The mission of the Department of Child and Family Studies (CFS) is to foster and disseminate scientific understanding of children, families and the early education process. This mission has two fundamental areas of emphasis. The first of these – development in context – recognizes that development occurs in multiple, interconnected settings, such as the family, neighborhood, school, community, culture, and the international environment. The second area of emphasis – children and families at risk – reflects a commitment to generating informed practices that will improve the lives of those in greatest need.
The CFS faculty comes from varied educational backgrounds, including child development; clinical, counseling and developmental psychology; early childhood education; family studies; human development; and sociology. This variety of backgrounds reflects the belief that the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge should be interdisciplinary in nature and conducted with sensitivity to issues of personal, economic, cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and political diversity.
CFS prepares students for careers in both public and private domains that focus on children, families, and early learning. Students acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and professional ethics through undergraduate and graduate coursework, internship opportunities, research projects, and outreach activities.
Research and Outreach
The Department of Child and Family Studies is actively engaged in the research endeavors of multiple centers and programs on campus. Students learn basic and advanced research methods by working cooperatively with a Departmental faculty member on a current research project.
The Teacher Research and Documentation Center is a laboratory designed to educate practitioners as researchers and to develop critical thinking along with knowledge about how children learn best. The integration and implementation of research and practice in the field is the cornerstone of inquiry-oriented teacher practice. The TRDC is a place for students and teachers to utilize technology and access mentoring in order to develop research skills that inform and guide practice.
Hundreds of thousands of youth worldwide are involved in political violence, either as passive witnesses, voluntary fighters, or coerced soldiers. What are the experiences and needs of these youth? Which agencies and organizations are involved in understanding and assisting them, and how can coordination among these entities be facilitated? How can research on these youth be advanced and integrated into this joint effort to understand them and care for their needs?
The Center for Parenting (C4P) at the University of Tennessee is a collaborative effort between the Department of Child and Family Studies and UT Extension Family and Consumer Sciences, co-directed by Dr. Heidi Stolz and Dr. Denise Brandon. The mission of the C4P is to strengthen parent-child relationships by coordinating and enriching existing parent education efforts in Tennessee. C4P offers many networking and coordinating services such as the Tennessee Parent Educator (TPE) Directory, an online Class Calendar with postings of parenting/family classes, a Curriculum Database, and the C4Pnews listserv which sends out quarterly e- newsletters about research, training opportunities, and parent education developments on the state and national levels.
The Early Experiences Research Center
The Early Experiences Research Center (EERC) is a laboratory designed to examine the experiences of infants and young children in multiple and diverse contexts. Research in the EERC is conducted in contexts that represent diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds of families, as well as the multiple ways in which children are cared for in both formal (child-care, school) and informal settings. Each EERC project is tied together by the commitment to represent the contexts and needs of infants and young children in underrepresented and high-risk contexts. The EERC is co-directed by Dr. Hillary Fouts and Dr. Carin Neitzel and is located in the Child and Family Studies Department, Jesse Harris Building.
The Early Learning Center program provides full-day high quality early education programs for families of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners. The mission of the ELC is to generate knowledge and practices that improve the field of early education, committed to engaging in meaningful, interdisciplinary research that makes a difference in the lives of children and families, preparing high quality early childhood teachers, and providing exemplary early education programs.
This research project was conceptualized to focus on the processes of caregiving to frail elders by their families. Little research has been done with more than one person in a caregiving family being interviewed. The typical focus has been to look at the experience of caregiving for primary caregivers. Using the family as the unit of analysis in this project was an important and needed aspect of the study.
Brian K. Barber Professor
Priscilla Blanton Professor
Denise J. Brandon Associate Professor and Co-Director, Center for Parenting
Matthew J. Devereaux Assistant Professor
Sean Durham Clinical Assistant Professor and Executive Director, Early Learning Center
Hillary Fouts Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Early Experiences Research Center
Elizabeth Johnson Assistant Professor
Cara Moore, Assistant Professor
Mary Jane Moran Associate Professor
Carin Neitzel Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Early Experiences Research Center
Vey M. Nordquist Professor and Head
Spencer Olmstead Assistant Professor
Delores Smith Associate Professor
Heidi Stolz Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Center for Parenting
Sandra Twardosz Professor
Kathy Fitzgerald Clinical Assistant Professor and ELC Practicum Coordinator
Darlene Justice ECE Internship Coordinator
Shari LillestolenPreK-K Coordinator
James Malia Community Practicum Coordinator
Anne Miller Stott ECE Internship Coordinator
Vey M. Nordquist, Department Head
The Department of Child and Family Studies
College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
The University of Tennessee
1215 W. Cumberland Avenue
115 Jessie Harris Building
Knoxville, TN 37996-1912
Phone: (865) 974-5316