In the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, I will teach courses in Policy, Health Inequalities, Epidemiology, and Statistical Methods.

Fall 2019: Social Epidemiology (HDFS 527)

The course will provide an introduction to epidemiological methods and their applications to issues in the social and behavioral sciences. In particular, the ways an epidemiological approach provides a firm base for prevention and intervention efforts directed at social problems will be stressed. Through the course it will be seen that epidemiological statistics offer easily calculated readily interpretable non-parametric alternatives o regression based procedures that are particularly valuable for social policy and public health decision making. Students will learn the calculation and interpretation of the odds ratio, the rate ratio, and the population attributable fraction as well as other widely used epidemiological measures of effect. Issues in the under utilization of the methodology in the social sciences as well as strengths and limitations inherent in methodology will be addressed. Specific examples will be provided.

Spring 2019: Family Policy (HDFS 440)

This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. This course is designed to provide an in-depth examination of family policy. Students will identify and critically analyze major issues, controversies, and policies that affect families. Attention will be devoted to recognizing both intended and unintended consequences of family policies and understanding policy challenges and trade-offs. Students will gain an understanding of how policies are shaped by both facts and myths, as well as our values. Students will examine historical and current trends in family patterns (e.g., divorce, women’s labor force participation, nonmarital births) to understand the implications they hold for individuals, families and society. Students will gain an awareness of the social, economic, historical, legal, and political contexts within which family policies exist and are proposed. Although the main focus is on U.S. family policy, some time will be devoted to learning about family policies in other countries. We will learn about several specific family policies in-depth (e.g., welfare), but a final goal is to help students develop a general way of looking at family policy that they can then use to understand any issue of family policy that unfolds throughout their lifetime. This course will foster thoughtful reflection and critical thinking, writing skills, research skills, and skills of synthesis, logic, and argument. Course goals will be accomplished through course readings, writing assignments, lectures, class discussions, debates and group projects. Mastery of course material and student evaluation are assessed in several ways. Students will take a midterm and final exam that cover lectures, class discussions, and assigned readings. Two papers are also required. The first paper is based on an analysis of newspaper articles dealing with family policy issues that students will collect and relate to course materials. The second paper is a literature-based analysis of a family policy in a society outside the United States. Class participation is also essential and its evaluation will be based on a combination of class attendance, contributions to class discussions, participation in group debates and projects, and an oral presentation of the final paper on a non-U.S. family policy.

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