Department Mission

The diversified liberal arts program in Child and Adolescent Development (ChAD) provides students with a broad and balanced background in the liberal arts, including the arts and humanities, the sciences, and mathematics, beyond that required for general education. Students are encouraged to direct their own education as much as possible; with the agreement of an advisor, they select from among courses to challenge their individual strengths and weaknesses in order to acquire solid subject-matter knowledge in preparation for teaching and working with/or on behalf of children. In addition, the ChAD major provides students with an especially thorough grounding in child and adolescent development, an understanding that is essential to effective work with children. Students are provided with practical experience with children in classroom contexts as well as traditional textbook learning; they are also encouraged to acquire and use critical thinking skills throughout their coursework.

The program provides a well-rounded curriculum that incorporates theory, research, policy, and practice. The course of study includes: a command of various theories and milestones of human development; an appreciation of the influences of parents, peers, teachers, social institutions, and other socializing agents on all domains of development throughout childhood and adolescence; an appreciation of the importance of issues of equity including the special considerations relevant to cultural and ethnic diversity; an awareness of effects of different child-rearing practices or conditions on the fulfillment of development promise (e.g., parenting styles, day care, divorce, child abuse); and understanding of individual differences (e.g., learning styles, differing abilities) and how to accommodate them; and a sensitivity to the commonalties and diversities in people of all ages.

The goal of the ChAD Department is to develop educated people who are intelligent, well-informed, responsible lifelong learners, and who take an active interest in the world around them. This goal has four elements:

  • First, educated people recognize the value of formal and informal education and the danger of ignorance; they see learning as a lifelong process; they have both breadth and depth of factual knowledge; they have an understanding of human development; they have an understanding of the fundamentals of mathematics and a broad view of what science is, what it has achieved, and what it might continue to achieve; they have an historical perspective on their own time and an understanding of other civilizations and cultures from these and former times; they are politically literate.

  • Second, they are problem solvers and apply critical thinking skills. They can make sense out of complexity, make decisions, and facilitate change.

  • Third, they have technological and informational competence; they can read with comprehension and express themselves clearly both in speech and in writing.

  • Fourth, they are compassionate, responsible, inquisitive, flexible, patient, and self-confident. They understand and respect the diversity of the human experience, and are committed to equity and excellence.