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Marriage and Couples Education: An Overview of an Emerging Issue (September 2000)

Access Video View Packet (PDF)
Access Video View Educators Resource Packet (PDF)


Marriage and couples education is attracting the attention of family professionals and policymakers. Public policy has been proposed in many states that impacts educational programs for high school students and couples. Because education for couples is on the state and national agendas, land-grant universities through their research, higher education, and Extension outreach programs are examining the roles they will play in this emerging area.

In December, 1998, five Cooperative Extension Service (CES) faculty began working with the National Program Leader for Family Life and Human Development for Cooperative State Research and Extension Education Service to determine ways CES might be involved in this effort to strengthen families. This work group was composed of (in alphabetical order): Madeleine (Madge) Alberts (University of Minnesota Extension); Judy Branch (University of Vermont Extension); Rosemarie Hoffman (Texas A & M Extension); Anna Mae Kobbe (USDA/CSREES; now retired); Charlotte Shoup Olsen (Kansas State University Extension); and Ben Silliman (University of Wyoming; now with North Carolina State University Extension).

On September 7, 2000, this work group coordinated a satellite broadcast to overview the latest research findings, look at marriage and couples education from a public policy perspective, and highlight a variety of models being implemented by Land-Grant Universities to meet the needs of couples. Nationally recognized researchers and policy analysts discussed the issues and responded to questions during this 2-hour broadcast. The panelists included:

  • Bill Doherty - Professor and Director of Marriage and Family Therapy in the Department of Family Social Science, College of Human Ecology at the University of Minnesota.

  • Theodora Ooms - Former Director of the Family Impact Seminar, Inc., and presently Senior Policy Analyst and Director of the Couples and Marriage Policy Resource Center at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) in Washington, D.C.

  • David Olson - Professor Emeritus from the University of Minnesota and President of Life Innovations. He is the developer of the PREPARE/ENRICH Program for couples, and author of over 20 books and 100 articles on marriage and family.

  • Linda Waite - Author of the The Case for Marriage and researcher at the University of Chicago.

  • Anna Mae Kobbe - National Program Leader Family Life & Human Development, USDA, CSREES; Chair of the National Workgroup on Marriage and Couple Education.

The video recording of these presentations is now available in segmented and digitized format for convenient on-line viewing (prepared by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, 2007). Click here to access the video.

An Educators Resource Packet was developed as a companion resource to the broadcast, and is available in PDF format. Click here to access the Educators Resource Packet.

Funding for the videoconference was provided by the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Texas A & M Extension Family Consumer Science Program.

Sponsored by USDA/CSREES (Cooperative State Research and Extension Education Service) with the direction of the The National Marriage and Couples Education Workgroup.