discovery

LinkedIn Profile

Refugee Resettlement and Adjustment: Dr. Solheim and Dr. Liz Wieling are leading a project that seeks to understand the process of resettlement of newly arriving Karen refugees in Minnesota. They are specifically interested in how refugee families learn about and navigate the complex financial environment in which they now live, and how they experience and cope with stress that comes with these transitions. Learn more at the Immigrant and Refugee Families Center.

Transnational Family Systems: The focus of this area of research is how families build and sustain family relationships across national boundaries. Past work has focused on agricultural workers in Minnesota and their families in Minnesota. Current work examines how families are impacted by deportation.

Global Change, Families, and Communities in Thailand: This work explores the impacts of globalization on families, communities, culture in northern Thailand. Dr. Solheim annually leads a study abroad course that explores issues related to globalization and changing family systems on diverse families in northern Thailand. She makes explicit connections between global and local contexts of Hmong and Karen families living in Thailand and in Minnesota. Students explore issues related to diversity, education, migration, environment, and human trafficking from human ecology and social justice lenses. The course website contains digital stories of student’s learning over the past several years of the course. The Mekong Mosaic is a digital story on vimeo created with Linda Buturian from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction documents earlier work in Thailand.

Outreach and Engagement

The cycle of scholarship integrates research, teaching, outreach and engagement in order to discover new knowledge, create opportunities for learners on and off campus, and apply new knowledge to everyday problems of family and community life. Additionally, family scholars must embrace diverse worldviews and cultures; family social science students must understand the complexities of the global marketplace and community. The phrase “global is local” takes on new meaning in an increasingly diverse Minnesota.

Financial Education Certification
A 12-module online financial education certificate is being developed for teachers and non-profit and human services agency staff who work with limited resource families. Modules are being developed by a steering group of community-based educators and University of Minnesota faculty.

Financial Education Evaluation
This project is designed to provide assessment and evaluation resources for community professionals who are delivering financial capability education programs.

Teaching and Learning

FSoS 3102: Family Systems and Diversity

FSoS 4158: Thailand: Global Change, Communities and Families 

FSoS 8001: Family Conceptual Frameworks

FSoS 8002: Advanced Family Conceptual Frameworks

Honors and Awards

2014 Program Chair - National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)

2008 Family Social Science Multicultural Recognition Award nominee- College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota

1998 Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award, Auburn University

1992 Phi Upsilon Omicron, Honor Society in Home Economics, Alpha Chapter

1992 Outstanding Faculty Award in the College of Human Sciences, Auburn University

1991 Marvin B. Sussman Competitive Family Scholars Award, Groves Conference on Marriage and the Family

1991 Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars, Alpha Upsilon Chapter

1991 Doctoral Research Award, Southeast Regional Association of Family Economics and Home Management