Human Development and Family Studies

UNCG’s Birth through Kindergarten Interdisciplinary Studies in Education & Development (BKISED) Masters program ranked second in the country!

UNCG’s BKISED program is ranked second in the country among on-line Masters of Education in Early Childhood Education programs. The ranking, conducted by The Best Schools, is based on academic excellence, classes available in the program, the strength of the faculty, consideration of other program rankings, and indicators of the program’s reputation.

Further information about what makes our program among the best in the country.

Dr. Marion O'Brien, Retired HDFS Faculty Member, Passed Away December 21, 2015

Dr. Marion O’Brien, MA, PhD, of Jamestown, NC, Professor Emerita at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, died peacefully on the evening of December 21, 2015. Diagnosed with cancer in June 2015, she remained active and engaged with friends and family until the last week of her life.

She is survived by three children, son Connor O’Brien of Emeryville, CA and daughters Shay O’Brien of Alameda, CA and Lia O’Brien of Greensboro, NC, their spouses, two grandchildren, Rowan O’Brien and Finian Gibbs, and cousin Judy Bley, of San Francisco. She was preceded in death by her parents and brother Albert Meier, all of Philadelphia, and by her husband of 45 years, Dr. W. John O’Brien.

Born on February 4, 1943 to Ferdinand and Eleanor Meier of Philadelphia, PA, she was married to the late W. John O’Brien in 1964. She graduated BA from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA in 1964, and went on to receive her MA and PhD at the University of Kansas, where she enjoyed a distinguished career as an Assistant to Full Professor in the department of Human Development and Family Life. During her 16 years as faculty at KU, she directed a number of significant research programs studying cognitive and social development in young children. At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she went on to serve as a Professor and Mentor Faculty in the Human Development and Family Studies Department from 2001 to 2012 and Associate Dean of Research in the School of Health and Human Services from 2007 to 2011. During her academic career, she served on several editorial boards for prominent journals in the field of child development and was nationally prominent as a researcher and policy advocate. She was a mentor to many students and junior faculty during her career. Throughout her life and especially so following her retirement, she was an avid traveller who had been on every continent except Antarctica. A loving wife, mother and grandmother, beloved as a wise and compassionate person, she maintained throughout her life the curiosity and humane spirit for which she will be fondly rememberd by all who knew her.

The family will receive well-wishers at 4:00 PM, Saturday January 9, 2016 in the Virginia Dare room of the Alumni House on the UNCG campus, with a memorial service to follow.In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation.

Sudha Shreeniwas Receives Grant to Study the Impact of Art on Aging Adults with Cognitive Impairment

Dr. Sudha Shreeniwas received $20,000 to support an evaluation of the effect of a participatory, structured visual arts program on the neuropsychiatric symptoms of older adults with cognitive impairment. The program, ARTmail, involves participants who collaborate in creating visual art works in the abstract expressionist style during an eight-week period with the help of trained volunteers. At pre- and post-intervention, caregivers for ARTmail participants, as well as caregivers for a waitlist control group, will complete surveys assessing the patients' levels of apathy, agitation, and depressive symptoms.

This is a community engaged project that partners UNCG HDFS with the Creative Aging Network NC (a community organization that provides arts programming for adults: Executive Director is Lia Miller). It was awarded to Dr. Sudha's and Lia Miller's partnership last Spring through a competitive application process.


Cover of The Handbook of Infant Biopsychosocial Development edited by Susan D. Calkins

Susan Calkins Edits the New Handbook of Infant Biopsychosocial Development

How does an immature, disorganized, and dependent creature like an infant evolve into a walking, talking, and socially capable person in the span of two short years? This question is a puzzle that has long intrigued scientists, educators, and parents. Do innate biological processes and their maturation largely drive the process or is the infant’s development a consequence of parenting and the environment provided by parents? In this book, Dr. Calkins brings together a unique group of scientists, including HDFS faculty members Dr. Esther Leerkes and Dr. Roger Mills-Koonce, whose work addresses questions about infant development from a biopsychosocial perspective. The central theme of the book is that the child is a product of an array of biological, emotional, cognitive, and social experiences that interact in complex ways.


Cover of Journal of Social Issues co-edited by Dr. Andrea Hunter

Dr. Hunter Co-Edits the June Edition of the Journal of Social Issues

Dr. Andrea Hunter, Associate Professor in the HDFS Department has co-edited the June issue of the Journal of Social Issues entitled Psychology, History and Social Justice: The Social Past in the Personal Present. The Journal of Social Issues is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal that was established by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, an organization that seeks to apply research to address a variety of societal problems. In the June 2015 edition, Dr. Hunter (along with co-editor Dr. Abigail J. Stewart) wrote an enlightening introduction pointing to the occurence present day psychological effects of historical injustices. Additionally, Dr. Hunter co-authored two articles in this edition: one on the legacy of the Tuskegee airmen, and a second on the intersection of psychology, history, and social justice. This special issue of the Journal of Social Issues focuses on different ways that social history and psychology are always co-constructing each other and impacting us all. Focused on major events and social movements of the twentieth century, the issue highlights the relationships between social-level events and individuals’ identities and self-representations, emotional lives and well-being, approaches to social justice and collective action, motivations and accomplishments. Congratulations, Andrea!

Dr. Cassidy Elected President of NAEYC

We are proud to announce that Dr. Deborah Cassidy has been elected President of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the premier organization in the world devoted to research and practice related to early childhood. A President serves a four-year term. This is a tremendous honor and very well deserved. Her candidacy video can be seen to your left. Congratulations, Deb!

Natalie Receiving Awards

Natalie Hengstebeck Receives Fulbright, Gladys Strawn Bullard Award and RAND Summer Associate Position in the Same Week

Doctoral student Natalie Hengstebeck, M.S. had an exciting spring semester. She was awarded a competitive position as a RAND Summer Associate to work with Dr. Sarah Meadows at their Santa Monica location where she will conduct policy related research for the Deployment Life Study (a longitudinal, mixed method, multi-informant study of military families). Natalie was also recognized during UNCG’s 2015 Faculty/Staff Excellence Awards Ceremony as the student recipient of the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for outstanding leadership and service to UNCG. In this picture, she is book-ended by Interim Chancellor/Provost Dunn and Susan Safran, a member of UNCG's Board of Trustees. Finally, Natalie was awarded a Fulbright for the 2015/2016 academic year to study with Dr. Pearl Dykstra, Professor of Empirical Sociology at the Erasmus University, Rotterdam and Vice President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Natalie’s Fulbright research will examine the extent to which public childcare is associated with cross-national differences in parents’ relationship quality and personal well-being in 15 European countries.

Congratulations to Natalie and to her advisor, Dr. Heather Helms!


Return to HDFS home page