Mission, Vision, and Values of the Department of Child and Family Studies

The Department prepares students to become developmental science leaders who support the well-being of children, families, and communities in diverse settings. Recognizing the impact of systemic oppression across development, our emerging leaders learn to employ ethical, strengths-based practices for addressing social inequities and promoting resilience. Students are trained to think and write critically about human and family development through identifying and solving real-world problems, advocating for individuals and families, and disseminating knowledge.

Through the convergence of critical consciousness and culturally sustaining practices with an intersectional lens, the students, faculty, and staff will collaborate with a shared sense of values to foster a collective identity of leaders advancing social justice. 

The Department of Child and Family Studies values and promotes the following:
Perspectives and approach to learning
-  Culturally sustaining and social-constructivist pedagogy to address social justice and equity in the development of children and families through innovative teaching, learning, scholarship, and community engagement methods.
-  Experiential learning that helps students actively apply knowledge in community settings, engaging in iterative reflection to promote an understanding of broader contexts and systems of oppression.   
-  Student-centered approach that recognizes and values students’ lived experiences and intersectional identities.
Critical thinking skills
-  Engagement in and evaluation of the study of children and families using rigorous scientific methods and processes.
-  Acknowledgement of the inherent fluidity of the scientific process, including the importance of contextualized interpretations and the existence of nuance, uncertainty, and complexity.
-  Recognition that the developing person and family are embedded within diverse cultural, local, global, and historical contexts, which are nested and interconnected.
-  Investigation, critical questioning, and analysis of the implications of systems of power that shape policies and practices affecting children, families, and communities.
Professional attitudes
-  Appreciation of the significance of language, culture, sexual orientation and gender identity, ability status, and racial and ethnic identity as they relate to human development and interconnection.
-  Awareness that children and adults achieve their full potential in relationships based on trust, respect, and integrity, and seeking to model and promote these relationships. 
-  Understanding that colonial, White, and Western values are implied in our theories of normative development and deconstructing these theories with a critical and collectivist lens.
-  Recognition that education is a human right and committing to address and improve equity, inclusion, and social justice issues within educational and child-centered contexts. 
Community engagement
-  Providing students with opportunities to serve and support the progress of their communities at large by applying their skills and knowledge in fieldwork experiences.
-  Creating opportunities for students to participate in campus and community-level decision-making with the goal of decolonizing organizational practices and serving as catalysts for changing policies, programs, and practices.
-  Facilitating a bidirectional community-academic partnership by working collaboratively with community partners to assess resources and allies to support the development of children and families.
-  Support efforts to address educational equity and protect the civil rights of students and the communities in which they live.