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Our Commitment

The HDFS department is committed to cultivating inclusion and strengthening diversity in all forms as described in the University Diversity Plan. Our diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice goals include:

  • Develop and coordinate active recruitment and retention programs for undergraduate and graduate students, staff, and faculty from diverse backgrounds, historically excluded groups, and/or with interests in issues related to identity, diversity, and justice.
  • Promote HDFS research that aims to understand marginalized populations, the needs of underserved groups, and diversity in development, and apply such knowledge to address real-world issues.
  • Grow the knowledge base and awareness of cultural competence, systems of oppression, and principles of inclusion among faculty, graduate students, administrative professionals, and classified staff.
  • Invite diverse perspectives to contribute to departmental activities and leadership.
Outside group photo of the DEIJ Committee

Get Involved

We value and encourage participation by students of diverse backgrounds in our department activities. Check out these opportunities for ways you can get involved.

For our first-generation students and/or students of color, this year-long program will provide you with a supportive community to help you successfully navigate your transition to college. If you are already a student in HDFS, you can apply to be a mentor in this program.

Campus Connections is a powerful campus-based therapeutic mentoring program for youth, ages 10-18, who have experienced adversity. In our program, youth are paired in one-on-one mentoring relationships with undergraduate Colorado State University students through a 3-credit upper division course (HDFS 470A). Apply to be a youth or a mentor in this program.

Student Outreach and Undergraduate Leadership is a student-run organization that is aimed at developing leadership among HDFS students. Members work with the community through a variety of leadership and service projects gaining valuable skills along the way.

Gerontology Club opens opportunities for intergenerational connections and conversations to residents and students alike. The club seeks to volunteer with older adults and local organizations as well as to learn about issues and disparities in aging.


Our research focuses on varied topics such as emotion regulation, healthy aging, peer mentoring, healthy development of children with disabilities, interventions for substance abuse, and positive intergenerational family relationships. The below researchers are just a few in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies who are exploring topics related to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.

Focusing on the well-being of LGBTQ individuals

Dr. Kelley Quirk’s research focuses on romantic relationship functioning; couple therapy process and outcome; relationship education for adult couples, youth who experience adversity, and LGBTQ individuals; and wilderness therapy for young adult cancer survivors and caregivers. In one of her current studies, Dr. Quirk is exploring the impact of perceptions of the sociopolitical climate on the well-being of LGBTQ individuals.

Program director of our Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Program, Professor Toni Zimmerman supports and leads the program’s mission to train students to provide ethical, multiculturally-informed, evidence-based, and systemically oriented therapeutic services for a diverse population of individuals, couples, and families within a variety of professional settings. Students provide mental health services to mentees in the Campus Connections program, which helps youth in the community experiencing adversity.

Dr. Zeynep Biringen conducts research on adverse childhood experiences, including those related to divorce/parental alienation. This focus of her research goes into many areas such as gender biases in the perception of parental alienation as well as parents’ adverse childhood experiences and parent-child emotional availability in an American Indian community. Dr. Biringen also trains professionals about the evaluation of parent-child relationship quality in 25-30 countries, including non-Western societies.

Led by investigators, Professor Deborah Fidler and Associate Professor Lisa Daunhauer, the Developmental Disabilities Laboratory uses developmental science to understand how individuals with differing abilities learn and grow. The lab researches how areas of strength and vulnerability emerge during the earliest years of development, and how to identify children who are at risk for additional difficulties and diagnoses. They use the information they generate to create new approaches and innovations for families, caregivers, service providers, and educators.


We support diverse youth, families, and older adults and promote positive mental and behavioral health outcomes.

We are committed to helping diverse populations create a better future for themselves and their families through our research-based centers and programs.

We provide services that promote the well-being of children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families while creating a safe environment that honors diverse backgrounds, family forms, and experiences. We do not discriminate or refuse services to anyone on the basis of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

We are dedicated to delivering research-based outreach to people across the state related to current and future needs of Coloradans by providing educational information and programs that safeguard health, increase livelihood, and enhance well being.

Teaching & Learning

This is a sampling of Human Development and Family Sciences courses with DEIJ content. We also have a new concentration for “Leadership and Advocacy,” which guides students who are preparing for leadership in organizations that promote the optimal development of individuals and families, with a focus on equity and inclusion.

HDFS 434 - Risk and Resilience Across the Lifespan

This course covers why some individuals are at high risk for poor developmental outcomes, and why certain individuals fare well despite such risks or adversities. Strong developmental emphasis because resilience is viewed as a process, the results of which may not be manifest for years. There is an ecological emphasis because protective and vulnerability factors often reside in families, schools, neighborhoods.

HDFS 403 - Families in the Legal Environment

This course covers the intersection of individuals, children, families and the legal system, including the balance between the right to privacy and government intervention, and social disparities in the legal system. Topics include: establishing the legal parent relationship, adoption, the rights of children and parents, marriage, divorce, dependency and neglect, family violence, disability and estate planning, juvenile delinquency, legalities of gender, and landlord/tenant and housing policy.

HDFS 360 - Leadership Through Peer Mentoring

This course works directly with the HDFS peer mentoring program, which is one-to-one peer mentoring with first-year, underrepresented HDFS students to support their successful transition to the university and department.

HDFS 317 - Disabilities in Early Childhood Education

This course covers recommended practices for fostering development of young children with disabilities, knowledge of atypical development in early childhood (birth through grade 3); practices for assessment, intervention, adapted instruction and materials; and inclusive environments to facilitate children’s attainment of educational goals.

New Leadership and Advocacy Concentration
  • 32% First-Generation Students
  • 31% of Students Identify as Diverse
  • 15% Non Traditional Students

HDFS Diversity News