Critical Science Academy

The Critical Science Academy is an essential experience for all who are dedicated to the current and future work of Family & Consumer Sciences.  This self-directed online program has 8 modules. Each module uses the FCS Critical Science perspective to promote reasoning for action needed to address critical social issues. With this unified understanding, we will have a greater impact for supporting the individuals, families, and communities we serve.

The Academy experience shows how the use of the Critical Science perspective will strengthen our shared FCS professional practice.  It will inspire a renewed commitment to the intellectual purposes of the field.  As a unified profession, we will be able to address complex evolving problems. The Academy aims to generate deeper levels of sustained engagement for confronting injustices. The experience can transform us to better serve others. 

The AAFCS Critical Science Academy is divided into the following modules:

  1. Turning Point: Transforming Our Professional Practice 
  2. Moral-Ethical Reasoning And Decision Making in Family & Consumer Sciences 
  3. What is Mission: Making Personal and Professional Connections 
  4. What is Philosophy and Its' Significance to FCS? 
  5. Practical Reasoning in Family and Consumer Sciences 
  6. Developing a Practical Intellectual Community
  7. Critical Science - A Lens to Illuminate and Alleviate Injustice
  8. Promoting Justice:  Transforming Our Professional Practice

Each module has been pre-approved for 2.5 PDUs (total of 20 PDUs).

Additionally, five ZOOM workshops will be held to facilitate further discussion and action.

  1. Mission-Enabled Practice
  2. Critically Inspired Practice
  3. Practical Reasoning Workshop
  4. The FCS Practical Intellectual Community as a Tool for Change
  5. Re-Visioning FCS Profession

Each ZOOM workshop has been pre-approved for 1.5 PDUs (total of 7.5 PDUs).

For Spring 2024, two ZOOM Community Issues sessions will be held to facilitate further discussion and action on issues pertinent to the community.

Join the Critical Science Academy “Lake Placid to Public Policy: Activating Critical Science to Address Community Issues–A 2-Part Series,” where participants will build from their experiences with the CSA modules and workshops, to explore an issue pertinent to one’s community, develop insights, and begin building momentum to positively impact the wellbeing of all.  Click the links below to register for the "issues" session.

Each ZOOM Community Issues Session has been pre-approved for 1.5 PDUs (total of 3 PDUs).

Click the button to register! Upon registration for the Critical Science Academy, registrants will receive instructions to access the sessions and resources.

The AAFCS Critical Science Academy is a member benefit and available to AAFCS members ONLY. 

Not a member, click here to JOIN TODAY!

Janine Duncan, Ph.D., CFCS

Dr. Janine Duncan has served as a teacher educator of Family & Consumer Sciences for 16 years, holding her current appointment at Purdue University.  It is through her work with FCS pre-service educators, where she has explored the FCS discipline’s commitment to Critical Sciences and its applications to empowering the critical literacy and capacity of secondary students.  Active professionally, Dr. Duncan began her service as the Missouri Affiliate leader (2008-2014), and has worked with the Say Yes to FCS initiative since 2014.  Currently, she works with the AAFCS DEI Community, serves as an ACTE Inclusion, Access, Equity, & Diversity (IAED) mentor, and serves the International Federation for Home Economics as the Vice President for the Region of Americas. 

Janet Laster, Ph.D.

Janet F. Laster is a Faculty Emeritus of the Department of Human Sciences (formerly of the Department of Family Consumer Sciences Education (FCS)) of The Ohio State University (OSU).  She created the Practical Action Teaching Model and collaborated with colleagues in Ohio and ten other states to transform from a technical competency-based program to a practical problem-based FCS program.  Their collaboration began with two International Thinking Conferences organized and hosted by Dr. Laster.  This collaboration resulted in monographs, state curriculum guides, and three AAFCS FCS Teacher Education Yearbooks which she edited and culminated with the Yearbook, FCS Curriculum: Toward a Critical Science Approach and the FCS Chapter of the Association of Curriculum and Instruction (ASCD) Curriculum Handbook.  Besides teaching critical-science-based curriculum, instruction and research courses, she also taught general education courses, including American Family Issues and Social Action, and developed practical-problem-based teaching resources for Ohio’s Work and Family Life Resource Guides. Currently, she facilitates her church’s community Forums focusing on social justice issues.

Cynthia Miller, PhD, CFCS, CPFFE

Dr. Cynthia (Cindy) Miller is an Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences Education in the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University. She is currently serving as a member of the AAFCS’ Nominating Committee, Taskforce for Program Advancement, Past President’s Unit, and as a mentor for the Leadership Academy. Cindy has served as Past President (2019-20), President (2018-19), and Board of Director At-Large (2017-2020) for AAFCS. She has been teaching a Critical Science in FCS course and implementing it in a family public policy course for four years, and enjoys working with a group of AAFCS members’ that have an immense background in critical science in FCS for this Critical Sciences Academy.

Gladys Gary Vaughn, Ph.D.

Gladys Gary Vaughn is currently employed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and serves as Chief of the Employment Branch in the Compliance Division. She joined the Federal Service in May 1998 as National Program Leader for Human Sciences Research in the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (now National Institute for Food and Agriculture). At USDA, she designs and leads outreach programming for minority, socially disadvantaged and under-served farmers and ranchers and serves as Chief of the Cultural Transformation Division. Prior to joining the Federal Service, she was a senior staff member at AAFCS for more than 21 years, and served as director of research, public affairs, grants and fund development.  Vaughn holds the Bachelor of Science degree from Florida A&M University, a Master of Science degree from Iowa State University, a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Maryland, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Fontbonne University in St. Louis. Her life’s work has focused on the well-being of farm and refugee families, children, families, and the contributions and legacy of women’s organizations. She has authored and co-authored grants totaling more than $12 million for innovative, award-winning and widely replicated programs on school-aged child care, adolescent pregnancy prevention, family planning, and nutrition education for children. She is author or co-author of award winning curricular focused on nutrition, 4-H, and prevention of adolescent pregnancy; has published in professional journals and popular literature, and is co-author of two signal books which help fill a critical intellectual void in the historical record of the contributions of Black Women. She has traveled extensively to 52 states and territories, and 37 foreign countries, and serves or has served on the boards of national organizations including Habitat for Humanity International, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Black Women’s Agenda and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  Over her 50-year career, she has earned a reputation as a compassionate writer and orator, one who is outspoken on professional and societal issues related to diversity, inclusion and social justice.

Virginia Vincenti, CFCS, Ph.D.

Virginia Vincenti, PhD, CFCS, Professor Emeritus of Human Development & Family Sciences, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Wyoming (UW), has five years as a county Extension educator in central Pennsylvania & 12 years of experience as an FCS teacher educator at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst & the University of Wyoming. While in graduate school at The Pennsylvania State University, she studied Marjorie Brown & Bea Paolucci’s Home Economics: A Definition & attended a regional & national conference on their publication. During her 25 years at UW, she incorporated critical science into all her courses. Her historical & philosophical research of the field, including her dissertation, articles, book chapters, & her co-edited book, Rethinking Home Economics: Women & the History of a Profession, raised critical questions & highlighted contributions of leaders in the field. She has sustained engagement in FCS professional associations, including AAFCS state affiliates, and 19 national leadership positions, including Chair of the Teacher Education Section, 2003-2004 President, member of the Leadership Council, Associate & Executive Editors of the Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal, twice chair the Taskforce for Program Advancement, & membership in the Nominating, Public Policy Committees, the Global Perspectives, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Communities. She also co-chairs the IFHE 2022 World Congress Development Committee.