WHAT DOES THE DISCIPLINE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT MEAN TO YOU?

This week we will be doing something not necessary with most majors – defining the major. So the question is what does it mean to major in Human Development?

  1. DISCUSSION QUESTION – WHAT DOES THE DISCIPLINE OF HUMAN DEVELOPMENT MEAN TO YOU?

If it’s hard for you to articulate what the discipline entails, don’t worry you are not alone.

2 little stories:

  1. When I was in graduate school working on my PhD in Human Development my parents had the hardest time explaining to people what their daughter was studying. They would answer Human Development and the next question was always “Is that Psychology? She’s getting a degree in Psychology?” Getting tired of being asked this question and not having an accurate answer my mom had me write out an explanation on a little piece of paper and she kept it in her wallet.That way when people asked she could tell them.
  2. When I was in graduate school one of my professors used to explain the discipline of Human Development the following way: If Psychology and Sociology got married and had a baby it would be Human Development. But if they got divorced, Sociology would get custody of Human Development.

As I said, don’t feel badly if it’s hard to articulate what this discipline is all about.

So as a department, what do we consider Human Development?

In the simplest terms:

Human Development is the study of how people grow and change over the course of the lifespan.

  1. DISCUSSION QUESTION – HOW DOES THIS SIMPLE DEFINITION FIT WITH HOW YOU ANSWERED THE FIRST QUESTION?

In more complex terms Human Development and the Department of Human Development at CSUEB consists of the following:

Human Development is an interdisciplinary program that integrates theory and methodology from disciplines such as anthropology, biology, linguistics, psychology, and sociology. Students majoring in Human Development explore the processes and mechanisms underlying developmental change and stability across the lifespan, and the sociocultural and historical contexts in which development takes place.

The program’s curriculum equips students with basic understanding of major research findings and core concepts in human development, the ability to critically analyze and evaluate theoretical and practical issues in the field, and the skills to apply their learning to diverse communities outside the university. The program strives to create an optimal learning community which values and fosters mutual learning and dialogue between and among students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.

One of the most important aspects of Human Development is that it considers all the factors that impact development – this might also be called “a multi systems approach.”So if I’m studying a person I will look at individual traits, such as personality, but will also look at the home environment, the community in which she/he lives, the current historical time period, etc. Because to truly understand an individual you need to understand the world that surrounds that person.

  1. DISCUSSION QUESTION – GIVE ME ONE EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING YOU MIGHT STUDY THAT REQUIRES LOOKING AT MULTIPLE FACTORS/SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO TRULY UNDERSTAND IT.
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