College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Extension Programs

The Department of Family Social Science includes faculty from the University's Extension Service who ensure research is translated into programs that support and improve the lives of families and communities. Learn more about them below.

Jodi Dworkin

Dworkin’s research and outreach focuses on risk-taking among adolescents and college students, promoting positive family development, parenting adolescents and college students, and the role of technology in these relationships. A critical piece of her work is developing research-based outreach services to promote positive family development.

Current Projects

Parenting College Students: When your child goes to college
This website provides research-based comprehensive resources to parents of college students to support and empower successful transitions to college, increasing responsibility, and good decision-making skills.

Parenting 2.0
A collaborative project designed to gain a better understanding of the ways in which, and the reasons that parents use technology; and to better understand the outcomes from parents’ use of technology.

U Connect

A collaboration between the University of MN, Kentucky State University, and Tennessee State University, U Connect uses a three state model to address the critical concerns of middle school-aged children in historically vulnerable and marginalized populations.

Families with Teens

The Families with Teens program helps parents meet the challenges of raising teens. There are resources for parents and professionals (in English and Spanish) designed to build family strengths and more confident parenting, including better family communication and decision-making, and parent-teen relationships.

Seminar for Parents: Alcohol Use on Campus

Free online course designed to provide parents of college students with information about alcohol use, and provide tools to support and empower successful transitions to college, increasing responsibility, and good decision-making skills.

Seminar for Parents: Finances

Free online course for parents to understand how to talk with their college student children about making responsible decisions when it comes to managing their finances.

Jenifer McGuire

McGuire’s extension focus in Family Development considers individuals well-being within the context of family and social structures, and seeks to create systems that can best support structures for optimal development. Her research areas have focused predominantly on adolescent sexual identity and health, and the health and well-being of transgender youth.

Her current focus is on gender identity development across a broad spectrum and family relationships among transgender and genderqueer identified youth and young adults. She has collaborated closely with the Parent Education team in family development and the Center for Sexual Health over the last several years in the development of new assessment and research protocols.

Current Projects

Children Youth and Families Consortium (CYFC)

Over the past year she has served as the CYFC Scholar in Residence where her outreach focused on family and youth providers meeting the needs of transgender youth across the state. Over 1,000 providers attended CYFC research based workshops and seminars. Additional materials included:

National Center for Gender Spectrum Health
This UMN center expands longitudinal cross-site data collection opportunities for clinics serving transgender clients.

Parents Forever coparent education program
This program provides in person and online education to families in transition to support parents through changes in custody arrangements.

Marlene Stum

Stum’s research-based outreach and engagement is focused on family economics and social gerontology. She is a leader in addressing the decisions families tend to avoid - but few escape - including inheritance (transfer of property), end-of-life health care, financing long term care, and the potential for elder financial exploitation by a family member. She works collaboratively with extension educators and key community partners across the country to impact policies, practices, and to increase access to user-friendly educational tools. She is most well-known for Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?™ a program internationally recognized for supporting families in non-titled property decisions.

Current Projects

Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit: Advance Care Planning

A user-friendly, Minnesota-specific, planning tool used to identify end-of-life preferences and wishes, and to identify who you want to make decisions for you if you are medically unable.

Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?

Practical and proven resources to improve family decision-making about the transfer of personal property.

Financing Long Term Care

Unbiased, research-based information and decision-making tools.

How to Identify Financial Security Goals for Later Life

Stum provides a framework for individuals, couples and families to identify what is important to them and discuss with loved ones.

Elder Family Financial Exploitation

Stum and her team are examining family experiences when elderly people are victims of financial exploitation by someone in their own family.

Joyce Serido

Serido's research examines financial behavior at the intersection of family processes and personal well-being, with particular focus on youth and young adults. As principal investigator for the APLUS research initiative, she leads a multidisciplinary research team studying how young people develop their financial behaviors, and how these behaviors change as young people mature and take on more adult roles and responsibilities.

Current Projects

This collaboration between the University of Minnesota and the Fond Du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) aims to reduce the education and employment disparity for racial/ethnic minority youth in underserved communities in Minnesota.


Launched in spring 2015, Peer$ are undergraduate students who enroll in a one-credit internship each semester. The Peer$ meet weekly as a group to learn about the economic impact of everyday choices they make. In addition, the Peer$ conduct workshops and discussion sessions with low-income high school students about financial literacy and to inform students about free resources.

Student Loan TIPS (Texting Intervention Project)

In 2016, extension specialists in Family Resource Management from ten states in the North Central Region collaborated to develop an intervention to determine if timely access to information as young adults begin the repayment process improves repayment rates and their well-being. To date, data has been collected from more than 300 recent college graduates, including 50 University of Minnesota alumni. In spring 2019, an educational toolkit will be available online for cooperative extension professionals that includes information for implementing the program and a series of four educational podcasts on student loan repayment. The toolkit is made possible by an Association of Financial Counseling & Planning Education Mary O'Neil Grant.