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CALS department has new name, focus

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has announced that the Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences has a new name: the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences.

The new more descriptive name reflects a continued commitment to youth, families, and communities in North Carolina and beyond. The 4-H youth development and family and consumer sciences programs conducted through N.C. Cooperative Extension are now being directed through a separate unit that is not part of the new academic department.

“N.C. Cooperative Extension is undergoing broad changes. This creates a unique opportunity for our faculty to redefine our role as specialists. We continue to develop alternate delivery strategies to address the needs of youth, families and communities in North Carolina,” said Dr. Carolyn Dunn, department head.

“The department will continue to have an extension and engagement focus, supporting and training 4-H and family and consumer sciences field faculty, as we have in the past,” Dunn added. “We also will continue our efforts in the area of research, and we will grow our new online master’s program in the area of family life and youth development.”

This year, department faculty secured more than $5 million in funding for 2013 and more than $18 million in multi-year commitments. In addition, faculty members contribute to the scholarship of youth, families and communities through numerous papers published in the peer-reviewed literature, presentations at national meetings, and invited presentations across the country and around the world.

The department’s recent annual report outlines some milestones and accomplishments including:

  • The Family Life and Youth Development graduate program continues to grow. In addition, the department offers seven graduate certificate programs related to youth and families. Dr. Dara Bloom recently served as co-instructor in a graduate-level course related to local foods, a course is designed specifically for N.C. Cooperative Extension agents.
  • SNAP-ED education programs help those receiving supplemental nutrition assistance to get the best nutritional value for their food dollars. Better Food, Better Health, developed by faculty in the department of youth, family, and community sciences helps Latino/Hispanic adults and families understand the need for good nutrition and physical activity. Steps to Health inspires limited-resource citizens to eat smart and move more.
  • The Juntos program (Together for a Better Education) reaches out to Latino youth to help them achieve academic success in high school and beyond.
  • Voices into Action, a partnership program between the Sociology and Anthropology Department and the Family, Youth, and Community Sciences Department, supports community-based projects to ensure food access and physical activity. The program conducts research to better understand what families eat, structural and social issues that impact consumption and the barriers related to food access or physical activity.
  • In addition, the department is engaged in programs that support family caregivers, food safety education; Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less and other nutrition efforts; energy conservation, 4-H Club development and youth internships.

To learn more about the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences, visit the website: