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Michael S. Gutter, Ph.D.

Director Virginia Cooperative Extension
  • Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  Michael S. Gutter, Ph.D. Director Virginia Cooperative Extension Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
101 Hutcheson Hall (0402)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Mike Gutter, who has an extensive track record of developing and funding partnerships and programs that benefit local communities, was named the director of Virginia Cooperative Extension and an associate dean of the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  

As an integral part of both Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, Virginia Cooperative Extension works in communities across the commonwealth to share knowledge, support businesses, and implement research that helps all Virginians. Extension operates from the campuses and out of 107 county and city offices, 11 Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, and six 4-H educational centers across the commonwealth. Read full story.

Ohio State University

  • Bachelor of Science: Finance and Financial Management Services, Other. 1997
  • Doctor of Philosophy: Family Resource Management Studies, General. 2000 

Virginia Tech 

  • Director Virginia Cooperative Extension and Professor and Associate Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, November 2022 - present

University of Florida                     

  • Associate Dean for Extension/Professor, tenured, 07/2021-10/2022
  • Associate Dean for Extension/Associate Professor, tenured, 02/2015 - 07/2021
  • Interim FCS State Program Leader, Associate Professor, tenured, 10/2013 - 02/2015
  • Associate Professor, tenured, Graduate Coordinator, 07/2012 - 10/2013
  • Assistant Professor, tenure accruing, 08/2007 - 06/2012

University of Wisconsin-Madison              

  • Assistant Professor, tenure accruing (undergraduate coordinator), 08/2000 - 08/2007

My research focuses on understanding the effect of economic disparities on the well-being of vulnerable populations through the lens of behavioral and family economics. This includes understanding issues that are relevant to and that shape family members’ overall economic well-being. Initially, my research explored investor behavior during the time before the Great Recession (1999-2008), when higher than normal stock market returns were leading to widening racial wealth disparities. By examining racial differences in risk tolerance and investor behavior, this work showed that racial differences in investor behavior were largely attributable to racial differences in access to financial markets and possibly in exposure to information. Overall, investors tended to behave similarly when controlling for access.

The overall challenge of growing wealth also became one of my key research concepts. Working with faculty from more than a dozen universities, we engaged in multiple 5-year studies. We focused on the complexity of positive financial behaviors that often create economic resiliency for the many challenges that families may face. The first 5-year study focused on savings and the second five-year study applied the behavioral model to student loan borrowing and housing. Our findings suggested that disclosures can indeed influence the type of mortgage (adjustable or fixed rate) preferred. The use of discrete choice experimental design in our studies was also a contribution and novel approach in our field. Following this theme, I have begun working on the role of financial decision-making in the context of healthcare, such as financial barriers to treatment. This work is in the early stages, but it includes funding from the UF Health Cancer Center and the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to study the economic burden of cancer and its influence on financial well-being.

Teaching Context

Preparing students for scientific inquiry and the application of research for understanding public information or pursuing advanced degrees is a hallmark activity of a land grant university. My current teaching efforts are to work with graduate and undergraduate students as a research mentor with a focus on connecting students to the Land-Grant experience by engaging them in translational and applied science. I accomplish this by working both individually and in group settings with students through several formalized experiences including a group lab that works on research and extension projects in collaboration with the UF Cancer Center or other UF Health Sciences Units, campus internship programs, guided independent studies, and graduate projects.

Teaching Philosophy

I balance my teaching approach by incorporating various teaching methods and assessments that appeal to different learners. My current teaching role mainly utilizes directed inquiry, group discussions, and other aspects of experiential learning. When a student begins working with me, I focus on identifying and using the student’s strengths to help them learn skills or information they need to succeed in their projects. In addition, I focus on my role as a scholarly mentor who provides some structure to their developmental journey. 

Candidate’s Role

Student

Major*

Complete Date

Chair Master's

Maya Kedmi

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2022

Chair Master's*

Nasya Wagner

Family, Youth & Community Science

May 2020

Chair Master's

Michael Robinson

Family, Youth & Community Science

Withdrew

Chair Master's

Brittany Stahl

Family, Youth & Community Science

August 2016

Chair Master's

Sailesh Acharya

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2015

Chair Master's

Kenneth Wynn

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2013

Chair Master's

Amanda Blanco

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2013

Chair Master's

Jorge Ruiz Menjivar

Family, Youth & Community Science

August 2013

Chair Master's

Rachel Dorman

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2012

Chair Master's

Brandon Peterson

Family, Youth & Community Science

August 2011

Chair Master's

William Parker

Family, Youth & Community Science

August 2011

Chair Master's

Kristin Jackson

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2010

Chair Master's

Selena Garrison

Family, Youth & Community Science

May 2010

Member Ph.D

Behshad Lahijanian

Industrial and Systems Engineering

May 2022

Member Ph.D

Biswadeep Dhar

Youth Development & Family Science

August 2021

Member Master's

Rachel Silver

Agricultural Education & Comm

May 2015

Member Master's

Taylor Spangler

Family, Youth & Community Science

December 2013

External Ph.D

Benjamin Morris

Agricultural Education & Comm

December 2019

External Ph.D

Jean Theurer

Counseling & Counselor Education

August 2015

Books Chapter(s)

Spangler, T., Gutter, M., Gillen, M. , & Acharya, S. (2015). Education needs analysis. In C.R. Chaffin (Ed.), Financial planning competency handbook (pp. 137-144). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gutter, M. & Gillen, M.  (2015). Education savings vehicles. In C.R. Chaffin (Ed.), Financial planning competency handbook (pp. 145-152). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gillen, M. & Gutter, M. (2015). Financial aid. In C.R. Chaffin (Ed.), Financial planning competency handbook (pp. 153-158). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gillen, M. & Gutter, M. (2015). Gift and income tax strategies (Education). In C.R. Chaffin (Ed.), Financial planning competency handbook (pp. 159-164). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Gillen, M. & Gutter, M. (2015). Education financing. In C.R. Chaffin (Ed.), Financial planning competency handbook (pp. 165-172). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Refereed Journal Articles 

Xu, Y., Heo, W., Kiss, E., Cho, S.H., Gutter, M. (2022) Pushing or clicking the grocery cart? Health and economic concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Consumer Affairs (Accepted). https://doi.org/10.1111/joca.12485.

Hall, J., Szurek, S., Cho, H.D., Guo, Y., Gutter, M., Khalil, G., Licht, J., Shenkman, E. (2022) Cancer disparities related to poverty and rurality for 22 top cancers in Florida. Preventive Medicine Reports ul 22;29:101922. doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2022.101922. PMID: 35928594; PMCID: PMC9344025.

Mobley EM, Tfirn I, Guerrier C, Gutter MS, Vigal K, Pather K, Baskovich B, Awad ZT, Parker AS (2021). Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Pancreatic Cancer: An Examination of Sociodemographic Disparities in One-Year Survival. Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Jan 1;234(1):75-84. doi: 10.1097/XCS.0000000000000018. PMID: 35213464; PMCID: PMC9132328. invited publication from the 2021 ACS Scientific Forum

Porto, N., Cho, S.H., and Gutter, M.S. (2021) Student loan decision making: Experience as an anchor. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. 42(4):773-784. doi: 10.1007/s10834-021-09773-5. Epub 2021 Jun 11. PMID: 34149271; PMCID: PMC81954

2022 American Association of Medical Colleges Innovations that Bolster Community Trust in Science Award

2019 NEAFCS Communications Internet Education Technology Award

2018 AAFCS Family Economics and Resource Management Community Education Award

2017 Best Paper in Personal Finance/Consumer Economics that was published in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal

2016 Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal Housing Paper Award

2015 Second Place National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS) Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award

2015 First Place NEAFCS Marketing Package Award

2015 Third Place NEAFCS Florence Hall Award

2015 Gold Award Association for Communications Excellence (for Solutions for Your Life - Vacation on a Budget Video)

2014 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education Outstanding Educational Program: Military Family Learning Network Webinar Series

2012 First Place NEAFCS Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award.

2010 Best Paper in Personal Finance and Consumer Economics in the Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal

2010 Co-Winner of NEAFCS Dean Don Felker Financial Management Award

2010 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Outstanding Conference Paper Award

2009 eXtension.org Outstanding Community of Practice for the Financial Security for All Community of Practice

2008 American Council on Consumer Interests Mid-Career Award

2001 Co-winner 2001 American Council on Consumer Interests Dissertation Award

1999 Academy of Financial Services Texas Instruments Award for Outstanding Paper