Rick Settersten, a professor of human development and family sciences at Oregon State University, has been named the first endowed director of OSU’s Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families.
Tammy Bray, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, said Settersten will help to bring together the Hallie Ford Center’s faculty and students to conduct pioneering interdisciplinary research.
“Rick is uniquely qualified to guide our core researchers from early childhood development and family studies,” Bray said. “He is a superb researcher, a published author, a dynamic teacher, a born leader, as well as the father of two young children.”
Settersten’s recent research has probed what the extended process of becoming an adult today means for young people, their families, and the nation. He conducted much of this research as part of the decade-long MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood and Public Policy, covering topics that range from education, work, and finances, to dating, cohabitation, marriage, and parenting, to relationships with friends and parents.
In December 2010, Settersten and Barbara Ray’s book on this topic, “Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It’s Good for Everyone,” will be published by Random House.
Settersten’s scholarship regularly crosses disciplinary boundaries as well as different periods of life. He can also be found working on questions related to aging, tracing the consequences of early life experience for functioning in late life. This expertise will help him create synergy between the Hallie Ford Center and the Center for Healthy Aging Research at OSU, of which he is also a member.
Settersten’s research has also been supported by divisions of the National Institutes of Health. Settersten received a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and has held fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education in Berlin, the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern, and the Spencer Foundation in Chicago. Before coming to OSU, Settersten was professor of sociology and co-director of the Schubert Center for Child Studies at Case Western Reserve University.
Hallie Ford, a noted Oregon philanthropist, provided funds toward a new building that will house the Center, as well as the endowed director position.
The center supports research and outreach programs that address such issues as self-regulation, school readiness, character development, obesity, problem behavior, and parenting education. Programs of the center also explore the special needs of “vulnerable” populations, including children with developmental disabilities, diverse families, and families in rural communities.
“These are trying social and economic times for children and families across Oregon and our nation,” Settersten said. “In the College of Health and Human Sciences at OSU, we’re making children and families a top priority of our research and outreach efforts, with the intention of improving their health and well-being. What better legacy could one possibly wish for?”