Leave the housework to someone else, because these majors are on a mission, and it is anything but women’s work.
The Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) department was founded under the idea of a progressive movement, and CSU is determined to keep this image moving forward from the days when only men were allowed in the classroom.
“The history is deeply rooted in the women’s movement into the universities with male-dominated classes,” Dawn Mallette, coordinator for Family and Consumer Sciences said.
The major’s reputation from its earlier decades created a setback, but it is working on creating a more accurate depiction, Mallette said.
“The founder was an activist in 1909, but after the men came back from the war and the women went back into the home, (the classes) changed into the ‘lets make it good for men’ image of the ’50s and ’60s,” Mallette said. “Now the image is being updated, it’s not about tea parties and etiquette, now it is more true to the founder.”
The program, which is housed in the College of Applied Human Sciences, offers a variety of courses, none of which focus on the stereotype of “home economics” that is often associated with FCS.
The program is split into two categories, one focusing on education, the other on training for jobs in the nonprofit sector.
The education aspect focuses on teaching life skills classes in high school or middle school, said Mallette.
“(The classes) emphasize career choices, wage earning, and job seeking skills as well as others,” she said.
The FCS degree allows teachers to work with secondary level students who are interested in working with children at any level including pediatrician to family therapy and others. Fashion and interior design are also included as possible classes to teach at the secondary level.
Early childhood education is also a part of the education emphasis.
For students who choose to go in to a field outside education, the major also lends itself to careers in the Peace Corps, halfway houses, community services, and human service agencies like child services.
The degree qualifies students for a broad range of jobs because of the variety of courses required to graduate with the degree.
“A lot of students see it as interdisciplinary where they can learn a lot about multiple things,” Malllette said.
That variety also draws a lot of undecided students into the major.
“Sometimes the big issue with open option majors is that they have a lot of interests and want to take courses that package very different interests into a career,” Linda Stoddard, academic advisor, said. “Family and Consumer studies is a good way for taking a multitude of different classes and work with people.”
This attraction drew sophomore Kathryn Riches to the major.
“It is more than just ‘home ec.’- it is diverse with topics like teaching, childhood development, and also helps with nutritional needs in areas other than the home,” she said. “It is not the ‘little Suzie homemaker’ degree, both men and women go into it and leave with the ability to go into several different careers.”