The program in Comparative Human Development focuses on the study of persons over the course of life; on the social, cultural, biological, and psychological processes that jointly influence development; and on growth over time in different social and cultural settings. The study of human development also offers a unique lens through which we consider broad questions relevant to the social sciences, like the processes and impacts of social change, and the interactions of biology and culture. Faculty members in Comparative Human Development with diverse backgrounds in anthropology, biology, psychology, and sociology conduct research on topics that include (but are not limited to): the social and phenomenological experience of mental illness; the impact of socioeconomic context on growth and development; the influence of social interaction on biological functioning; the tensions inherent in living in multicultural societies; the experience and development of psychotherapists in Western and non-Western countries; and the ways in which youth in Third World countries are forging new conceptions of adulthood. Given this interdisciplinary scope, the program in Comparative Human Development provides an excellent preparation for students interested in advanced postgraduate study at the frontiers of several social science disciplines or in careers and professions that require a broad and integrated understanding of human experience and behavior, e.g., mental health, education, social work, health care, or human resource and organizational work in community or corporate settings.
Rachel Durchslag, winner of the 2012 Elizabeth Butler Award, discusses her work with the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE), as well as the School of Social Service Administration and what it means for her.