Reimagining Child Development
These are the three things Nancy Taylor believes are a must-have for students interested in Child Development and Family Studies. As Program Coordinator for the online bachelor’s in CDFS, Nancy believes it takes a special type of person to work with children.
"Dedicating your life to working with children or the elderly shows me that person has a unique character. It’s not something everyone can do, and what they are doing really makes a difference in that child’s life." Having that unique character is something Nancy knows a lot about. After earning both her master’s in counseling and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from West Virginia University, she has spent the majority of her professional career working with children of all ages.
"I absolutely love children. I would adopt every child if I could. I have children of my own, grandchildren, and I’ve always been in some type of area where I’ve worked with children. To this day, I still do counseling part-time and I work mainly with families who have children to help them with their parenting. I want the parents to be successful so that their children can be successful as well."
Nancy has been teaching in the Child Development and Family Studies program at WVU for three years, and was more than happy to take on the challenge of developing the online program that started in the fall of 2016. "The online program mirrors the on-campus version so there wasn’t a lot of developing new courses. My role has been working with the different departments to get those courses online, advising the students, and making sure they are getting the help they need."
Nancy’s hard work seems to be paying off. In only its second semester, the online Child Development and Family Studies degree has 36 students and another eight anxiously waiting to learn whether or not they have been accepted.
For Nancy, these students are more than just a name on a computer screen–they’re strong-willed individuals who will stop at nothing to keep their jobs in the field.
"A lot our students have jobs already and have been out of school for quite some time; however, because of new state and federal regulations, they are being told that they need a formal education to work with children. The fact that they are continuing their education, holding down a full-time job, and caring for their own families all at the same time is very admirable."
Working with such motivated students is something that Nancy really enjoys, and she will go out of her way to make sure each students gets the help they need. She said that making herself available to them on the weekends and helping them find funding for the degree is all part of the job. She also reaches out to students regularly to make they are understanding the material and keeping up with assignments.
"Some students, if you aren’t careful, can kind of stay in the background and get lost–but that’s what I like about online learning. It forces me to get to know my students better and come up with new ways to deliver material."
In addition to serving as the Program Coordinator, Nancy also teaches a CPR course in the program that allows her to use her undergraduate nursing degree that she earned from Fairmont State. Students in the online program come to campus for one day and earn their certification.
Nancy's ultimate goal? To provide students with the skills and education they need to make a positive impact on a child’s life.
"There is a lot of research telling us that children who have quality care are set up to be more successful in school and life in general. We are aiming to meet the need for those individuals who need to get their degrees to make that happen."