Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant

Dawn Cassidy, M.Ed., CFLE, Director of Family Life Education
/ CFLE Network, Winter 2023

NCFR is pleased to announce the establishment of the Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant.  

As an NCFR member for 49 years and a CFLE for 35, Carol has demonstrated a long commitment to teaching and research in Family Life Education and has made significant contributions to NCFR and to the CFLE program.  

Carol is a NCFR Fellow and NCFR past president; she has received multiple NCFR honors, including the Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Service to the CFLE Program, the Margaret E. Arcus Outstanding Family Life Educator Award, and the Ernest G. Osborne Award for Outstanding Leadership and Excellence in the Teaching of Family Relationships

Carol has served in numerous capacities for NCFR, and I’m pretty sure she has served on every possible CFLE committee or board. She was a member of the original Committee on Standards and Criteria for the Certification of Family Life Educators, which created the CFLE program, the CFLE Review Committee (back when the CFLE application was a portfolio review process), was an original member of the CFLE Advisory Board, served on the CFLE Academic Program Review Committee, and served on the CFLE Exam Committee. She was chair of the NCFR Education and Enrichment Section, now known as the Family and Community Education Section, and has served on other CFLE and NCFR boards and committees too numerous to mention.  

In addition to her service to NCFR, Carol has been committed to the integration of research and teaching during her career as a professor at Florida State University (FSU) and at the University of Helsinki, where she taught and did research in Family Life Education. At FSU, she established an endowment for the Anderson Darling Family Award, a yearly award given to an outstanding graduate teaching assistant. Two FSU doctoral students attending this year’s NCFR conference received travel money from the Anderson–Darling Family endowment to present their research as first author of a poster or paper.   

Her generosity and commitment go beyond FSU and extend to NCFR with the establishment of the NCFR Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant. This biannual grant will be awarded for the first time in 2024. This grant is designed to contribute creatively to the discipline of Family Science and specifically Family Life Education. Proposals should clearly state how the project bridges research and practice related to Family Life Education. The call for proposals will be intentionally broad to encourage a variety of innovative proposals that meet these objectives.  

The NCFR Darling grant can provide assistance to Family Life Educators, researchers, and programs that often lack the funds to conduct the research and evaluation needed to support and maintain their projects and services. Examples of potential projects might include the collaboration of a researcher/educator and practitioner to evaluate of the effectiveness of specific Family Life Education programming or examination of the role of culture in designing and/or implementing a program for one or more cultural groups (e.g., age, class/race/ethnicity, family structure, gender identity or sexual orientation, families with a member who is incarcerated, families with a member who is disabled, etc.). 

In addition to a personal contribution for the endowment of this research initiative grant, Carol is also contributing her portion of the royalties from the book Family Life Education: Working with Families Across the Lifespan, which is authored by Carol, Dawn Cassidy, and Sharon Ballard with PowerPoint slides by Cindy Wilson (all CFLEs).  

More information about the Carol Darling Family Life Education Research Initiative Grant will be coming soon. We thank Carol for her generosity and for her previous and continued support of the CFLE program and the practice of Family Life Education.