A Collaborative Venture: Messiah College Adds New Major in FCS

Article excerpt

In the last few years, several family studies graduates have obtained positions as family and consumer sciences (FCS) teachers in public schools under emergency certifications. Because we want Messiah College graduates to be competent and fully prepared to assume positions in the workforce, we began to explore the feasibility of a teacher certification track within the department.

While securing information relative to the requirements for FCS education, we discovered that the transformation from home economics to family and consumer sciences (Boss, 2002), as well as recent revisions to the academic standards for FCS education (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2002), more closely aligned the content of FCS with our current human development and family science (HDFS) major. Specific content within each of the four major areas delineated by Chapter 4 in the academic standards was reviewed: financial and resource management; balancing family, work, and community responsibility; food science and nutrition; and child development. It was determined that many of the existing HDFS courses would meet the FCS requirements. For areas in which additional curricular was needed (e.g., food sciences, early childhood education), appropriate courses in other departments were identified. In light of current fiscal restraints at the institution, it was recognized that any proposed new major must demand few, if any, new resources.

After meeting with the Department of Education's Teacher Education Committee (TEC), we were asked us to gather additional information before a final recommendation would be made. Thus, during the spring of 2002, a meeting of current FCS educators was hosted to gather advice and feedback on the proposed program and curriculum. Teachers were enthusiastic about the prospects of an FCS education program at Messiah College and provided useful insights relative to what courses are most helpful and the kinds of curricula they are teaching within their schools. They graciously volunteered their expertise and assistance. Two officials from the PA Department of Education and the regional FCS representative met with us and were informed of the proposal. Major areas of concern and obstacles were identified, feedback was gained, and level of support and encouragement was assessed. Current HDFS majors were surveyed to glean the level of student interest in the proposed FCS major. Curricula of the five FCS programs at colleges and universities within the state of Pennsylvania were gathered for the purpose of comparing requirements with those that we were proposing. …