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History of Human Development

Human Development (HD) is an independent academic discipline which contributes to individuals’ and families’ healthy development over the lifespan in changing social contexts. The origin of the discipline goes back to the Morrill Land Grant Act in 1862. The U.S. society in this era was in the transition from agricultural to industrial society. The Act funded one public university in each State to start offering Agricultural Sciences and Mechanics as practical sciences in order to educate individuals who could manage innovative technologies. Soon the faculty of these universities realized that a practical science to enhance health of these workers and their families was essential in order to raise productivities of the workers. This is the birth of HD as a practical science to enhance individuals’ and families’ healthy development over the lifespan. Since then, HD has contributed to optimize individuals’ and families’ experiences by predicting human development over the lifespan and surveying individual and social factors which interact with the processes of human development. Building on the original mission of HD as a practical science to serve the residents of the State where the university is located, HD emphasizes a specific context in which individuals and families are exposed to. To assess, implement, and evaluate intervention programs which fit the given contexts, HD has developed as an interdisciplinary science. HD program at CSUSM provides interdisciplinary training for students in order to acquire skills to serve individuals and families in a variety of contexts.