FLE Students

COLUMBUS, Miss.-- Empowerment is a critical concept to Dr. Cecilia Brooks.

As a visiting assistant professor in family science at Mississippi University for Women, Brooks’ goal is to help her students apply their research to address the needs of families in their communities. Her hope is that future family life educators from The W will show families how to apply that knowledge to minimize problems.

On Wednesday, March 30, Brooks and the students in her FSC 465 Program Planning and Evaluation class worked to empower another generation of students. For the first time in recent memory, The W provided family life educators to students at New Hope High School. The program was designed to give the high school students a basic understanding of the post-secondary education or training options available to them and how a desired lifestyle and expected wages can influence career choices.

“We tailored the program’s learning experiences so they could resonate with their students,” said Brooks, who thanked New Hope High School Principal Matt Smith for allowing her and her students to come to the school for the hour-long session that was followed by a breakout session. “Our goal is to give students some tools they can use for career and education exploration with their families. We want students to know that while our program facilitators are all students at The W today, they all didn’t follow the same path to get to this point in their academic career.”

FSC 465 prepares students to design, implement and evaluate family life education programming for adult (or near-adult) learners. Students typically spend the term developing, implementing and evaluating a program they present to a real audience. This term, The W students are working to help New Hope High School students understand the importance of furthering their education and training after high school.

Dr. Dorothy Berglund, a professor of family science and the chair of the Department of Psychology and Family Science, said FSC 465 is the first class in which students are introduced to the entire logic model for programming, from coming up with the idea, to conducting a needs assessment, program design, implementation and evaluation. She said The W students will get valuable experience in program planning and evaluation that they will be able to take into their internships and to future employment.

“In a recent survey of intern supervisors and hiring managers, one of the strengths our graduates bring to the workplace is they can develop programming for fellow employees and clients with research-based and evidence-informed practices,” Berglund said. “We have always had this component for the 465 class, but we usually focus on our campus. This is the first time since I have been here that the class is providing family life education to an external group. The high school students will benefit because their next phase of life is figuring out what to do after high school; this program will help them with those plans and with a direction for that next step.”

Approved since 2004 by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), Brooks said The W’s Family Science coursework provides students with opportunities to obtain knowledge and develop skills needed for provisional Certified Family Life Education (CFLE) status. Family life education focuses on healthy family functioning, so students seek to prevent serious family problems before they start by helping families across their lifespan develop skills known to promote healthy family functioning.

Brooks said there are a number of great career opportunities for family science graduates that involve direct and indirect contact with families.

“Graduates can find opportunities in family services, social services, education, faith-based organizations, family interventions, government and public policy, health care and wellness, research and communication and writing through curriculum and resource development in family life education and human resources,” Brooks said.


April 11, 2022
Contact: Adam Minichino
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