Friday, July 27, 2012

FCS Faculty Present Innovative Ways to Connect Students and Professionals

On June 26th, Drs. Cindy Moseman, Nancy Morris and Deborah Sullivan presented their research at the annual conference and expo of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences in Indianapolis. This presentation was scheduled twice during the conference.
Their research “Innovative Programs to Connect Students and Professionals: Educating Families, Reducing Obesity, Developing Facebook Business Pages” described undergraduate FCS students’ collaborations with families, communities and businesses. Projects included a county-wide school readiness initiative empowering families to “Talk, Read, Play… Together”; a “Crunch Out Obesity” program; a market research analysis for a couture handbags company; and a social networking marketing project for an e-commerce firm. Connecting students and professionals in innovative ways builds positive rapport between businesses, agencies and Ashland University, as well as providing students opportunities to apply acquired knowledge in real-world settings and hone their professional skills.
Dr. Moseman, Child and Family Studies professor, described how the use of Family Life Education class assignments got FCS students involved in a multi-year, community-wide school readiness initiative through The United Way and Family and Children First Council’s initiative, “Talk, Read, Play… Together”. Students prepared family life education activities and handouts for parents and their young children – activities parents can continue at home to develop their children’s thinking and physical abilities, preparing them with the skills they will need for school. Participating in the program was an opportunity to strengthen linkages between the FCS Department and the local chapters of The United Way and Family and Children First Council.
Dr. Sullivan, Family and Consumer Sciences Education professor, discussed the benefits of incorporating service learning into a required FCS course. Doing so provides all FCS students the opportunity to get involved in community agencies. Dr. Sullivan used The United Way and YMCA’s project, “Crunch Out Obesity”, an AAFCS priority, as an example. FCS students provided educational material to Ashland County elementary students to promote better nutrition and exercise, and how to live a healthier lifestyle. Students also educated parents on the benefits of proper nutrition and an active lifestyle for their children. Participating in a service learning project allows students to apply knowledge from the classroom to real life and help people.
Dr. Morris, Fashion Merchandising professor, explained her effective strategies for linking students with professionals for course projects, giving students the real-world experience of working with entrepreneurs. In turn, businesses benefited from the students’ expertise and perspectives. Dr. Morris presented two projects that her classes have worked on. One project had students conduct market research analysis for a firm that produces couture handbags. Students analyzed the company’s competitor, which included product assortment and uniqueness, target audience, and strengths and weaknesses. The students then compared their findings to their client’s, and presented their recommendations to the client in a PowerPoint presentation. The other project had students design a social network marketing portfolio for an e-commerce firm. Students used creative techniques to display photos, videos, and information about the company and its products.
The mission of the AAFCS is to provide leadership and support for professionals whose work assists individuals, families and communities in making informed decisions about their well-being, relationships and resources to achieve optimal quality of life.




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