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Family Studies and Human Development: Undergraduate Program


The Family Studies and Human Development program offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in FCS with a major in Family Studies and Human Development (FSHD). The program of study for the major is designed to provide students with knowledge of family processes, interpersonal relationships, and lifespan human development in addition to applied skills necessary to effectively work with, study, and advocate for children, youth, adults, and families from diverse backgrounds. Students majoring in FSHD are prepared for careers and graduate training in fields such as human services, social work, counseling, family law, health professions, and gerontology. 

Expected Learning Outcomes: 

Undergraduate Program Expected Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment Plan (Course-based assessment rubrics linked after each outcome)

Upon completing an undergraduate degree in Family Studies and Human Development students will demonstrate:

  1. Broad knowledge of theories, issues, research findings, and their applications in family studies and human development.
  2. Basic knowledge of and ability to apply statistical analysis procedures and research methods for the study of families and human development.
  3. Ability to critically analyze and evaluate theoretical perspectives and research findings in the field of family studies and human development.
  4. Ability to communicate effectively in writing, using style appropriate to the discipline.
  5. Effective oral communication skills for a variety of audiences.
  6. Knowledge of ethical standards and professional practices in the field of family studies and human development and the ability to employ them effectively.
Assessment Activities: 

Regular or Recurring Activities

Faculty/Staff Involvement:

  • Course-based assessment rubrics were derived in consultation with each course instructor and are based on the evaluation activities (e.g., exams, written assignments) and grading criteria utilized in each course. 
  • Premajor/Major Entry Surveys were developed in consultation with Norton academic advisors and Student Services staff who are responsible for teaching our "success" courses.  The Pre-major Entry Survey is administered in FSHD 197A (Introduction to FSHD) by the FSHD academic advisor, and the Major Entry Survey is administered  in FSHD 384 (Leadership, Ethics, and Professional Practices) by the FSHD Internship Coordinator.
  • The Graduating Senior Exit Survey was developed by the FSHD Undergraduate Curriculum Committee with input from FSHD faculty.  Graduating students complete the online surveys when they come to the Norton School Student Services Center to apply for their degree check.


Assessment Findings: 
Change in Response to Findings: 

Beginning in Fall 2010, the FSHD program implemented a number of curriculum changes intended to improve students’ learning outcomes.  These included 1) instituting a pre-major requirement (to ensure timely completion of pre-requisite coursework for success in upper division courses); 2) developing in-house statistics and research methods courses with an emphasis on hands-on learning and applications relevant to FCS; 3) developing an in-house “critical thinking/presentations” course to improve students’ written and oral communication skills; and 4) requiring that all majors complete at least 3 units of “applied skills” (e.g., internship, practicum, directed research).  In 2014-15 we re-structured the curriculum to allow students to earn more credit (up to 6 units) in the “applied skills” area of the curriculum with the aim of further enhancing student engagement.  FSHD Faculty have tracked the student outcomes assessment results with a particular focus on evidence bearing on the success of these curriculum changes.

Results of both direct (course-based) and indirect (Question 15 on the exit survey) assessments through 2017 indicate a high level of student success in meeting expected learning outcomes.  Most recently, course-based assessments for Spring 2017 show student success rates ranging from 75% to 100% across the six student outcome areas.  Student perceptions of their learning outcomes (derived from the exit survey) also remain consistently high, with the large majority of students indicating that they did “very well” or “extremely well” in achieving learning goals in the six outcome areas (Overall mean rating=4.38 out of 5 for Spring 2017).  In addition, rates of participation in hands-on learning activities (internships, practicums, student research, etc.) have been at or above 90% over the last three years; these experiences continue to be highly valued by the students (Mean value rating=4.6 out of 5 across the last three years). 

Faculty continue to work toward sustaining and improving on the positive results we have seen from our learning outcomes assessments.  Beginning this fall, we will be conducting a full review of the FSHD curriculum with the goal of identifying areas for enhancement to ensure that we remain competitive with peer programs across the country.

Updated date: Tue, 08/08/2017 - 16:17