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UT Austin Family Sciences Program and Mathematics Among Top 10 in World Rankings


The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has ranked the University Texas at Austin among the top 10 universities worldwide in three College of Natural Sciences subjects: Family Studies (#7), Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Applications (#1), and Mathematics, Applied (#5).

The Science of Relationships (Audio)

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

In honor of Valentine's Day, we're speaking with Lisa Neff, a researcher studying what makes happy, healthy romantic relationships tick. Neff is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She answers several burning questions, including: What are the health benefits of romantic relationships? How can newlyweds avoid communication breakdowns that result from external stress? and, Do optimists make better partners?

Stephen T. Russell Named Fellow of National Council on Family Relations

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) has conferred its prestigious Fellow status on Stephen T. Russell, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development in and Chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

A 90-Year Milestone at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory

Young children play on the porch of the original UT Lab School in 1928

On this morning, newspaper headlines herald Ma Ferguson's last days in the Texas capitol, Charles Lindbergh's plans to bypass the Atlantic by air, and Charlie Chaplin's divorce and tax evasion woes.

Sowing Seeds for a Life of Research

Image credited to Vivian Abagiu

Migration—within and between countries—can have profound effects on children and their families. It was economic migration in rural China and the impact on children separated from their parents that first piqued Yang Hou's research interest. Now a UT Austin human development and family sciences graduate student, she is studying the effect of social context on families from the two largest immigrant populations in the US—Asians and Latinos.

For the Holidays, Researchers Give Insights into Relationships and Dieting

Thinking about how to connect with distant friends and family? Searching for how to drop ten pounds in a week?

Who Learns at the Lab School?

Reading to children at the UT Lab School. Image credited to Vivian Abagiu

Everyone's engaged in the Lab School's Pecan Room. Fledgling engineers debate the construction of a block tower. Bookworms explore bright pictures unfolded on laps. Clothing tie-dyers fiddle with the gigantic plastic mitts covering hands. Artists converse while snipping florescent straws with blunt scissors.

Research on Corporal Punishment Prompts Federal Letter Calling for Practice to End

Research on Corporal Punishment Prompts Federal Letter Calling for Practice to End

This week—on November 22, 2016—U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. asked states to reconsider corporal punishment in public schools, noting that this form of discipline "is harmful, ineffective, and often disproportionately applied to students of color and students with disabilities."

A recent policy report by associate professor of human development and family sciences Elizabeth Gershoff showed that corporal punishment is not practiced with an even hand in the nearly half of the states where it remains legal. Gershoff and colleague Sarah Font analyzed 160,000 cases of corporal punishment from the 2013-2014 school year and found that children who are African American, have disabilities, or are male are more likely to be hit.

Busting the Myth that Living with Your Parents is Harmful

Young adults who live with their parents find that their relationships feel more tense, with higher highs and lower lows. But they are no worse off as a result of these daily experiences than young adults living elsewhere, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin.

Children Adjust Poorly When Parents Cannot Handle Normal Misbehavior

New research from The University of Texas at Austin shows that children adjust more poorly when parents react negatively in direct response to their child's crying, fussing and other aversive behavior than if the parent is negative in general. Children who routinely experience negative backlash from a parent are also less successful at navigating social situations.

Professor Emeritus Karrol Kitt's Legacy

Drs. Stephen Russell, Elizabeth Gershoff, Lisa Neff, and Marci Gleason celebrate with Dr. Karrol Kitt in September.

Human Development and Family Sciences professor emeritus Karrol Kitt—vibrant, incisive, and perpetually poised to act—can distill her 38 years on campus into a metaphor that would be familiar to students who have taken her personal finance course. There, she talked about "the three-legged stool" approach to saving for retirement (stocks, bonds and cash), and now she says: "If my career were a stool, the three legs would include insurance regulation, student affairs, and education and research. I've had a wonderful career."

Schools Use Corporal Punishment Disproportionately

Schools Use Corporal Punishment Disproportionately

In parts of the 19 states where the practice is still legal, corporal punishment in schools is used as much as 50 percent more frequently on children who are African American or who have disabilities, a new analysis of 160,000 cases during 2013-2014 has found. Corporal punishment — typically striking a child with a wooden paddle — continues to be a widespread practice in disciplining children from pre-K through high school, according to a new study by Elizabeth Gershoff of The University of Texas at Austin and Sarah Font of Penn State University. The paper is published this week as a Social Policy Report by the Society for Research in Child Development.

Improving School for LGBT Youth

Improving School for LGBT Youth

Although recent societal shifts in many parts of the world have led to an improvement in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, LGBT youth often face discrimination in their primary pursuit—school.

New “Pop-Up Institute” Focuses on Health Disparities

New “Pop-Up Institute” Focuses on Health Disparities

Faculty from the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences will participate in a new Pop-Up Institute investigating how discrimination based on race, ethnicity, social class or LGBTQ status impacts health outcomes. The group, a roster of experts from many disciplines and departments across campus, will be led by Stephen Russell, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development and...
Featured Publications: Spring 2016

Featured Publications: Spring 2016

The following highlight the exciting research being conducted by faculty and students in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

Note: * denotes current/former graduate or undergraduate student in our HDFS department.

Mayor of Austin Recognizes Champion for Child Development

Mayor of Austin Recognizes Champion for Child Development

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has proclaimed June 15, 2016 Priscilla Pond Flawn Day in honor of the longtime friend of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, who passed away this spring.

A New Norm: Marriages Can Thrive with a Full Nest

A New Norm: Marriages Can Thrive with a Full Nest

There’s a silver lining to the Great Recession: new research published in the Journal of Gerontology Psychological Sciences shows that the addition of an adult child to your home may no longer spell trouble for your marriage. The study compared marriage quality from 2013 to that from 2008, before the financial collapse.

Recognizing Austin's Early Childhood Leaders

Recognizing Austin's Early Childhood Leaders

Community members from the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences and the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Lab School have been recognized for their important work in the community by the Austin Association for the Education of Young Children.

Risks of Harm from Spanking Confirmed by Analysis of Five Decades of Research

The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan. T​he study, published in this month's Journal of...
Data About LGBT Students Could Help Address Harassment and Bullying

Data About LGBT Students Could Help Address Harassment and Bullying

​Collecting data about school discipline encounters involving LGBT students could help policymakers and educators create a safe learning environment for LGBT teens, suggests a new research brief co-authored by Stephen Russell, Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences at UT Austin, in collaboration with the Equity Project at Indiana University. ​ The paper discusses the necessity of data about issues on campus like disciplinary measures against and bullying of...