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School of Family Studies and Human Services

Youth Development Schedule of Courses

Each course is listed corresponding to the initial offering of the class. The graduate program consists of 36 credit hours, including 10 required courses equaling 28 credit hours and a masters report totaling 8 hours. The courses will be offered on a rotating basis, with all courses offered at least once every other year (i.e., Fall, Spring, and Summer).

Fall

  • FSHS 711: Foundations of Youth Development, 1 cr. - At time of admission to the program
  • FSHS 712: Community Youth Development, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 713: Adolescents and Their Families, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 717: Youth Policy, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 718: Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research, 3 cr.

Spring

  • FSHS 711: Foundations of Youth Development, 1 cr. - At time of admission to the program
  • FSHS 714: Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 719: Administration and Program Management, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 722: Youth in Cultural Contexts, 3 cr.

Summer

  • FSHS 716: Topics in Contemporary Youth Issues, 3 cr.
  • FSHS 720: Youth Development, 3 cr.

Course Descriptions and Teaching University

Foundations of Youth Development, 1 cr. (FSHS 711)

This course will examine the fundamentals of youth development and the youth development profession. Through this introduction to the field, students will explore the ethical, professional, and historical elements of youth development as it has evolved toward professionalization. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand the history of the youth development field and profession;
  • Understand ethical issues of working with youth and youth development organizations;
  • Understand, apply, and advocate ethical standards for the profession;
  • Understand the role of the professional in the youth development field including professional organizations, advocacy for the field, and continuing education; and
  • Be able to facilitate a network of youth professionals through which promising practices can be developed, disseminated, and critiqued.
Community Youth Development, 3 cr. (FSHS 712)

Taught by Joanne Keith, Ph.D., Michigan State University

This course focuses on the national emphasis of a strength-based or asset approach to community youth development, encompassing individual development (i.e., positive youth development) and adolescent interrelationships with environments. Emphasis is placed upon research, theory, and practice applied in communities throughout the U.S. Students will explore existing models, read theoretical and applied literature, and examine current community efforts as a basis for understanding community youth development. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand current theories of social change and community models focused on positive youth development;
  • Understand individual development of adolescents from positive youth development frameworks;
  • Be able to analyze the interrelationships of community sectors with positive youth development outcomes (family, schools, peers, faith-based institutions, youth-serving organizations, etc.);
  • Be able to analyze and evaluate existing models, theoretical and applied literature, and current community efforts related to community youth development; and
  • Demonstrate ability to identify and apply community youth development concepts taught in the course.
Adolescents and Their Families, 3 cr. (FSHS 713)

Taught by Mona Schatz, Ph.D., Colorado State or Elaine Johannes, Ph.D., Kansas State

This course will cover adolescent development as it is related to and intertwined with family development; reciprocal influences between adolescents and their families are examined. Working with youth vis à vis the family system will be highlighted. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Have the ability to conceptualize youth development from a systemic perspective;
  • Be aware of various family dynamics that influence youth development;
  • Understand adolescent and family development issues;
  • Be able to assess family functioning;
  • Approach families from a strength-based perspective;
  • Be able to develop and implement strategies for including families in their work with youth;
  • Be aware of and have respect for diverse family structures; and
  • Recognize the influences of culture and ethnicity on family dynamics.
Program Design, Evaluation, and Implementation, 3 cr. (FSHS 714)

Taught alternately by Colorado State or University of Nebraska

This course will discuss the theoretical, methodological, and pragmatic issues involved in conducting programs and scholarship. Included in the course is an overview of the program development process and outcome evaluation of community children and family programs. Modes of outcome scholarship and their implications for community-based programs are discussed. Students will develop knowledge through participating in a community-based project involving the practical application of program design and evaluation methods. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand the underlying theory and methods in program design and evaluation of programs;
  • Have developed skills necessary for program development and applied evaluation of community-based programs;
  • Have a cultural awareness and understanding of relevant issues in program design, implementation and evaluation;
  • Have experiences in needs assessment, program critics, risk management and ethical dimensions of program design and evaluation;
  • Be able to select and apply appropriate methods of data analysis (qualitative and quantitative) for program reporting;
  • Be able to interpret evaluation findings to inform program design, practice and overall worth of the program; and
  • Have created a project that demonstrates integration of principles and methods of program design, implementation and program evaluation.
Topics in Contemporary Youth Issues/Life Skills, 3 cr.

Course alternates institutions each summer

This course will present three strands: issues faced by youth today and associated risk and resiliency factors; life skills for youth; and helping skills necessary for youth professionals who work with young people. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand the many challenges faced by youth today through an ecological view of youth issues;
  • Have explored and designed various life skills programs that help youth address the both risk and resiliency factors;
  • Understand a comprehensive prevention and early intervention framework that serves to guide life skills program development;
  • Be aware of the environmental, sociological, and cultural influences of adolescent values and cultural norms;
  • Have acquired the interpersonal and group dynamics skills necessary to work effectively with youth;
  • Understand various critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making models that can be utilized in working with youth;
  • Be able to identify, intervene, and refer youth at high risk of mental illness, suicide, abuse and neglect, or injury to self or others; and
  • Understand motivation and goals of adolescent behavior.
Youth Policy, 3 cr. (FSHS 717)

Taught by Francisco Villarruel, Ph.D., Michigan State

This course examines various federal and state policies designed specifically for youth. Students will examine how and why policies for youth are constructed. A guiding question that will be used to evaluate existing state and national policies is whether they contribute to, or act as, barriers to desired developmental outcomes. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand how policies are developed at the local, regional, state, federal, and global levels;
  • Understand how policies are advanced through local, regional, state, federal, and global levels;
  • Be able to strengthen the capacity of youth professionals to critique current and prospective policies with respect to their ability to impede and/or bolster positive youth development outcomes;
  • Be able to draft policies in response to contemporary issues that may impede or bolster positive youth development outcomes;
  • Be able to strengthen the capacity and skills of youth professionals to engage youth in drafting and responding to policies that impact their life chances; and
  • Be able to strengthen the capacity of youth professionals to advocate for and against youth policies in collaboration with civic officials and professional and not-for-profit advocacy/lobbying groups.
Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research, 3 cr. (FSHS 718)

Taught by Douglas Abbott, Ph.D. University of Nebraska

This course will help youth development professionals understand and evaluate research reports to reduce anxiety about applying research results and theories to practice. Specific emphasis will be on research and theory reports related to youth development. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand fundamental quantitative and qualitative research principles that guide disciplined inquiry (e.g., design, sampling, analysis and interpretation of results);
  • Be able to describe the elements of a well-designed research project;
  • Demonstrate an ability to understand all parts of a research report;
  • Demonstrate an ability to evaluate the quality of research based on written reports or articles;
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply research findings to practice;
  • Be able to make research findings useful for community stakeholders; and Understand how theory is created and tested with research and how theory may be useful in practice.
Administration and Program Management, 3 cr., (FSHS 719)

Taught by Elaine Johannes, Ph.D., Kansas State

This course will introduce students to the development, administration and management of youth-serving organizations. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Understand and be able to apply techniques in recruiting, supporting, and/or supervising committee and board members;
  • Be able to plan, conduct, and evaluate fund raising efforts;
  • Be able to develop grant proposals;
  • Be able to create services that effectively respond to diversity in the community;
  • Demonstrate an ability to develop a program budget and read and integrate financial statements;
  • Understand policies and procedures to follow in crisis incidents;
  • Be able to minimize personal and organizational liability and vulnerability; and
  • Understand and apply the importance of maintaining management information systems.
Youth in Cultural Contexts, 3 cr. (FSHS 722)

Taught by Francisco Villarruel, Ph.D., Michigan State

This course will examine the cultural context factors that affect youth from a holistic perspective within and outside the family unit. The course will provide an understanding of the cultural heritage of differing family structures and types. Students will explore the social and educational processes experienced by youth through in-depth reading, writing, discussion, critical listening, viewing of contemporary videos, and informal interviews with youth. Students will be encouraged to think critically about society and culture, gain further knowledge of how ethnic groups fit historically into society, and examine the results of how history has shaped the current cultural climate of the U.S. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Be critical thinkers able to generate solutions to problems they may face as future youth professionals from a theoretically, historically, and ecologically sound base;
  • Participate in open discourse and dialogue with one another to share experiences, dismantle stereotypes, and bridge gaps;
  • Have enhanced cultural sensitivity;
  • Understand how a group's history can influence its present and future; and
  • Be able to appreciate some of the developmental expectations, challenges, and practices adopted by different cultures for the socialization of youth.
Youth Development, 3 cr. (FSHS 720)

Taught by Rich Bischoff, Ph.D., and Rochelle Dalla, Ph.D., University of Nebraska

This course will introduce students to the developmental period of adolescence. The theory and research of positive youth development will be the lens through which this developmental period is examined. The course will emphasize how the developmental tasks of this life stage are influenced by (and influence) family and home, school, peers, and other contextual forces. The course will help students recognize and become familiar with the major issues and transitions adolescents face as they successfully navigate this developmental stage by critically examining the theoretical and research literature. Upon completion of the course, students will:

  • Be able to conceptualize developmental tasks and issues common to adolescence from a positive youth development perspective;
  • Be familiar with the different skills and issues involving adolescence including: developing autonomy, acquiring interpersonal skills, becoming physically and sexually mature, developing skills needed for adult roles, resolving identity issues, and problems facing adolescents;
  • Know how development during adolescence is influenced by (and influences) the many systems in which adolescents function including: home and family, school, work, peer networks, and community.