CSULB Department of Human Development was created in the mid-1970s in response to the growing need for interdisciplinary dialog and training. Based on the University of Chicago model, the philosophy underlying the Department of Human Development is that development continues from conception to death and that development must be studied in context—the growing individual cannot be understood as separate from the family, society, or culture in which he or she lives.
As part of both teaching and research, the department explores development and maturation as a lifelong process and strives to link theory and methodology from several disciplines including anthropology, biology, psychology, and sociology. Indeed, one of the unique features of Human Development at CSULB is its interdisciplinary focus. Rather than obtain a degree in one discipline, students have the advantage of developing their understanding of human experience through the lens of the key component fields of psychology, sociology and anthropology. As a result, Human Development asks students to think in complex ways about social and individual phenomena, an effort in keeping with a traditional liberal arts education but one that prepares graduates to live and work in a diverse and dynamic global society.
There are two additional features that distinguish graduates with a degree in human development. First, all Human Development students are required to complete an internship prior to graduation. Our internship program is among the best at CSULB. Sometime in their senior year, students enroll in the internship seminar course (HDEV 470 Practicum/Seminar) and select an internship site in line with their professional goals. Together with the course instructor and fellow seminar students, they meet together weekly as a class to discuss shared readings, specify short and long-term professional goals, and address challenges and successes occurring on site. As a department, we invest a considerable amount of our resources in this internship program because we believe that the application of theory to everyday practice is a fundamental demarcation of college graduate. Guided internships provide a concrete and practical bridge between school to work for our students, and a necessary resume-builder in a tight job market. Indeed, a significant number of our internship students secure work at their former internship site every semester. Human Development values its many partnerships with community agencies and organizations in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area that have provided invaluable work experience for our students. Reflective of this commitment, in the Fall of 2005, Human Development was designated a Service-Learning Engaged Department, pledging to work with the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) to include community-based work in our teaching and research.
Another distinguishing feature of Human Development is its international focus, in both curricular content and classroom experience. Although several of our required courses foreground issues of development within an international framework, increasingly many of our classes contexualize and/or problematize age and maturation as it is conceived and practiced around the world. But our commitment to internationalization goes well beyond the conventional classroom. Human Development faculty are actively involved in cross-national colloborations–in South Africa, India, and Ecuador–to benefit and involve our students. Examples include a penpal and fundraising program between Human Development and Thembani Primary School in Langa, South Africa, the GlobaLink-Africa Curriculum Project (GACP), the GlobaLink Sister School Project and a longitudinal research project in Ecuador on the effects of parental emigration on children left behind. In the Fall of 2006, faculty in Human Development negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for future scholarly exchange with members of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Borda. A year later, Human Development hosted for a semester Dr. Deepak Kumar Behera, a Fulbright scholar and professor and chair of the Anthropology Department at Sambalpur University in Orissa, India who taught a class for us on childhood in India. Most recently, in the summer of 2009, students have furthered their international experience by enrolling in our summer study abroad programs–a course on death and dying (HDEV 300I) taught in the Cape Town area of South Africa, a course on childhood (HDEV 307I) as it plays out in the context of children’s experience in Ecuador, and a three-week internship at The Botshabelo Community Development Trust in Magaliesburg, a small rural community 62 miles northwest of Johannesburg.
Dynamic, international, engaged. Check out a degree in Human Development.
Housed in the CSULB College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Human Development offers a B.A. in Human Development and a minor in Human Development.