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Human Development

Welcome Letter

Welcome to the Department of Human Development! Our department has a long tradition of training students to make a difference in the world. The focus of our teaching, research, and engagement is on understanding how people develop throughout their lifespans, and in their relationships, recognizing the contexts in which they live. We extend this understanding to doing research that is applied and translational, to improve the quality of everyday life and to enhance people's well-being across their lives.

We operate 4 Centers within our department. Two are located in Wallace Hall: the Child Development Center for Learning and Research (CDCLR) and the Adult Day Services (ADS), which are living laboratories that serve the community, train students, and conduct research. Our other two centers are associated with the Marriage and Family Therapy graduate programs we run: the Family Therapy Center (FTC) off-campus in Blacksburg and the Center for Family Services (CFS) that is run at our National Capital Region location that serves our MS in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) in Northern Virginia.

Faculty in HD are renowned teachers and researchers. I encourage you to explore faculty webpages and to take a look at the coursework we offer. We offer an undergraduate program, a MS in MFT in the National Capital Region, and MS through Ph.D. and a Ph.D. in Blacksburg. We study children, adolescents, adults, close relationships, and diversity in family structure, processes, cultures, and ethnicities. We use rigorous research methods to analyze the important social challenges of contemporary society and formulate solutions to problems at the level of individuals, families, communities, and policies.

Anisa Zvonkovic, Human Development Department Head

Mission Statement

To understand and improve the lives of people of all ages in relationships, families, organizations and communities.

The faculty of the Department of Human Development is committed to understanding and improving the lives of people of all ages through our education, research, and outreach activities. We strive to accomplish the following in all our endeavors:

  • Build caring communities for learning and working with each other, with students, and with the people we serve;
  • Accept and value diversity; we appreciate differences in people, families, and ideas;
  • Convey that every family has value and that learning should take place in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance;
  • Provide opportunities to learn how to help people live and work in caring relationships, families, organizations, and communities;
  • Facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and skills that will help people resolve individual, interpersonal, family, organization, and social problems.