Human Development 401

HUMD 401: The Family

Credit Hours: (3)

Examines diversity, change and issues within the family unit.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

This course examines the family unit and its various forms from behavioral, historical, and sociological perspectives. The course focuses on the salient themes of change, diversity, and variation among American families.

These topics will be the main focus:

I. Family Change

A. Exploring the Concept of Family
B. Family Issues
C. Demographic Impacts

II. Family Diversity

A. The meaning of ethnicity
B. Afro-American families
C. Hispanic Families
D. Native American families
E. Asian American families
F. Appalachian families
G. Social class

III. Family Variation

A. Extended adolescence
B. Cohabitation
C. Being single
D. Childlessness
E. Employment patterns
F. Divorce
G. Remarriage
H. Stepfamilies  


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course includes the following activities: lecture, class discussions, video presentation, guest speakers, analysis of case studies slide presentation, student presentations of term projects.


Goals of the Course

I. For students to learn to read research about the family with more scientific objectivity;
II. For students to develop an understanding of how demographic, social, economic, and political conditions have caused the family to change over the last half century;
III. For students to become aware of the diversity and complexity of family life and its meaning in contemporary society;
IV. For students to study one particular family form or variation in depth.


Assessment Measures

  • Students are required to attend class regularly.
  • Students are to read all assigned chapters and articles prior to class in preparation for class discussion.
  • Students will be tested on each of the three major course themes.
  • The final exam will be comprehensive in order to allow students to integrate course content.
  • The written term project includes a review of the literature, case study, methodology and analysis sections. The term project provides an opportunity to study a particular family form or variation in depth.


Other Course Information

  • Students are to give a 15-20 minute oral presentation based on the written term project.
  • Students are to serve as peer evaluators for oral presentation of designated classmates.


Review and Approval
April 1998 Updated Dr. Janette Newhouse/Dr. Sheila Reyna