Good News to Share From 2020

Diane L. Cushman, NCFR Executive Director
/ Winter 2020 NCFR Report

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Despite the awful year the world has experienced with the pandemic, violent storms, destructive fires, and tragic deaths of People of Color at the hands of law enforcement, I have found some solace in NCFR’s role of helping our members and the families they serve to cope with these tragedies. This year NCFR helped family scholars and professionals by temporarily opening its collection of online educational content to everyone. NCFR has found ways to be relevant and timely, such as offering free webinars on nonacademic jobs for Family Science grads and creating new resource collections on a variety of topics. Thank you to all the members who have stepped forward to contribute in so many ways.


2020 Conference Overcomes Challenges

I am relieved to report that after months of uncertainty, NCFR and the St. Louis hotel that was to host the conference have reached agreement on the contract’s impossibility clause: NCFR will not be penalized for moving its 2020 conference online and out of the hotel. Thank you to everyone for the many months of work to put together the virtual conference. We are so pleased that we were able to offer a number of innovations this year as we experimented with Whova and Zoom to reach out to well over a thousand conference attendees, many of whom took advantage of the dramatically reduced pricing and global availability to attend the conference for the first time.

In particular we want to acknowledge the wisdom and leadership of our Board of Directors for creating the first NCFR Student Access Grant. As of early October, over 200 students from historically marginalized racial or ethnic populations qualified for the grant funded by the generous donations of 30 NCFR members and counting. NCFR’s commitment to redressing systemic racism continues with board leadership and involvement by NCFR sections, focus groups, and other entities like the students and new professionals.

Through creative conference pricing and the Student Access Grant, NCFR has gained more than 300 new members who bought a membership when they registered for the conference. To these new NCFR members, we warmly welcome you to your new home of fellow family scholars and practitioners. NCFR veterans can expect to see many new members in their sections. We encourage everyone to find new ways to engage with each other and make NCFR a place where all can grow and thrive in the discipline.


Advancing Family Science Update

We continue to make progress on the Advancing Family Science (AFS) initiative, formerly the Future of Family Science project. You’ll now find a more complete description of Family Science at, including an explanation of why Family Science is considered a discipline and how NCFR supports it, which is required by the global ends of our policy governance (see below). For those interested in finding the history of Family Science and its foundational publications all in one place, we have a Family Science bibliography ( Oftentimes programs in human development and Family Science are called on to demonstrate their value in academia, so we have put together resources that prove the value of Family Science.

Many universities have recently changed the name of a program or department to include Family Science, which continues to give the discipline credibility and visibility. If your college is considering a similar name change, NCFR has fact sheets and letter templates you can bring to the attention of administrative personnel, as well as a glossary of terms you may find useful in your marketing materials.

Read NCFR's Global Ends Policy #3

Global Ends Policy #3

NCFR will represent the scholars and professionals in Family Science by establishing standards for research, education, and practice and by advocating for the development and advancement of the discipline and the professions of Family Science.

A. NCFR will develop and monitor standards for Family Science programs and Family Life Educators.

B. NCFR will infuse inclusion and diversity and international perspectives into all aspects of its mission, governance, programming, and professional practices.

C. NCFR will advocate for Family Science professionals.

D. NCFR will provide information and resources on career options and opportunities to its members.



As you can see, we started our work by focusing on academic programs. We did this because the majority of NCFR members at this time are in Family Science academic programs. We will expand the coverage over time to include the diverse practice areas represented by NCFR members.

Allison Wickler, who formerly served as NCFR’s director of marketing and communications, is our lead staff member on this initiative and can be reached at [email protected]. Member input and feedback has been integral to the progress on this project and the creation of resources that are of value to NCFR members.

Looking Ahead to 2021

It is difficult to imagine what the future holds for us all after having lived through 2020. What is clear is that Family Science is increasingly relevant in a turbulent world that has been further fractured by the effects of the pandemic. Families have proved yet again their resilience in the face of unforeseen obstacles, whether separated from each other physically or bound together more closely. It is also clear that NCFR members will continue to have a professional home where they can draw strength and understanding from one another and collaborate to take the Family Science discipline to new heights. There is a profound need for scholars and professionals to work together to understand and strengthen families in the midst of these challenges and in the lasting aftermath of the events of 2020.