Human Development and Family Studies News

How do we change the world?

In an era of heightened national focus on issues of social justice and race relations, HDFS Professor Dr. Deborah Johnson leads critical research on racial socialization and racial identity.

Dr. Johnson was funded by MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives to evaluate college women’s perceptions of their racial/ethnic identity and their college experiences through parental socialization processes. Dr. Johnson continues administrative focus on issues of racial and gender equity among MSU faculty in her appointment in MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.


Holly Brophy-Herb, HDFS Professor, wins Key Partner Award from Michigan State University’s Extension Office for her rigor, excellence and steadfast commitment to partnering with Extension to translate cutting-edge research to meaningful implementation with individuals, families and communities in greatest need across Michigan. 

In the words of Carrie Shrier, “Holly exemplifies the concept of bringing knowledge to life.  She truly brings her research on campus to the communities and throughout Michigan.  She’s been excited and interested in partnering with Extension to author grants, to help bring the programming out the communities; she sought out Extension when those opportunities have arisen; she’s worked closely with us to make sure we’re delivering quality programming to the communities.”  Link to video award:


HDFS, along with alumni leaders from the College of Social Science, hosts Girls Night In—seminars to inspire, develop skills and provide mentoring opportunities for student professionals and leaders.  More than 120 students attended the October 22nd seminar, featuring alumni presenters Mischa Boardman, Shareholder, Zausmer, August & Caldwell; Ellen Cokinos, Founder, Ellen Cokinos Consulting for Non-profits; Margaret Dimond, President, Karmanos Cancer Hospital; and Christine Soneral, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, ITC Holdings. Future seminars occur on November 19th and December 3rd; RSVP required to Lisa Fuentes (


Video taken on October 22, 2015:



Girls night in poster

Dr. Amy Nuttall, new assistant professor in HDFS, is featured today in MSU’s headlines for her recently published study on the relationship between parentification and parenting quality:  Dr. Nuttall’s most recent research concentrates on sibling and family dynamics in families with a child with autism or other neurodevelopmental condition.



Amy can be reached at:

Dr. Lori Skibbe has been awarded a Special Education Research Grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).  Funding for the project will total approximately $1.6 million over the course of four years.

Dr. Skibbe's team will develop a computerized adaptive test of phonological awareness called the Inventory of Phonological Awareness using Alternative Responses (IPAAR).  Phonological awareness, the explicit awareness of and ability to manipulate the sound structure of language, is a key predictor of later literacy development. Currently there are no standardized, validated tools of phonological awareness suited to meet the needs of children with disabilities that limit their speech production, despite the citical nature of this early literacy skill.  This project will address this gap by developing the IPAAR to assess levels of phonological awareness for a wide range of children with and without disabilities.

The development and evaluation of the IPAAR will occur over the course of three phases and will be administered to approximately 300 children in preschool or early elementary school with speech production difficultites.

Congratulations, Dr. Skibbe!