Child, Youth and Family Studies
Department web page
Current Assignment in the College of Education and Human Sciences:
I am an Associate Professor of Family Science with an appointment that combines teaching and research.
As a Family Scientist, my expertise lies in an interdisciplinary ecological perspective focused on how systemic interdependence impacts the well-being of individuals and families. I was transformed at my first glimpse of the world through an “Ecological Lens”. I couldn’t “un-see” the interdependence across various domains of life. I have applied this perspective to understanding how larger social systems influence the well-being of individuals and families. Integrating the fields of Family Science, Family Economics, and Public Policy, my research and scholarship has focused on how economic and policy systems impact economically marginalized families (individuals and families that are systematically excluded from equitable economic participation within the labor market and the broader economy).
Building on my previous work, my interest has turned simultaneously inward and outward. In keeping with my focus on external macro-level influence, I am currently working to deepen my understanding of universal (or collective) consciousness as an emergent ecological systems phenomenon. This interest has taken me into the field of Noetic Science. Simultaneously, I am expanding my knowledge on mindfulness and the interdependence of body, mind, and spirit within the individual. After spending much of my early career developing a keen understanding of how economic and policy systems often trap individuals and families, I am now turning my attention to potential sources of empowerment possessed by each and every individual. My exploration has taken me into the fields of Cell Biology, Holistic Nursing, and Integrative Medicine. As I continue to discover this scholarship, I am sure I will become acquainted with many other disciplines where this exciting work is taking place.
Below you will find a description of the courses I currently teach.
CYAF 222--Introduction to Family Financial Management--
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of responsible financial management. Because the impact of financial management behavior reaches well beyond the individual, this course addresses the basics of cash management, debt management, risk management, and investments from a family systems perspective. Success in this course impacts students both professionally as well as personally.
CYAF 333--Families in the Economy--
Recent history has demonstrated the intricate intedependence of family well-being and a stable economy. Students in this class address the question, "Do families exist to serve the economy or does the economy exist to serve families?". Using an Ecological Systems Perspective to delineate the interdependent sectors of our Pluralist Economy System, students learn how to articulate the many ways in which families are vital to a healthy functioning economy. Students explore families as producers that provide added value to the economy in a variety of ways, consumers that place demands for goods and services on the economy, and voters that indirectly participate in the development of economic policy. Professionals working directly with families in the domestic sector or impacting their well-being through private or public sector activity benefit from the holistic perspective offered in this class.
CYAF 488/888--Child and Family Policy (undegraduate/graduate)--
Any issue that impacts child and family well-being is a policy issue. This course applies a Family Perspective to social policy by considering the consequences of social policy for families and their children. Students in this class brush up on their state and federal government and what is involved in moving policy through the legislative process from a proposed idea all the way to law. With this expertise under their belts, students then work with a team to develop all the components of a policy portfolio on an child or family issue of their choice. Students learn to report relevant research through development of a Research Memo,