NCFR Recognizes Victor Harris for Excellence in Teaching

Victor Harris

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is proud to recognize Victor W. Harris, Ph.D., CFLE, as the 2019 recipient of the Ernest G. Osborne Award, which is given to an NCFR member who has excelled in teaching Family Science and providing service to families through teaching.

Dr. Harris is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. He earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in family, consumer, and human development from Utah State University. Dr. Harris has been teaching courses in family relationships since 2001, and before that he taught in secondary education. He is a recipient of multiple awards for excellence in teaching, including the University of Florida Teacher of the Year in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

The majority of Dr. Harris’ academic work focuses on teaching family relationships or instructing others how to teach family relationships. He is the author or co-author of 81 publications (35 refereed) and more than 275 creative works. Family Life Education programs he has authored or co-authored have won multiple state, regional, and national awards. In his teaching role, Dr. Harris has directed multiple travel study groups to Europe and delights in sharing with his students how people in different cultures form and maintain close relationships.

Since 2015, Dr. Harris has led the dissemination of three research-based courses through his SMART Couples program throughout the state of Florida, funded by a 5.7 million-dollar Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood grant. The courses “Elevate” and “Before You Tie the Knot” teach relationship skills to adult couples, while “Relationship Smarts Plus 3.0” is designed for teens. In 2017-2018, 88% of those who participated in these courses reported increased relationship satisfaction and attributed the difference to what they learned in class.

Dr. Harris’ students and colleagues all praise his empathy, caring, and investment in holistic student growth and development. One student commented in a letter of support, “Dr. Harris’s concern for his students’ well-being and genuine interest in our lives is unparalleled. He has always been willing to make himself available to offer a nonjudgmental ear. Dr. Harris deserves all the recognition in the world because he is truly a gem.”

Dr. Harris will be recognized for his achievement at the 2019 NCFR Annual Conference, Nov. 20-23 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ernest G. Osborne, the namesake of this award, was a three-time NCFR president and a professor of family at Columbia University. He excelled at innovative teaching methods.


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at