Graduate Certificate

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Students adhere to the drop and refund policies and deadlines of their home university.
Fall 2024 Course Information
History, Child Development, and Equity

Course Description
Child development theory and research have had a profound influence on early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies, programs, and services in the United States and internationally. In eight weeks (three hours/week), this course provides an overview of the research on young children (birth to age five), demographics of this population, critical domains of development, significance of early brain development, and issues of inequality and disproportionality that deeply shape child outcomes. It attempts to explore what develops in the first years of life, why this period is so critical, what have been the central questions that have driven both research and policy, whether policies and research have helped to reduce inequality and advance equity, and what critical issues are still unanswered (or even unasked). The course familiarizes students with the cultural ideas, beliefs, values, and social purposes that have shaped and continue to influence children and families in the United States. Further, the course presents research from a range of disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, education, neuroscience, economics) to help students understand the complexity of developmental factors relevant to ECEC policy development and program design. The goals of the course are to help students understand the importance of early development, the critical need to develop ECEC policies grounded in research and practice, and the effectiveness and limitations of ECEC policies to address fundamental issues of inequality. Finally, the course is intended to enable students to place their own professional interests and concerns in a broader historical and educational context.

Stephanie Shine
Office: 806-834-4664

Campus Coordinator

For course access questions, contact the teaching university’s campus coordinator. For enrollment questions, contact your home university campus coordinator.
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Disability Support Services

To request accommodations for this course, contact the disability support office at your home university. You must register each semester and for each course. Read more about the Great Plains IDEA process for requesting accommodations.



Course Access
Approximately two weeks before the first day of class at Texas Tech University, the TTU campus coordinator, Ashlee Murden, will email instructions to each student enrolled in the courses taught by Texas Tech. This e-mail will contain information regarding the setup of their eRaider access through the campus IT Help Central department. If assistance is needed regarding setup of their eRaider access, IT Help Central can be contacted at 806-742-4357 (HELP) or toll-free at 877-484-3573 or Students will need to identify themselves as a GPIDEA/AGIDEA student to IT Help personnel for proper guidance. The e-mail will also include information about accessing the Texas Tech Blackboard system for their courses. Courses will be available on the first day of class, but may not be available prior to that date.

Exam Proctor

This course does not require an exam proctor.

Synchronous Components

This course does not include synchronous components.

University Members
Members of the Great Plains IDEA are universities accredited by a regional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Member universities recruit, admit and graduate students, teach in an academic program and contribute to the leadership and maintenance of the alliance. Membership in the alliance is a selective process that engages institutional leadership at all levels.

Shaun Libby is a graduate student in the youth development program at Michigan State.It is incredibly refreshing to see major universities working together in order to offer such high-quality degree programs and experiences for their students all while keeping tuition rates affordable. I had a roughly 10-year gap between finishing my bachelor’s degree and starting my master’s program. I have found all of the faculty at the different universities extremely welcoming and encouraging, which has made my return to school so much smoother.

– – Shaun Libby, Youth Development Master's Degree Student,
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