How You Can Impact Linguistically Diverse Families with CU Online

Posted by CU Online on Oct 11, 2018 12:17:43 PM

When you think about your future career, do you want your work to be meaningful? Do you want to effect change in the world? If so, you may want to check out the careers that are recommended for “helpers,” a personality type described by researcher John Holland. The Social Holland Code says that people in this category “are typically compassionate, caring people who like to see the impact of their work on others' lives.”


Great careers for helpers include:

  • Teachers
  • Child care workers
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapists
  • Nurses & healthcare workers
  • Doctors
  • Social workers
  • Mental health counselors
  • Clinical therapists
  • Nonprofit administrators & directors
  • Court translators


Each of these careers can be approached through a number of paths, including different college degrees and resumes. Did you know that there is an academic degree that can provide a foundation for a number of these careers and prepare you to serve the needs of a specific group of people who need advocates and allies in our society? The BS in Human Development & Family Relations through CU Online, which is the University of Colorado Denver’s online platform, can prepare you to work with and support linguistically and culturally diverse families and individuals.

The Impact of Cultural & Linguistic Diversity

Linguistically diverse families are those whose lives are impacted by the intersection of multiple languages. In the United States, we have a rich history of linguistic diversity. For example, this could include a monolingual family who has recently immigrated to the United States and does not yet speak English. It could include a bilingual family who has immigrated, already with the knowledge of both their national language and English. This doesn’t just apply to immigrants, of course. Couples from different linguistic backgrounds may choose to raise their children using one of the two languages or both.


Linguistic diversity affects how these families interact with their communities and how connected they feel to the people they interact with daily. It’s easy to imagine the ways that this kind of diversity can be an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on the situation. There are great professional opportunities for people who were raised speaking multiple languages, but at the same time, being the child of parents who don’t speak English could create situations that the child is not equipped to handle. For example, if the child is obligated to translate for a medical provider, he probably isn’t able to effectively communicate complex medical situations. Another example is in school - what if the child’s parents aren’t able to communicate effectively with a teacher because of a language difference, and therefore she doesn’t receive the services that would benefit her?


Similarly, culturally diverse families are those affected by the intersection of multiple cultures. There is often overlap between these two groups. Language and culture influence the ways we understand the world and interact with it. They determine how we are perceived by others and what opportunities we have.


A degree in Human Development and Family Relations from CU Online is an interdisciplinary program that allows you to develop a framework for supporting families who fit these categories of linguistic and cultural diversity. It’s an ideal field for helpers. Whether you are picking a major for the first time as a traditional student or looking to finish a college degree in a field that will allow you to pursue your professional aspirations, this is definitely a program that is worth your consideration.


Here are the four key ways you can help linguistically and culturally diverse families by completing this program:

#1: Through this program, you will build a foundation for understanding how culture and language affect us.

Culture affects us all in ways we don’t necessarily even understand. We are shaped not just by our life experiences, but also factors such as national history, community history, economics, family background, language, media, health, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and more. These are some of the things you will study in our program in order to understand the full scope of cultural influences.

#2: You will learn about the various professional applications for this field of study.

One of the main goals of this field of study is to help people from linguistically and culturally diverse backgrounds to overcome challenges and self-actualize. In other words, how can you help individuals fully develop as human beings who are economically sound, emotionally healthy, and able to meet their physical needs? We will make sure that you are able to understand the nearly limitless professional applications of this degree. Our graduates typically go directly into a related professional career, or they prepare for further education in the form of graduate school. Grad school options include law school, Master’s degrees in clinical counseling or mental health therapy, and education.


#3: You will be connected in a family-like atmosphere with faculty who mentor and coach you towards a career that truly helps people.

One of the things our faculty value most about their teaching positions in our program is the ability to foster a community that feels like a family. We do not leave you floundering in your classes, but rather, we support and challenge you. Even though we have traditionally been a face-to-face program on the Denver campus, we are excited to transition the same one-on-one faculty/student mentoring relationship to the online program.

#4: If you want, you can take your courses entirely in Spanish.

Did you know that CU Denver’s Human Development & Family Relations degree is the first in the nation that can be taken completely in Spanish? We are excited to have integrated this incredible opportunity into our programming that allows students to choose to take their classes in English, Spanish, or a combination. This applies to both our on campus classes and our online classes. We believe this demonstrates our commitment to serving linguistically diverse families, by graduating students who have been learning and communicating in one of the country’s fastest growing languages.


If you want to learn more about our program and how you can support families and individuals who need advocates working in every sector of our society, contact us for more information or to apply today.  


Topics: BS in Human Development and Family Relations

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