History & Mission

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Weber State University is to utilize contemporary educational practices to prepare students to become Early Childhood and Family Life Educators who respect diversity, use culturally competent practices, and apply their knowledge to create environments that enhance the lives healthy development of adults, children, and families over the lifespan.

Key Historical Points

The end of World War II brought many changes to all university/college campuses across the United States. Financial benefits for continued education were provided to all veterans by the U.S. Congress. The student body at Weber College changed with an influx of mature men and women returning from the armed services and defense industries. These were serious students who were eager to work toward their greatest self-realization in the shortest possible time; they set standards far above those expected by the typical students who had just graduated from high school.


    * Melba Judge Lehner became a full time faculty member and department head (1950).
    * A nursery school was established on campus, designated as a Child Development – Parent Education
       laboratory (1950-1951). Two groups of children were enrolled -- 25 three-year-olds came in the morning,
       and 25 four-year-olds in the afternoon.
    * In co-partnership with the Utah State Department of Education and Ogden City Schools, the Family Life
       Institute started with a two-day conference addressing current issues facing families.


    * Weber College moved to its new campus.
    * The Tri Vista Club was renamed the Home Economics Club.


    * The department was renamed the Department of Home and Family Living.


    * The 1959 legislature authorized Weber College to extend its instructional program to four years. The junior
       year of this work was to begin with the year 1962-63 and the senior year in 1963-64. Students entering as
       freshmen in 1960-61 would be able to remain four years and receive bachelor's degrees.


    * The Family Life four-year program was approved in 1966-67.
    * The first baccalaureate degree was given to department in 1968.
    * The Department was housed in the Division of Life Science until 1966-1967 and transferred to the School of
       Education in 1967-68.
    * The department name changed to Family Life Department.
    * The Early Childhood Education program was instituted in collaboration with the Department of Teacher
        Education (1971).


    * The first campus day-care center started.
    * The college moved into new education building.


    * The department name was changed to Department of Child and Family Studies.


    * The department was awarded the contract to train teachers for the Indian Head Start CDA program in the
    * Training teachers for the Tri-state Indian Program (10 reservations with a 3,000 to 4,000 mile radius)
       garners the department international recognition.


    * Books Profile of Three Theories, a compilation of the theories of Erikson, Maslow, and Piaget and The Self
       World Understanding Observation and Analysis Manual were published by Kendall Hunt.
    * Families Alive Conference began in 1984.


    * The Family Education Center was approved by the Board of Regents.


    * The department mission statement was created along with a detailed 5-year plan.
    * The outcomes assessment program began.
    * The Early Childhood/Early Childhood Education curriculum was aligned with NAEYC
    * The TEACH program for Emotionally Disturbed and/or Behaviorally Disordered
       preschoolers was integrated into the Children’s School.
    * The WSU-Standard Examiner Family Literacy Project was started with an endowment from the Glasman


    * Families Alive Featured Maya Angelou.
    * Families Alive Featured Henry Winkler.
    * The Family Studies faculty worked with NCFR to develop and expand the standards for the Certified Family
       Life Educator.
    * Collaboration Between the Melba S. Lehner Children’s School and Head Start was established.
    * The Regional Child Care Resource and Referral Center was housed in the department.

Updated 1-09-2012

Weber State UniversityOgden, Utah 84408

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