Mississippi University for Women Integrates 'Family Science' Into Department Name

Mississippi University for Women

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is pleased to share that the Mississippi University for Women (MUW) has officially changed the name of its Department of Psychology and Family Studies to the Department of Psychology and Family Science. The department's bachelor of science degree has also changed its name from family studies to Family Science. This program has met the criteria for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) credential since 2004.

NCFR member Dorothy Berglund, Ph.D., CFLE, who serves as professor and department chair, said the new name was chosen to emphasize the scientific nature of the program.

“We may not wear white coats, but we are social scientists," Berglund said. "We use research and theories to inform our work with individuals, families, and communities.”
Berglund added that the new name lends greater credibility to the department and also allows students to establish the identity of Family Scientist as they begin their careers.

Read more about MUW's Department of Psychology and Family Science.

Considering a Name Change for Your Program?

In 2014, NCFR formally adopted Family Science as the preferred term to identify the discipline. Since then, use of the term has been encouraged for department and program names. Family Science is a more accurate and understandable term for students and prospective employers. It denotes a rigor and reflects the underpinnings of research-informed practice, and as such, it carries with it a new higher level of credibility and regard.

In addition, the term provides a professional identity—that of Family Scientist—to program graduates. Many departments have changed their names over the years to incorporate Family Science, and the continuation of this national trend in turn helps to improve the overall standing of the discipline.

Does your college or university have a new program or new name? Let us know! Share your news items through our online form or contact Trip Sullivan, NCFR communications manager.

If your department is considering a name change, NCFR has sample documents and resources available for you that other schools have successfully used. Contact Allison Wickler for more information.