History & Mission

Mission Statement

The mission of the Department of Child and Family Studies at Weber State University is to utilize contemporary educational practices to prepare students to become Early Childhood and Family Life Educators who respect diversity, use culturally competent practices, and apply their knowledge to create environments that enhance the lives healthy development of adults, children, and families over the lifespan.

Current Activities and Initiatives

The Faculty, Staff, and Students in the Department of Child and Family Studies are actively involved in many scholarly and community activities. The curriculum in the Early Childhood/Early Childhood Education Program follows the standards outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The curriculum for the Family Studies program is approved by the National Council on Family Relations and follows the Certified Family Life Educator guidelines. The Department also operates the Melba S. Lehner Children’s School and the Care About Childcare program. The Children's School is an excellent Lab School setting for university students and faculty to develop expertise in teaching and guiding young children. The Lab School also serves as a setting for faculty and students to conduct original research. The Care About Childcare program is sponsored through the Utah State Office of Childcare and offers support for families and childcare providers in the Northern Utah area. Please see the following link for more information: "http://programs.weber.edu/ccrr/
Several faculty and students are actively engaged in scholarly activities and regularly publish original research in research journals. Several faculty and students present research at national and international academic conferences and have won several awards.

Faculty and students are also highly involved with the community and engage in outreach activities. For example, the department operates the Family Literacy Program, the Healthy Relationship and Marriage Project, an innovative program to mentor and train family life educators, and sponsors the Families Alive Conference every 2 or 3 years. The Child and Family Studies Student organization is very active on campus and in our community and provides hundreds of hours of service to our community.

Historical Overview of the Department of Child and Family Studies

The end of World War II brought many changes to all university/college campuses across the United States. Students at Weber State College tended to be mature men and women returning from service in the military. These were serious students who were highly motivated; they set standards far above those expected by the typical students who had just graduated from high school.


  • * Melba S. Lehner became a full time faculty member and department head (1950).
  • * A nursery school was established on campus, designated as a Child Development – Parent Education laboratory (1950-1951).
  • * In partnership with the Utah State Department of Education and Ogden City Schools, the Family Life Institute started with a two-day conference addressing current issues facing families.


  • * Weber College moved to its new campus.
  • * The Tri Vista Club was renamed the Home Economics Club.


  • * The department was renamed the Department of Home and Family Living.


  • * The 1959 legislature authorized Weber College to extend its instructional program to four years. The junior year of coursework was offered in 1962-63 and the senior year in 1963-64.


  • * The Family Life four-year program was approved in 1966-67.
  • * The first baccalaureate degree was awarded by the department in 1968.
  • * The Department was housed in the Division of Life Science until 1966-1967 and transferred to the School of Education in 1967-68.
  • * The department name changed to Family Life Department.
  • * The Early Childhood Education program was instituted in collaboration with the Department of Teacher Education (1971).


  • * The first campus child care center opened.
  • * The college moved into new education building


  • * The department name was changed to Department of Child and Family Studies.


  • * The department was awarded the contract to train teachers for the Indian Head Start CDA program in the state.
  • * Training teachers for the Tri-state Indian Program (10 reservations with a 3,000 to 4,000 mile radius) garners the department international recognition.


  • * Families Alive Conference began in 1984.


  • * The Family Education Center was approved by the Board of Regents.


  • * The department mission statement was created along with a detailed 5-year plan.
  • * The Early Childhood/Early Childhood Education curriculum was aligned with NAEYC Guidelines
  • * The TEACH program for Emotionally Disturbed and/or Behaviorally Disordered preschoolers was integrated into the Children's School.

Updated 07-30-2014