Family Studies

Deb Clark, Holland 504

(Social Work and Family Studies)

The well-being of individuals, couples, and families is a national and global concern. Family studies is an integrative field that synthesizes knowledge from many liberal arts disciplines, particularly economics, political science, psychology, social work, and sociology.

Social Work and Family Studies offers a concentration in family studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes for the Concentration

Recommendations for Graduate Study

The concentration in family studies is designed to enable students to learn about families in both theory and practice; it is a course of study that can enhance student learning in any major. This concentration is intended to help to prepare students entering careers with families including marriage and family therapy, education, and ministry, or to family practice in law, medicine, nursing, social work, or public policy. Students who intend to go directly to graduate school should also consider enrollment in a statistics course and a research methods course in social work, psychology, or sociology/anthropology.

Recommended preparation: introductory courses in social sciences, biology, and statistics

Required department courses 1
FAMST 232Introduction to Family Studies1.00
FAMST 242Family Relationships1.00
FAMST 391Senior Seminar: Special Topics1.00
Select two of the following electives: 22.00
Asian American Literature
Human Sexuality
Women in America
Family Health
Exploring India: Human Development in Cross-Cultural Context (abroad)
Developmental Psychology
Introduction to Race and Ethnic Studies (literature)
Topical Seminar (when taught as Race, Gender, and Sexuality)
Sociology of Dying, Death, and Bereavement
Marriage and the Family
Family and Gender Roles in Spain: 1900 to Present
Experiential component (see below)
Total Credits5

Experiential component

This requirement is usually an academic, credit-bearing experience completed during the senior year (including the previous summer.) It is designed to ensure that concentrators participate in an experience that applies basic family knowledge (theories, frameworks, concepts) to real families in a setting beyond the classroom. It must be approved by a faculty member in the Department of Social Work and Family Studies prior to enrollment and entered into the Department GoogleDoc. The experience and concomitant learning is presented as a graded assignment for a public audience in the senior seminar FAMST 391. Through the experience, students demonstrate attainment of intended learning outcomes for family studies.

Guidelines for the experiential component:

Includes a minimum of 40 hours devoted to direct experience with families (more than one);

  1. Can be domestic or international;
  2. Can be taken either graded or Pass/No Pass (P/N);
  3. Can be submitted for distinction in a major, if it meets that department's guidelines for distinction; and
  4. Must be approved by a faculty member in the Department of Social Work and Family Studies prior to enrollment.

The experience may be:

  • A project in a senior year course, or work with families in a social work practicum or nursing clinical; or
  • An independent research project with family interaction (FAMST 394); or
  • An internship with a family serving agency (quarter-, half-, or full-credit FAMST 294); or
  • A summer experience prior to senior year that involves direct experience with families.

FAMST 120: I Want to Help People

Students explore service to human beings as a profession, both vocation and avocation. Who needs help? Who helps? Where? How? What motivates people to help? Using the liberal arts as a foundation for helping people, students study opportunities in areas such as health care, social services, ministry, youth work, and the arts. The class includes lectures, discussions, speakers, and field visits; additional fee. Open only to first-year students. Offered occasionally during Interim.

FAMST 232: Introduction to Family Studies

Students examine American families through the life cycle in relation to personal and professional life, with the major emphasis on communication and commitment in interpersonal relationships. Students study courtship, marriage, adjustment to parenthood, and aging.They examine stressors that affect families such as family violence, divorce, grief and loss, and socioeconomic challenges. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach; students have opportunity for a broad range of individualized study. Offered each semester. Counts toward American studies major and family studies and management studies concentrations.

FAMST 242: Family Relationships

Students study the contemporary American family as it meets the challenge of a changing social world. The primary objective is to enlarge both personal and intellectual understanding of the complex issues facing families. Using the range of behavioral sciences concerned with family life, students study the interaction of individuals within families and families within society. Primary emphasis is on theories and practice of family communication. Offered each semester. Counts toward American studies major, family studies and educational studies concentrations, and women's and gender studies major and concentration.

FAMST 253: Human Sexuality

This course explores the varied dimensions of human sexuality as they affect and are affected by past and present human relationships. Sexual problems and issues are examined for the development of a value framework and for the enrichment of family life. The course emphasizes critical thinking skills applied to current issues in human sexuality (e.g. gay marriage, race and gender issues, sexual violence). Students examine issues in contemporary research and ethics in sexuality. Offered each semester. Counts toward American studies major, family studies concentration, and women's and gender studies major and concentration.

FAMST 294: Academic Internship

FAMST 298: Independent Study

FAMST 391: Senior Seminar: Special Topics

This required capstone seminar explores current research and the integration of key foundation disciplines in the study of families. Students explore special topics through readings assignments and lecture material.
Prerequisites: FAMST 232 and FAMST 242. Students can take FAMST 242 and FAMST 391 concurrently with permission of department chair or FAMST 391 instructor.

FAMST 394: Academic Internship

FAMST 396: Directed Undergraduate Research

This course provides a comprehensive research opportunity, including an introduction to relevant background material, technical instruction, identification of a meaningful project, and data collection. The topic is determined by the faculty member in charge of the course and may relate to his/her research interests. Offered based on department decision. May be offered as a 1.00 credit course or .50 credit course.
Prerequisite: determined by individual instructor.

FAMST 398: Independent Research

Director, 2018-2019

Lisa L. Moore

Assistant Professor of Social Work and Family Studies

race and culture in families; emerging adulthood theory; social work practice

Mary S. Carlsen

Professor of Social Work and Family Studies

social policy; global social work; professional ethics; end of life care; family studies

Grace E. Cho

Associate Professor of Psychology

developmental psychology; child development; cultural psychology; socioemotional development; parent-child processes

Dana L. Gross

Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary and General Studies

developmental psychology; off-campus study

Judy Kutulas

Professor of History

20th-century U.S. history; U.S. women's history; popular and material culture

Anna K. Kuxhausen

Associate Professor of History

Russian history; women's history

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs

Associate Professor of English

poetry and poetics; creative nonfiction; Asian American literature; critical adoption studies

Diane C. LeBlanc

Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Director of the Writing Program

rhetoric and composition; creative writing; gender studies

Melissa A. Mendez

Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Work

Ryan R. Sheppard

Assistant Professor of Sociology/Anthropology

family; gender; race/ethnicity; social movements; quantitative research

Susan E. Smalling (on leave Interim and spring)

Associate Professor of Social Work and Family Studies

anti-oppressive research and practice; indigenous populations; family and child welfare