5 questions for ... Karen Eskow
Photo by Desirée Meyers
Family studies is one of TU's 'hot' majors
by Jan Lucas
The numbers tell the tale:
In 2001 the university enrolled 25 family studies majors. That number now stands at 250. Karen Eskow, chairperson of the Department of Family Studies and Community Development, explains why this relatively new program is attracting so many students.
How did family studies evolve into a major?
It began as a work group comprising university faculty from multiple disciplines representing several TU colleges. The group drafted the curriculum and subsequently submitted it to MHEC. The faculty representaives were from health, education, psychology, sociology and anthropology, occupational therapy, gerontology, nursing, women's studies, communication studies, and history. The group worked together for several years, moving from a work group to a steering committee in 1999.
What is family studies, exactly?
Family studies draws on many disciplines to focus on the study and application of individual and family development across the lifespan, with an additional emphasis on human service education. Students may choose from tracks in family and human services, services to children, child life, and leadership in the nonprofit sector. The department also offers an M.S. degree in human resource development and a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in family-professional collaboration through the College of Graduate Studies and Research.
And the faculty is multidisciplinary as well?
Family studies is a discipline comprising multiple disciplines, including social work, education, psychology, sociology, anthropology, the health professions and many others. Our faculty members represent a variety of disciplines—all important to our goal of providing students with quality academic and internship experiences.
Where do family studies majors work after graduation?
Actually, some of them end up employed at the agencies where they interned as undergraduates. Internship placements have included Franklin Square Hospital, the Children’s Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Columbia Addiction Center, Grant-a-Wish Foundation, the Maryland Department of Social Services, and Adoptions Together, to name a few. Alumni may also go on to graduate programs in social work, counseling, education and other fields.
What accounts for the popularity?
Our mission is built around service learning and professional preparation—developing the kinds of skills that agencies need—so our graduates know they’re in demand. Students particularly like the program’s applied components as well as the rigorous upper-level courses. And the services to children track is a good choice for students wanting to double major. I think the enrollment increases are attributable to word of mouth from current students and alumni.
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