The Family Studies major focuses on healthy family functioning within a family systems perspective and provides a primarily preventive approach. The skills and knowledge needed for healthy functioning are widely known: strong communication skills, knowledge of typical human development, good decision-making skills, positive self-esteem, and healthy interpersonal relationships.
The goal of family life education is to teach and foster this knowledge and these skills to enable individuals and families to function optimally.
Family life education professionals consider societal issues including economics, education, work-family issues, parenting, sexuality, gender and more within the context of the family. They believe that societal problems such as substance abuse, domestic violence, unemployment, debt, and child abuse can be more effectively addressed from a perspective that considers the individual and family as part of larger systems. Knowledge about healthy family functioning can be applied to prevent or minimize many of these problems.
Family life education provides this information through an educational approach, often in a classroom-type setting or through educational materials.
Students successfully completing the major in Family Studies will:
1) demonstrate the ability to plan programming and regular training in family life skills;
2) assess global and local needs of today’s youth and their families;
3) develop programs that are sensitive to needs of the family;
4) develop professional skills useful for dealing with people and coworkers;
5) demonstrate an awareness and understanding of National Council on Family Relations’ primary content areas;
6) demonstrate Godly character and professionalism;
7) demonstrate the ability to serve in a variety of leadership roles.
Not only do students who complete this degree program finish with a degree but they also complete the course work necessary for meeting the standards and criteria required for the Certified Family Life Educator (Provisional) designation by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).
Family life educators work in a variety of Christian and secular settings. They bring comprehensive family training to numerous employment sectors and job settings providing crucial training for the local church and community. Often, CFLEs work in the following venues:
- Practice – ministry, teaching, education, research/scholarship, program or curricula development
- Administration –ministry, leadership or management, organizing, coordinating, and
- Promotion – public policy, fundraising, lobbying, advocating for system change and awareness.