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How Do People Thrive?

The School of Education unveils its first-ever undergraduate major. 

Four School of Education faculty members who will be instructors for the new Human Development major: left to right, Kimberly Colvin, Gabriel Schlomer, Erin Baker and Mariola Moeyaert. (Photo by Beth Skrobela)

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 6, 2016) — When a school with a 54-year history of nationally ranked graduate education creates its very first undergraduate major, it’s not surprising that it gets down to basics. For the School of Education (SOE), that translates into a program that will explore the very nature of human development, learning, and well-being across the lifespan.

The Bachelor of Science in Human Development within the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology focuses on the common themes and rich diversity that define human growth, social and cultural contexts, and how individuals, families and communities interact within them. Students also will study issues of equity and social justice as they impact human development.

SOE’s human development major will uniquely embrace the breadth and depth of SOE’s fields of study in psychology, mental health, measurement, assessment, and research methodology, and reach out to UAlbany strengths in social welfare, business, sociology, biology, and psychology. The courses will include supervised, community-based practicum experiences in various settings, stress self-directed learning, and provide team-based learning opportunities emphasizing effective collaboration skills.

“In a high-technology society such as ours, it’s even more essential to remember what it means to be human, in human institutions, and how we change over time,” said School of Education Dean Robert Bangert-Drowns. “We are dedicated to enhancing learning and well-being in an inclusive society that promotes human potential across the lifespan.”

The human development major is particularly designed as preparation for any of the human service professions — education, law, health, social work, human services policy, child care, mental health and counseling, and criminal justice. It can be combined with other majors or minors to prepare for work in other professions.

Within the major, students can declare a concentration in one of four areas: counseling psychology, educational psychology, peer assistance and leadership, or special education.

Department Chair Kevin Quinn said, “Our faculty members are very excited about the new major. We’re confident that we have a great deal to offer these students, and equally sure they will become valued contributors to the vibrant academic life of the department.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.