Family Studies and Human Development

Edith S. Whitehead Education Building (WEDU)
(435) 879-4247

To find faculty & staff phone numbers and email addresses, please consult the University Directory.

Department Chair
Cari Buckner, Ed.D.

Administrative Assistant for Education
Mary McFadden

Emily Sharp, M.Ed.

Brenda Sabey, Ph.D.

Administrative Specialist
Robyn Whipple

Program Description

The Dixie State University Family Studies and Human Development Department has three separate components: Family Studies and Human Development, Nutrition and Food Science, and Early Childhood Education (ECE). The Family Studies and Human Development area provides a variety of courses that motivate critical thinking and competency in the development of life skills, encourage improvement in the quality of individual and family life, and prepare students for employment in related occupations. Students interested in family studies and human development curriculum are advised to consult with a department faculty member to plan an efficient sequence of courses. Courses are offered in human development, early childhood education, textiles, interior design, family relationships, and stress reduction.

Nutrition and Food Science classes are based on developing wellness through appropriate nutrition, food, and lifestyle choices. After further study, possible professional outcomes include registered dietitian, county extension agent and a variety of health occupation opportunities including consultant in various health institutions and organizations as well as other community, national and international health applications.

Dixie State University offers three degree opportunities in Early Childhood Education:  the Associate of Applied Science in ECE, and the Associate of Science OR Arts in ECE.  Studying Early Childhood Education gives students a strong foundation in child development, family studies, and early childhood education, including practical experience. Students may use the degree for entry level employment as teachers in Head Start Programs or other early childhood settings or may pursue a bachelor’s degree.  The coursework in the AS/AA degree in ECE is designed to correlate with requirements in the Elementary Education Program at DSU, so a graduate of the Education track can complete prerequisite requirements for the Elementary Education program.  Besides the Education track, students can choose a Child Care track.

Course Prefixes

  • FSHD

Career Information

Career Strategies

Early Childhood Education students can enhance learning and career opportunities in the following ways:

  • Nurture both a caring attitude toward children and professional behavior
  • Develop and maintain an appreciation for the wonders of childhood discovery
  • Develop practical experience in the field
  • Engage in service learning, community service, and/or volunteer activities
  • Use electives wisely to enroll in courses that supplement your knowledge and skills
  • Consider continuing your education to obtain bachelor’s or master’s degree

Career Opportunities*

  • Preschool / pre-K teacher
  • Head Start teacher
  • Family advocate
  • Child care service administrator
  • Business owner / entrepreneur
  • Parent educator
  • Social services provider
  • Resource / referral specialist

Job Outlook*

The need for preschool teachers and other early childhood educators is expected to grow 7% between 2014 and 2024, which is consistent with the average for all occupations.

Salary Range*

The median annual wage for preschool teachers was $28,570 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $51,990.


 From the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2015


Department Chair

Cari Buckner, Ed.D.

Associate Professors

Cari Buckner, Ed.D.

Jason Wilde, Ph.D.


David Jones, M.A., MFHD

Teresa Provost (Preschool)

Linda M. Wright, M.Ed.


Emily Sharp, M.Ed.