From the HDFS Chair

It is an honor to write for this edition of HDFS news which includes exciting highlights from 2022. At the end of this year, I will have completed 3.5 years of my 5-year term as HDFS chair. It has been an eventful year highlighted by the outstanding accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students.

As you can imagine, members of the HDFS department have had a challenging few years to deal with in both our work and personal lives. The onset of the COVID global pandemic in early 2020 changed many aspects of our work. Our teaching moved to remote instruction, and then back to in-person. The pandemic wreaked havoc with our research, getting in the way of data collection, and this was especially difficult given that our research involves children and families, and data collection often requires observation and in-person assessments. Therapists working in the Couple and Family Therapy Clinic rapidly transitioned to telehealth practices and then back to in person. The teachers in the Child Development Laboratories worked tirelessly through the pandemic, dealing with masking of children, frequent classroom closures due to COVID outbreaks, and ongoing teacher shortages, a common occurrence in early childhood education settings post COVID. All of these COVID related changes and transitions were stressful to deal with and I am pleased to say we have learned and grown a lot, and perhaps are even stronger and more versatile than we were before.

In spite of these ongoing challenges, our Department has continued to thrive and grow in numerous important ways; many of these highlights are featured in this newsletter. We added two wonderful faculty members in the tenure system – Dr. Linda Halgunseth and Dr. Lekie Dwanyen. HDFS faculty and students published over 150 peer-reviewed manuscripts over the last two years, several books, and garnered millions of dollars in grants from prestigious funding sources such as the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Education Sciences. Faculty have served as editors of journals and of special issues of journals, shaping the field in groundbreaking ways. Our students and graduates continue to engage in meaningful work during their studies and go on to do great things post-graduation. Our department is truly a vibrant community of scholars who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children, families, and communities.

I wish all our readers a fantastic holiday season and a 2023 filled with good health and love. If you are looking for a way to give back to the department, we are raising funds for a renovation of Suite 103, one of the last spaces in the Human Ecology building that needs an update. Finally, please stay up to date with the many activities of the department by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Go Green! Go HDFS!!


Adrian Blow
Professor and Chair
Human Development and Family Studies