Spring 2023

HDFS 101 Individual and Family Development [CRN 21026]

Overview of Course

In this course, we will explore the development, diversity, and commonalities of humans across the lifespan. We will examine human development from physical, cognitive, social, and emotional viewpoints. The major theories of development will be presented and compared. We will analyze the ways that our families influence us and how we, in turn, influence them. We will examine research findings related to the effects of culture and ethnicity on child development, adult development, and aging. In sum, we will examine all stages of development through the engaging lens of culture.

“A cultural view of development provides the greatest opportunity for understanding development over an individual’s entire lifetime.” -Jeffrey Jensen Arnet

Understanding human development and the major milestones throughout the lifespan will help us in all aspects of life, from relational and family experiences, in our personal pursuits, professional encounters, when interacting with the diversity of clients, students, patients, and customers that we will encounter in our career. In the class, we will learn to think and engage as a developmentalist – equipped with the proficiency and understanding of the developing person from infancy to later adulthood and all of the experiences in between. The goals of this course are to enhance critical thinking about human development, to provide general awareness about cultural and ethnic influences upon development and family systems, and to increase our understanding of research and practice within the field of human development and family studies. Port-of-call visits will be used to further examine the concepts we discuss and will allow for observations of cultural differences and similarities. For example, rituals of birth, becoming an adult, marriage, and death will be considered relative to each country we will visit.