CSUSB Advising Podcast

Ep. 45 - What is the Child Development major?

March 13, 2023 Matt Markin Season 1 Episode 45
CSUSB Advising Podcast
Ep. 45 - What is the Child Development major?
Show Notes Transcript

In Episode 45 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with Dr. Amanda Wilcox-Herzog, Professor and Department Chair of Child Development at CSUSB!  What is the Child Development major? Are there any minor or certificates offered? What career opportunities are there? What resources are there for students in Child Development? Find out in this episode!

For more information, check out the Child Development Student Resources page!

E-mail: childdevelopment@csusb.edu

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Hey Yoties! Welcome to another episode of the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin, and academic advisor here at Cal State San Bernardino. And for today's episode, we're going to learn more about the child development major. And we have a special guest with us today to tell us more about this major. And that's Dr. Amanda Wilcox. Dr. Wilcox, welcome to the podcast.

Thank you. Glad to be here. 

Yeah, glad for you to be here too. And we always start each episode to learn more about the person that that's been interviewed. So can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background in higher ed?

Yes, so I've been at Cal State San Bernardino for 25 years, roughly. I grew up in California, and then I left to go to Indiana for graduate school. So I have a PhD in developmental studies. But before that, I taught infants and toddlers and preschoolers and elementary school aged kids, and then decided college was way better. And that I like college students way better, even though I love little people. So I came here to Cal State started in the psychology department. And then a couple years ago, we split off into our own department. And now I am the chair of child development. So not a huge long answer, but kind of me in a nutshell, so.

No, wonderful. And how would you describe the the child development major?

So, we have two concentrations. We have an early childhood development concentration. And then we also have a child and adolescent development concentration. So if you're interested in children age, birth through about age eight, the early childhood development concentration is the best one for you. And if you're interested in children, eight and older, so teenagers, young adults, then you'll want to choose child and adolescent development. The nice part about both of the concentrations is that they're both fully aligned with the associate transfer degrees at the community colleges. So either one you pick, you can start at the community college, you can have all that lower division coursework done pretty much, and then come directly into either one of those concentrations and have a good part done. So we're fully equipped for either first time freshmen or folks who are coming from the community colleges.

He's and then do you offer aside from the bachelor's degree, do you offer any minors or certificates?

Yeah, so we have a minor in child development. When we were with psychology, we had a dual major option that was really, really popular for students. And that was, I think, really the only loss from becoming our own department. I think they're, most things are better for students now that we have our own department. But that was the one thing that students really enjoyed. So we did create a minor, particularly for students in degrees, like psychology, which are kind of a close cousin of what we do are kind of the developmental psychology arm of psychology. So if that's something that students are interested in, then they could certainly pick up a minor. And we also have two certificate programs, we have a nice both run through CEGE. So the College of Extended and Global Education. One is an early childhood administrative leadership program. So this is for folks, mostly who are already out in the field. Maybe they're directors or they're working for agencies where they have some sort of leadership or advocacy position. So it gives them kind of the business side of being in the Child Development early childhood field. And then we also have an early childhood trauma informed care certificate program. Kind of a mouthful, but it is for folks who are working with children in the field, and trying to better understand the role of trauma, and how that might impact children's development and things that we can do as practitioners to make things better for those kids. And then finally, we're in development of another certificate program. So right now, in the state, there's a lot of things happening related to early childhood education. There's a new credential coming on board for preschool through children in grade three. So we're in process of working with the College of Education to develop that credential here on our campus. And we're also working on a certificate program for folks who already teach elementary school that are interested in little children and might want to come back and pick up some extra units and child development to be qualified to teach transitional kindergarten. So things we have things that are in the works, lots of stuff coming online.

Yeah, definitely seems like yeah, a lot that you already offer and then coming down the road, a few other things that that will be coming ahead. So maybe going back to a bachelor's degree a question we get sometimes from students is, well, what exactly am I going to learn in these classes?

Yeah. So you know, we pride ourselves on giving both content and what we call pedagogical knowledge. So content knowledge is just all about children and who they are. So we definitely come at things from a whole child approach. So if you're in the early childhood track, you're going to learn everything about children's cognitive, social language, emotional physical development, same thing if you're looking at the older children, because you need kind of that basis of who children are, and what their development is all about first. We also in that content, knowledge, give a lot of information about context. So the various contexts that children are existing in. So, learning about home, school, family, media, all of those things that influence children's development, but then one thing we really pride ourselves on is sort of the pedagogical or applied piece, because we recognize that students coming through child development, chances are, they're going to actually work with real humans. So they're going to be working with children and families directly more than likely. We don't have a lot of students who get completely office jobs and never touch anybody in the field. So we try really hard to do a lot of that practical kind of stuff. So in our lecture classes, you might be doing hands on projects, we have an assessment course, where students are actually conducting assessment, learning various assessment tools. All students in our program have to go through various hands on courses. So everybody takes an observation class as sort of their first foray out into the world. And then we have an interactions class where you go practice interacting with children of whatever age you're interested in, then we have an activities and programs class where you go plan activities and implement those with children. And then finally, we have an advanced practicum, where students get to go try out a professional setting that they might be interested in. So to me, that's something unique about our program, as we really have a lot of hands on experiences built in. Also, all of our faculty have worked with children and families in some capacity. So we all have different professional backgrounds that we can share with students and help students to understand both different careers that they might be interested in, because we ourselves have done them. And then we also have a lot of applied experience and examples to bring to the the classes that we teach.

And you mentioned careers. And that's a question we get a lot too soon. It says, Well, this major sounds very interesting, but what are maybe some career areas I can go into? So can you talk a little bit more about that?

Yeah, I think that's one of my favorite parts about our major is I think, people underestimate what they can do. Something that we've recently implemented is we have an intro to the major course that students take, right up front, it's a one unit course. And a big part of that course is every week we talk about a different career. And somebody who's been in that career, who's affiliated with our university talks about it and talks about what you can do, what education you need. But the thing that's great about child development is it's this perfect little center to branch out to all kinds of different careers. So we have people who are interested in education, either they want to be in early childhood education, or maybe they want to do elementary school or secondary education. We have a lot of folks who want to teach college age students. For that you do need a master's. And you can do that with us as well. We do have a master's in child development for when you're done with your bachelor's. We have people who go into clinical counseling, social work, Child Life Specialist, where you work at a hospital, parent education, I'm trying to think of some of the other ones off top of my head special education. So pretty much anything that you want to do with children and families, we're a good first stop. And then we kind of give you the tools you need. Something really exciting on campus right now, we've always had folks who are interested in speech and language therapy, and they kind of struggled to leave us and then go to a speech and language pathology program without needing some extra coursework, but there's actually a new speech and language pathology certificate program here on campus. So that's a great companion to the major in child development so that you're fully ready to go into that kind of program when you leave. So all kinds of opportunities, honestly,

Yeah, and I like how this major really connects to a lot of different careers, but like you're saying also can go with maybe some of the other certificates or other pro grants that we offer on campus. Now, let's say a student is interested in child development, but maybe they're on the fence of whether they should declare or not. Do you have any suggestions for that student?

Yeah, you know, I, one of the things. So in addition to having a lot of different options, I think the nice part is, is that I believe that we do a good job of helping students to see that and get their feet wet, and lots of different things while they're here. So that, you know, maybe you're kind of interested in social work, but you're not sure we'll talk about it in our programs. And we'll help you think about what that might look like. So, one, I think we do a good job of helping you to think about all the things that you can do. And I think the other thing is, is that a lot of times when folks say that they're interested in children and families, they get automatically pigeonholed into something. So maybe if they say social work, and you should absolutely be a social work major, if you want to. But I think sometimes when students are early in their education in their careers, they think they're interested in something, but they're not totally sure. And so what I love about child development is it keeps the door wide open during your undergraduate time. So it's preparing you for those things that might come next, but not narrowing you right away. So a lot of times, when students maybe are interested in wanting to become a teacher, they automatically get put into Liberal Studies and Liberal Studies is a great pathway if you want to do you know, K through 12. But sometimes folks change their mind along the way. And that's not what they end up wanting to do. But then once you're in that pathway, it's hard to do anything else, because you're not really being prepared for anything else. So to me, the beautiful part about child development is just keep that door open, you're getting prepared for all kinds of things. And then down the road, you can segue into any number of things rather than already having a decision made for you early on.

And you were kind of mentioning with, with maybe students being interested in something maybe being pigeon holed? Do you find that there are any misconceptions that students or others might have about the child development major?

Yeah, I think honestly, people think that the only people who want to major in child development is people who want to be preschool teachers. I was a preschool teacher loved it, great job. But that's definitely not the only thing that you can do. And one of the career paths that I forgot to mention is school psychology, where you go do assessments or being a guidance counselor. And like I said, we have faculty who have done all of those kinds of things. But I do think that's definitely a misconception is yeah, go over there if you want to teach preschool, but if you want to do something else, don't pick there. And I absolutely promise that is not true, so.

yeah. And are there any resources that your department offers, like whether it be clubs, scholarships, anything like that?

Yeah, we are a new department. So we are working hard on that kind of stuff. And I'm proud of us, I think we've come a long way in just a couple short years. So we now have a very active child development club. They've really started meaning in earnest this year, and they're doing all kinds of cool stuff. I am personally working on getting us a study abroad program. So I have met with someone and I'm hopeful that in the summer of 2024, there will be a study abroad to go to Italy, which I think is going to be amazing. And we have two scholarships that are about to come on board. So a retired faculty member started a scholarship in his parents name. And then we also have a former student of mine, who developed a scholarship that will be split between psychology and child development students. We also have an honors program that we started last year. So Child Development students were able to do honors when we were in the psychology department, but we now have our very own honors program that is specifically for Child Development students in our own department. So I think we're Yeah, we've got a fair amount going on. We're also affiliated with the Children's Center and the infant toddler lab school on campus. So students can work there. And that's also where they do some of those hands on activity courses that I was talking about. And we also the majority of our faculty are involved in community projects. So for us research is not just something that we do here on campus, but it's something that we take out into the community and almost all of our faculty are interested in and looking for students to participate in their research slash community project based work. So we have work that's done in the community jails to help reintegrate children with their parents. We Have work that's being done with adolescents on civic engagement. We have work that's done in the schools to help kids who are struggling, do cognitive training programs, we have programs that are looking at racial equity in early childhood classrooms. So really all kinds of neat stuff going on, that students can be involved with. So I'm probably the first I think we've we've done a lot in a couple of short years.

Yeah, you know, it seems like and I love the fact that with this major, you know, not only do you have the classes on campus, you have the observation, so the hands on experience, let's say on campus, but also the connection to the community that they can also be involved with as well. And so let's say a student has a question. They're looking for more information, how best would you direct that student to like, go to your website or contact a certain person?

Yeah. So I think our website and that's another thing we've we've worked really hard on, I was like, we have to have a good website that helps guide people. So yes, definitely come check out our website, especially the Student Resources section. And you'll find all kinds of good stuff there. We hold information sessions, anybody is allowed to register. So if you go to our homepage, you can see what our upcoming information sessions are. Right on that homepage, there is a button you can click to send a message. So you can either reach out to me directly and my information is on the website, we have a website, or excuse me an email for the Child Development Department, which is that button, if you click it'll take you there to leave us a message there. You can also contact our administrative coordinator. Her name is Karen Solorio. She's amazing. You can either email her call her or you can drop by our department office, which is in the social and behavioral sciences building in room 458. And all of that is on our website.

Wonderful. And we'll include a link to the website in our show notes as well. But Dr. Wilcox, a lot of great information. I learned a lot as well with this recording. So thank you so much for being on the podcast today.

Yeah, thank you. I hope that folks come and check us out and say hi and answer any additional questions that they have. Absolutely.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai