Named the Outstanding Academic Unit by the University of Maryland President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues in 2012, 2004, 1997, and 1992, the Department of Family Science is a campus leader in addressing issues of diversity in teaching, research, and service.

The Department is proud of the rich ethnic and gender diversity of its faculty, staff, and students. It provides a welcoming environment for students from all backgrounds, promoting learning, collaboration, and high student morale.

Selected highlights illustrating our diverse community and commitment to diversity and academic excellence are presented below.

Our Diverse Faculty

Family Science has one of the most diverse faculties on the University of Maryland campus. Of its 22 faculty members (including 5 emeritus faculty), four are African American, one is Asian, and two are Iranian. Additionally, there are several African American and Latina adjunct faculty and clinical supervisors. Fourteen faculty members are female, and eight are male.

Our Diverse Student Body

In fall 2012, 50% of our undergraduate majors are members of ethnic minority groups; 22% of our majors are African American, 12% are Hispanic, 11% are Asian American, 3% are two or more categories, less that 1% are foreign, 47% are White, and 8% are unknown.

In fall 2012, 33% of our graduate students are members of ethnic minority groups; 17% are African American, 4% are Hispanic, 2% are two or more categories, 13% are foreign, 56% are White, and 8% are unknown.

Diversity in Education

The majority of Family Science courses address diversity within their curriculum. Faculty engage students in discussing issues of gender, race/ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, age, family structure, and physical and mental ability/disability both inside and outside the classroom.

  • In 2004, Department faculty worked with the Faculty Relations Committee of the University of Maryland Diversity Initiative to train faculty and graduate students to use "intergroup dialogue" in undergraduate and graduate instruction.
  • In Winter term 2004, Family Science faculty member Dr. Jacqueline Wallen taught a new study abroad course, "Cultural Competence: A Mexican Immersion Experience." Students spent 3 weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico living with Mexican families and learning about the country's family and health services. Due to its popularity, the course was offered again in 2005 and 2006. Dr. Wallen is currently developing a cultural competency certificate program designed for human services professionals working with Spanish-speaking populations.

Diversity in Research

Family Science faculty frequently focus on diversity issues in their research. Research projects address ethnic families, at-risk families, gender issues, mental illness and families, low-income families, African American child development, interracial couples, gay and lesbian families, and other aspects of family diversity.

  • Undergraduate and graduate students are actively involved in diversity research. Recent student research projects include:
    • Parenting and children's adjustment in mainland Chinese families
    • Biracial females' reflections on racial identity development in adolescence
    • Parenting, family routines, family conflict, and maternal depression as predictors of the behavior of African American children in violent communities
    • Children of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents
    • Chronic illness and behavior problems in children.
  • With grant support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Family Science faculty and students recently evaluated the impact of the Effective Black Parenting Program on African American parents of preschoolers in Washington, D.C.
  • Through the Rural Families Speak project, a multi-state USDA study that began in 2000, Family Science students investigated the well-being of rural minority families, a greatly understudied population.
  • The Department has established a collaborative cross-cultural research program with Shanghai Second Medical University, China, examining sources of stress, conflict, communication patterns, and personal relationship standards in U.S. and mainland Chinese couples.

Diversity in Service

  • The Department co-sponsored two regional diversity conferences in 2004-05. The first, “Bridges to New Life: Addressing the Mental Health Needs of the Latino Immigrant Population” was held during Hispanic Heritage Month (October). The second, “Diversity and Family Therapy,” featured one of the nation’s leading African American family therapists, and was held during Black History Month (February). These conferences drew students, alumni, faculty, and practitioners from throughout the greater Washington area and beyond.
  • Faculty projects have provided parent education and community leadership training for Latino families in Langley Park, a community near the University of Maryland with the largest Latino population growth in the Washington, D.C. area.
  • In April 2004, Dr. Noel Myricks coordinated a campus-wide event, “The Decision: Brown v. Board of Education Revisited,” a verbatim re-enactment of the arguments before the Supreme Court (with special guest Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals).