Family Studies at the University of St Thomas has a mission to embrace a multidisciplinary curriculum toward educating students about families and the importance of families for building healthy persons, relationships, communities and societies. To this end, and by fostering critical reflection on diverse families and an interdisciplinary approach to understanding, studying and working with families, Family Studies provides a foundation for moral leadership, social action and professional work toward advancing the common good of all families, their members, and that of the greater community and world.
In the spring of 2013, the University of St. Thomas approved its newest major: Family Studies. Yet Family Studies is not completely new at UST. It has been a strong and vibrant interdisciplinary minor at St. Thomas for over 15 years. The first “Interdisciplinary Family Studies Committee” consisted of seven UST faculty members from seven disciplines. Members of that 1996 committee included Tom Endres of Communication, Randy Carlock of Family Business, Janet Grochowski of Health and Human Performance, John Buri of Psychology, Serene Thornton of Social Work, Meg Wilkes Karraker of Sociology, and Don Briel of Theology.
One of the original founders, John Buri, recently reflected on the history and current state of Family Studies "I think the most impressive thing about FAST has been its ‘grass roots’ beginning and growth. It isn't like someone threw a lot of money and personnel resources into the idea and that's what made it grow. It's really been that FAST has met a need with a valued product, and therefore it has grown and revealed its worth - to our students, to the University, and to the broader community."