College of Education and Human Development wordmark.

Our strengths meet society's critical challenges

Today we are facing unprecedented social concerns, including growing poverty, hunger, access to quality health care, and addiction.

CEHD's strong leadership, a clear sense of purpose, and excellence across academic disciplines place us on the leading frontiers of knowledge. We forge community partnerships, share knowledge, and craft effective new practices and policies which benefit children and families.

Critical issues

Four areas represent the intersection of CEHD's strengths with society's most pressing needs.

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Developing brain
Helping children get off to a good start in life

Children learning

Educational equity
Creating a successful future for all children

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Family resilience
Supporting people as they cope with and recover from damaging experiences

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Global competitiveness
Providing students with broad cultural perspectives and technological skills

Understanding the developing brain

Getting children off to a good start impacts a host of lifelong physical, emotional, social and economic issues.

Understanding the developing brains of infants and children helps unlock the causes and treatment for serious problems such as impulse control, learning disabilities and mood disorders.

Our faculty have a special expertise in autism spectrum disorders, neurodevelopment, and develop- mental disability; and we house a field-changing longitudinal study of childhood attachment and resilience that continues to inform the field of child development in Minnesota and around the world.

Researchers in the top-ranked Institute of Child Development and their colleagues engage with early childhood professionals, family counselors, psychologists, schools and health centers to make sure their discoveries can have a direct impact on practice.

Overcoming infant trauma

Dante Cicchetti
Child development Professor Dante Cicchetti studies the consequences of child maltreatment and neglect, as well as the conditions that lead to resilience. He has developed an intervention designed to improve parent-child relations in mal- treated infants, a key factor in reducing the physiological causes of toxic stress.

Advance educational equity

Minnesota’s future depends on the educational success of all its children so that they can meet the challenges of the 21st century.

We are studying the best ways to promote the success of first-generation, low-income, and students of color from preschool through college. Our research has identified best practices to building persistence and achievement in STEM fields across genders and ethnicities. And, we offer new and innovative pathways to teaching careers to ensure that our future teaching corps is more diverse and reflective of the students they teach.

CEHD’s research and outreach in literacy, early childhood education, and teacher preparation uniquely positions us as a leader in the effort to close the opportunity gap.

Getting schools ready

Michael Rodriguez
Educational Psychology professor Michael Rodriguez partners with schools to promote a better understanding of achievement test information, so that data use is more accurate, efficient, and equitable. Rodriguez is a founding co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center, a cross-campus collaboration that translates research to practice.

Build family resilience

The problems of families – domestic violence, poverty, divorce, childhood trauma and neglect – transcend the home. Additionally, an increasing demand for health care and social services due to a growing aging population, need for youth mental health treatment, and obesity-related disease is putting a strain on Minnesota’s resources.

CEHD faculty and students actively pursue research and community partnerships to create healthy outcomes and build family resilience.

Our current research and outreach also explores ways to strengthen parenting skills, improve family finances, and increase children’s physical activity.

Bridging research and practice

Abigail Gewirtz
Family Social Science professor Abigail Gewirtz focuses on the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based practices focused on parenting in highly-stressed families. Her research projects have included families exposed to homelessness and other adverse situations. Gewirtz leads Project ADAPT, which helps military families build parenting skills after a member returns from deployment.

Strengthen our global competitiveness

Our ability to compete globally demands that we meet the educational needs of a changing society. Our mission to educate, uplift and support the next generation is more important than ever. CEHD is a pioneer in using educational technology to get students excited about learning and in eliminating gender-based disparities in its use. Our faculty are using technology to help spread research findings even further, presenting information on-demand in ways that are accessible and easy to use. We also are placing a big focus on CEHD’s global learning experiences and programs. In a world that feels increasingly divided, we believe it’s critical that all students – regardless of financial resources – have access to the life-changing benefits of safe and enriching learning opportunities both here and abroad.

Engaging science education

Gillian Roehrig
Curriculum and Instruction professor Gillian Roehrig is working in Japan to initiate STEM partnerships, including exchange opportunities for high school students and teachers. Roehrig’s graduate student is conducting research on gender issues related to STEM teaching and learning at Japanese elementary schools.