Tufts OpenCourseware
Adolescence can be a time of rapid development and of the attainment of new, positive levels of achievement. (Image from Paolo Ferla, StockXchng.)
Highlights of this Course

How can we enhance the quality of human life through the use of the science of human development? In this course we discuss how developmental science can be applied to promote the positive development of diverse youth. We discuss the ways in which practitioners offering community-based programs for young people may work in concert with researchers and their universities to enhance the lives of adolsecents. The work of the students culminates in their developing and presenting their ideas about community programs for youth and how they may effectively promote positive youth development or may be designed to better do so.

Course Description

Applied developmental science (ADS) uses research about human development to inform programs and policies pertinent to topics of social importance. Students integrate readings and class discussions of ADS theory and research with information about community-based programs. The focal topic of the seminar varies each semester, for example, building civil society through community-based child development programs, promoting the positive development of teenage mothers and their infants, or promoting healthy alternatives to interpersonal, family, and community service.

The focus this semester will be a discussion and analysis of national, and in particular, international perspectives on promoting positive development through youth participation in, and leadership of, civil society. The course will present the work of scholars and practitioners who have pursued (a) the building of civil society through the strategy of youth civic engagment and the fostering of healthy individual development; and (b) the promotion of positive development through engaging youth in their communities and in building democratic institutions. Course readings and discussions will be supplemented (as much as is feasible) by lectures from leading scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and philanthropists interested in these connections between youth development and civil society.

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Richard M. Lerner
Jack S. Peltz
Course Length
45 Hours