Alan Tomkins

Director of Nebraska Public Policy Center Psychology

Alan Tomkins is the Director of the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, located off-campus at the Lincoln Community Foundation Building (215 Centennial Mall, South, Suite 401, Lincoln, NE 68588-0308). He was named director when the PPC was created in July, 1998. Dr. Tomkins is also a Professor in the UNL Law/Psychology Program. He is currently on-leave from UNL; he is working at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Arlington, VA. 

Dr. Tomkins received a B. A. degree from Boston University (1975) with a joint major in Psychology and Philosophy. He earned a J. D. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis in 1984. He joined the faculty of the Law/Psychology Program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1986. Prior to coming to UNL, Dr. Tomkins was a Research Associate at the Federal Judicial Center, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and a Research Assistant Professor at St. Louis University. He also has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Southampton (England) and as a Visiting Scholar of Psychology at Yonsei University (Seoul, Korea). In 2005-06 Tomkins served as William J. Clinton Distinguished Fellow at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and in 2011 he served as a Franklin Fellow with the U.S. Department of State.

His policy research interests currently focus on trust in government and stakeholder input into the policy process. Before joining NSF, Dr. Tomkins served as co-editor of Court Review, the journal of the American Judges Association from 2007-2014, and he served co-Editor and then Editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Behavioral Sciences & the Law from 1989-2001, and served on the editorial board for Law & Human Behavior and Expert Evidence: The International Digest of Human Behaviour Science and Law. He is a Fellow of the American-Psychology Law Society (APLS) and Society for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), Divisions 41 & 9 of the American Psychological Association, respectively.

Representative Publications
  • Artikov, I., Hoffman, S. J., Lynne, G.D., PytlikZillig, L. M., Hu, Q., Tomkins, A. J., Hubbard, K. G., Hayes, M. J., & Waltman, W. J. (2006). Understanding the influence of climate forecasts on farmer decisions as Planned Behavior. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45, 1202-1214.
  • Bornstein, B.H., Tomkins, A.J., Michaels, S., Samal, A., Nam, Y., Zellmer, S. Hoagland, K., & Olson, D. (2009). Social justice and water sustainability and management. In A. Kakanowski & M. Narusevich (Eds.), Handbook of social justice. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Elbogen, E. B., Huss, M. T., Tomkins, A. J., & Scalora, M. J. (2005). Clinical decision-making about psychopathy and violence risk assessment in public sector mental health settings. Psychological Services, 2, 133-141.
  • Elbogen, E. B., Mercado, C. C., Scalora, M. J., & Tomkins, A. J. (2002). Perceived relevance of factors for violence risk assessment: A survey of clinicians. International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 1, 37-47.
  • Elbogen, E. B., & Tomkins, A. J. (2000). Integrating conditional release and contingency management for individuals with chronic mental illness. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 18, 427-444.
  • Elbogen, E. B., Tomkins, A. J., Pothuloori, A., & Scalora, M. J. (2003). Documentation of violence risk factors in psychiatric facilities: An empirical examination. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 31, 58-64.
  • Grisso, T., & Tomkins, A. (1996). Communicating violence risk assessment. American Psychologist, 51, 928-930.
  • Hu, Q., Pytlik Zillig, L. M., Lynne, G. D, Tomkins, A. J., Waltman, W. J., Hayes, M. J., Hubbard, K. G., Artikov, I., Hoffman, S. J., & Wilhite, D. A. (2006). Understanding farmers' forecast use from their beliefs, values, social norms, and perceived obstacles. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 45, 1190-1201.
  • National Center for State Courts. (1999, May). How the public views the state courts: A 1999 national survey. Williamsburg, VA: Author. [contributing author]
  • Rottman, D., & Tomkins, A. J. (Eds.). (2001). Public trust and confidence in the courts [Special issue]. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 19(2), 197-320.
  • Tomkins, A. J. (1990). Dispositional decisionmaking in the juvenile justice system: An empirical study of the use of offense and offender information. Nebraska Law Review, 69, 298-345.
  • Tomkins, A.J. (Ed.). (2007-2008). Procedural justice [Special issue]. Court Review, 44(1/2), 1-84.
    Available online at
  • Tomkins, A.J. (2008). Using research and engagement to inform policy making. The Community Psychologist, 41(3/4), 9-10.
    Available online at
  • Tomkins, A.J., & Applequist, K. (2008). Constructs of justice: Beyond civil litigation. In B. H. Bornstein, R. L. Wiener, R. Schopp, & S. L. Willborn (Eds.), Civil juries and civil justice (pp. 163-178). New York: Springer.
  • Tomkins, A. J., Christensen, I., Fulwider, J., Loontjer, K., Abdel-Monem, T., & Cohn, D. (2006). Genetically Modified Foods: Attitudes and knowledge in the heart of the farm belt, USA. In C. Carter & W. Kenyon (Eds.), Proceedings of Participatory Approaches in Science & Technology Conference, June 4-7, 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland.
    Available online from
  • Tomkins, A., Shank, N., Tromanhauser, D., Rupp, S., & Mahoney, R. (2005). United Way and University partnerships in community-wide human services planning and plan implementation: The case of Lincoln/Lancaster County, Nebraska. Journal of Community Practice, 13(3), 55-72.