Fall 2014 Family Science update

by Bahira Sherif Trask, Ph.D., section chair

There are many new and exciting developments underway. We have a wonderful conference program ahead of us in November, and we are engaging full force on advancing our field from research, practitioner, and policy perspectives.

Despite a shared quandary that we are often a "discovery" major at our respective institutions, many of our programs are becoming increasingly successful. In many ways we represent the fields of the future: academic disciplines that are intimately concerned with societal problems and working out solutions. We already do well what others are trying to figure out: translational research that has tangible social justice benefits.

From my perspective, more than anything we have an "image" problem. Due to the fact that traditionally academia has prized theorizing over application, we have been somewhat marginalized in many contexts. Also, our subject area "families" has not been well understood as being of interest as an object of scholarly focus (to those outside of our field). As NCFR becomes increasingly visible, as our scholars publish, speak, and advise in prominent outlets, and as our practitioners through their great work, get the word out, Family Science is moving in a new, very positive direction. Much of this will be evident at the conference in Baltimore in November.

The Family Science section, naturally, plays an important role in helping shape the discipline. We are sponsoring a number of what promise to be highly informative sessions, including panels on innovative pedagogies, administrative concerns in the field, the re-positioning of Family Science in colleges and universities, and a special session on how feminism and social justice need to pervade and help structure humane workplaces.

We would like to engage the membership in a more focused dialogue on these issues not only at the conference but also throughout the academic year. I thus encourage you to use the listserv to initiate discussions about topics that are on your mind. They can of course relate to our sessions, but it would also be useful to hear about strategies and concerns that you are facing at your respective institutions. We are at an important juncture in our field--now is the time to capitalize on the moment and to move things forward!