A Message from the Department Head (2017-2018)

Welcome to the Department of Human Development and Family Studies!

Eva S. Lefkowitz
Eva S. Lefkowitz

Our faculty and students engage in the study of the development and wellbeing of individuals and families across the lifespan. We have a longstanding history of considering the role of culture in human development, from infancy to later adulthood. Many of our faculty and students also consider aspects of physical health, like nutrition, cancer, and sexual health, and/or mental health, including ways to improve wellbeing. Alumni of our undergraduate program go onto a range of careers in counseling, education, advocacy, non-profit work, health, business, and research, with a range of populations including infants and young children, adolescents, older adults, couples, and families. Alumni of our graduate program often end up as faculty in human development and family studies, psychology, or other disciplines. Other graduate alumni work in applied research, policy, or government settings. Our faculty includes the directors of four research centers  (Center for Applied Research in Human Development, Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development, Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection and UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity) and strong ties with the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy and the Human Rights Institute. In addition, we have recently established a partnership with the Child Development and Family Studies Department at Seoul National University.

Given our faculty and students’ productivity and accomplishments, it’s impossible to briefly summarize all the recent news in HDFS. However, here are some highlights:

  • Beth Russell was recently promoted to associate professor
  • Preston Britner testified at a congressional briefing on homelessness sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Rob Portman and Representatives Dave Loebsack and Steve Stivers.
  • Marlene Schwartz collaborated with UCONN faculty in the Digital Media and Design Department to create a system for food banks to scan the bar codes of products and track the nutritional value of their inventory.
  • Charlie Super serves on the U.S. National Committee for Psychological Science, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences.
  • One HDFS professor and two graduate students received Fulbrights: Dr. Steven Wisensale  to teach two courses in Japan; Jia Li Liu, to study children’s shyness in Chinese immigrant and native Hong Kong families, and Carmen Britton to collect data in Sri Lanka.
  • The Child Labs were again recognized as a certified Nature Explore Program by the National Arbor Day Foundation for their commitment to integrating nature into their program.

I’m excited about starting my second year at UConn and as HDFS Department Head.