College of Liberal Arts
Psychology (PSY) 205
Shelley J. Eriksen, Beth Manke, Katherine Van Giffen
Stephanie V. Brown, Jeffrey P. Davis
Administrative Support Coordinator
Shelley J. Eriksen
The field of Human Development studies lifespan development within societal and cultural contexts. Accordingly, Human Development is interdisciplinary, examining development primarily from the perspectives of its component disciplines: Anthropology, Biology, Psychology and Sociology.
The Human Development Department offers a B.A. in Human Development and supervises the Human/Child Development concentrations in the Liberal Studies Program. The B.A. program is structured to provide students with: a broad knowledge of lifespan human development, specific expertise in processes and contexts that affect development, methods to evaluate research and theory within human development, and practice in the real-world application of knowledge gained in the program. Within these guidelines, the B.A. is flexible—students can choose courses that best fit their needs and goals.
Students choose from a wide variety of courses for their Foundation Area requirements. Foundation Area courses cover the components of Human Development—the biological, the psychological, and the social and cultural. Students interested in gerontology, for example, may choose to take courses like the Biology of Aging, Introduction to Gerontology and Culture and Aging as their Foundation Area courses, while students interested in child development generally choose different courses for those requirements. Careful selection of Foundation courses can allow students to complete a minor or certificate program (for example, the Gerontology Certificate or Child Development Minor), while completing their major.
In addition to their academic training, Human Development students are taught to apply their knowledge through a semester Practicum. For the Practicum, students typically volunteer in settings pertaining to their career goals. Because the career goals of our students vary, individual students usually are in different practicum sites, including: elementary schools, human resource management offices, senior centers, physical therapy units and various social service agencies.
The faculty of Human Development are active researchers, who regularly include interested students in their research programs. Students who are considering graduate school have the opportunity to work as research assistants on a variety of projects and can help present the findings of those projects at professional conferences. Research experience of this type enhances the likelihood that students will be accepted into the graduate program of their choice.
Human Development graduates pursue a variety of careers. At the B.A. level, many take positions in the social services and business. A substantial number of students enroll in Teaching Credential Programs, while others have gone to graduate school in: Applied Anthropology, Counseling, Criminal Justice, Developmental Psychology, Gerontology, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, School Psychology, Social Work and other fields.
Human Development has an active student club, the Human Development Student Association (HDSA). The HDSA is open to all students enrolled in Human Development courses and has regularly scheduled meetings. Activities sponsored by the HDSA are diverse and include community service projects, sponsoring speakers and films, hosting student-faculty parties, and alumni events. HDSA activities are posted outside the Department Office.
More information on the Human Development Department can be obtained at the Department Office (PSY 205) and the department website. Students who wish to major in Human Development should seek early advising from the Undergraduate Advisor.