The Department of Family Studies will merge with the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at the beginning of the fall 2012 semester.
Dr. Jaime Goff, MFT chair, said the merger will move the two full-time and one part-time faculty members of the Family Studies program into the MFT department. The department will be renamed to reflect both disciplines, but a name has not yet been decided on.
“I’ve been meeting with the chair of the Department of Family Studies and we all know each other fairly well,” Goff said. “We have enjoyed working with them, so I think it will be a fairly smooth transition.”
Goff said that there should not be considerable changes for the students in the departments.
“All the classes required for the students’ degree program are currently offered,” Goff said. “Probably the place where most of the changes will be felt are in administration.”
Dr. Greg Straughn, interim provost, said the departments are merging as a part of the academic budget savings and to capitalize on the similarities of the courses that both areas have in common.
“Both undergraduate and graduate faculty have some credentials in common,” Straughn said. “So savings can be realized in both the frequency of classes offered as well as minimizing the use of adjunct faculty to teach classes.”
Currently, the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy provides training to graduate students who want to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists or Licensed Professional Counselor, said Dr. Jaime Goff, chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy. The undergraduate Family Studies program educates students going into careers such as Certified Family Life Educators, child life specialists, and many more.
“The departments currently have a different focus and emphasis,” Goff said. “Marriage and Family Therapy trains people who are going to be therapists and focuses on intervention, and Family Studies is more for individuals who go into those careers on the prevention end of it. They are interacting with families before there are problems and setting up education programs and such to help people.”
Goff said, since some courses have similar content with the Department of Bible, Missions and Ministry, they may partner with that department for some overlap in classes.
“By having Family Studies and Marriage and Family Therapy reside in the same department, we can better connect undergraduate students with the graduate program and the professional opportunities that masters-level preparation for licensure provides them,” Straughn said.
The new department will work with the CBS Academic Council and other university councils to develop an appropriate structure for the classes, curricula and to determine the graduation requirements for the students in the program, Straughn said.
“There are a lot of things I think will be positive about this,” Goff said. “It is an opportunity for family studies majors to interact with marriage and family therapy students and it also may open up internships we haven’t had before. So, overall, I think it’s going to be a great transition.”