Framingham State Launches New Major in Child and Family Studies

Framingham State Launches New Major in Child and Family Studies

Feb 1, 2018

Framingham State University is pleased to announce the creation of a new interdisciplinary major in Child and Family Studies that takes a holistic approach to studying the learning and development of children.

The major, which will launch in the fall, is designed for students interested in working with young children and their families as teachers or administrators in pre-school, childcare, early intervention or other community-based programs for children. Dr. Kelly Kolodny, who co-chaired the committee that developed the new major, says it is unique in that it puts an emphasis on the collaborative role of schools, families, and communities working together to support children. 

“There is a need to recognize that it takes many different constituents working together to support children,” Kolodny says. “This major places a strong focus on family involvement, family engagement, and collaboration across families, educational settings, and communities.”

The Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies will be housed within the University’s College of Education, but the curriculum also includes courses within the Psychology and Sociology Departments, such as the Psychology of Development and the Sociology of Families. The program leads to certification through the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

“There is a growing need in this region and state for highly qualified Early Education and Care teachers, as well as EEC directors for early childhood care centers,” says Dr. Larnell Flannagan, Interim Dean of the FSU College of Education. “The Child and Family Studies major will be very attractive for those seeking a BS degree in a profession with teachers and leaders committed to educating children and their families.”

Ms. Valerie Hytholt, who co-chaired the development of the new major with Kolodny, says a needs assessment demonstrated a significant shortfall in teachers holding bachelor’s degrees at EEC programs throughout the region. There is also a need at the administrative level, which is why the program includes an administrative leadership course.

“We believe there will be a lot of interest in this program, particularly among current teachers who need to obtain their bachelor’s degree,” says Hytholt, who oversees the Centers for Early Childhood Education at FSU.

Students in the program will be eligible to apply for the Department of Higher Education’s Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to currently employed early childhood educators who enroll in an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree program.

The Child and Family Studies major will be eligible for MassTransfer, which means that students at the state’s 15 community colleges who earn their associate’s degree in an early childhood education program will be able to seamlessly transfer into the program to pursue their bachelor’s degree.   

The program is also expected to be ideal for students interested in pursuing their master’s degree after graduation.

“This major will prepare students for a wide range of different graduate pursuits,” Kolodny says. “We believe it meets a strong workforce need in the Commonwealth.”  

About Framingham State University

Framingham State University was founded in 1839 as the nation’s first public university for the education of teachers. Since that time, it has evolved into a vibrant, comprehensive liberal arts institution offering small, personalized classes on a beautiful New England campus. Today, the University enrolls more than 6,000 students with 58 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences and professional fields. As a State College and University (SCU), Framingham State prides itself on quality academic programs, affordability, and commitment to access for all qualified students.