About HDFS

About Human Development and Family Studies

Amy E. Bonomi, Chairperson


The Department of Human Development and Family Studies (formerly Family and Child Ecology) is committed to improving the health and well-being of diverse individuals and families across the lifespan through research and preparation of graduates for research, teaching, and professional practice. Recognizing, understanding and addressing the central role of diversity and interdependence among families and communities in the process of human development are core values of the department.

Areas of Study

Areas of study include:

Knowledge of basic research and the application of research to improving the lives of individuals in the context of the family, the community, and policy are emphasized. Practical experience in real-world settings is incorporated into all areas of study. The Child Development Laboratories and the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic are part of the department.

At the undergraduate level, the focus is on the application of knowledge about individual development and family processes to early childhood education, child and youth services in the community, and services for adults. At the graduate level, this focus is widened to include courses and research experiences with the goal of improving the training of early childhood teachers, preparing professionals who will serve the community in a variety of contexts, and training therapists who provide services to families, couples, and individuals. The department graduate programs also prepare scholars who study child development in the context of family processes, diverse families and family problems, and the process and outcome of therapeutic interventions.

Faculty and the Community

Faculty conduct community-based multidisciplinary research on a wide variety of topics such as military families, refugee children, culturally-sensitive parenting, and language development in young children. Faculty actively mentor both graduate and undergraduate students in research. Outreach and engagement are essential aspects of all research and areas of study in the department with the commitment to improve the lives of individuals and families in the context of the family, the wider community, and policy.



The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is part of the ADVANCE grant to promote faculty diversity in the sciences