The Department of Home Economics began in 1872 as the School of Domestic Science and Art.1 The School was established on a practical basis in 1874 under Louisa C. Allen.2 Its purpose was "to provide a full course of instruction in the arts of the household, and the sciences relating thereto."3 The major objective of the curriculum was "to give to earnest and capable young women an education, not lacking in refinement, but which shall fit them for their great duties and trusts, making them the equals of their educated husbands and associates, and enabling them to bring the aids of science and culture to the all-important labors and vocations of womanhood."4 In 1887 the School of Domestic Science became part of the College of Natural Science.5 In 1881, the School was dissolved due to the resignation of the School's professor in 1880 and an apparent lack of interest among students.6 In 1899, the Department of Household Economics was established as an interdisciplinary program with the aim of offering "a group of courses selected from various departments to form a complete scientific basis for planning, decorating, and managing a home."7
In 1901, the name of the Department was changed to the Department of Home Economics. 8 In 1974, the Department was reorganized as the School of Human Resources and Family Studies.9 Approval was gained in 1978 for restructuring the School into four departments: Family and Consumer Economics, Food and Nutrition, Human Development and Family Ecology, Textiles and Interior Design.10 The School included the four original departments (later referred to as "divisions"), plus the Home Economics Education Unit.11 Both undergraduate and graduate programs were offered, including a more diversified graduate degree in "general human resources and family studies."12 The Human Development and Family Ecology Division operated a Child Development Laboratory.13 The Food and Nutrition Division operates a Foods Research Laboratory and a Sensory Evaluation Laboratory.14 In 1991 the Textiles and Interior Design program, referred to as simply Interior Design, was eliminated by the Board of Trustees.15
On May 11, 1995, the Board of Trustees approved the renaming and reorganization of the College. It was renamed the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences and several changes were made in the organization of departments and divisions.16 The School of Human Resources and Family Studies was dissolved and its divisions were allocated elsewhere. The Division of Human Development and Family Studies was combined with three other entities to create the Department of Human and Community Development. The three other entities were: the faculty in rural sociology from the Department of Agricultural Economics; the faculty in 4-H and Youth Programs from the Cooperative Extension Service; and the academic programs from the Office of Agricultural Communications and Education.17 The Department "prepares students for a variety of careers in human services, early childhood education, and public service, or for advanced study in individual and family development."18 Graduate programs are also offered leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in community and rural studies or in human development and family studies.19
With the 1995 reorganization, the Division of Consumer Sciences from the School of Human Resources and Family Studies became part of the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics and the Division of Foods and Nutrition became part of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.20
1. Board of Trustees Transactions, 6th Report, March 11, 1873, p. 70.
2. Ibid., 8th Report, I.I.U. Directory, p. 67.
3. Ibid., 7th Report, Catalog and Circular of the I.I.U. 1874-75, p. 40.
4. Ibid., 8th Report, I.I.U. Directory, p. 67.
5. Ibid., 9th Report, Character and Organization of the University, p. 147 and p. 156.
6. 10th Report, Sept. 14, 1880, p. 251; 11th Report, March 9, 1881, p. 178; December 14, 1880, p. 162. Another factor in the discontinuation of the School of Domestic Science was a faculty recommendation.
7. Catalog & Registers, 1898-99, p. 165.; 1900-01, p. 149.
8. Board of Trustees Transactions, 30th Report, July 17, 1918, p. 19.
9. Illinois Alumni News, 53:1, Jan. 1974, p. 5; Undergraduate Courses Catalog, 1974-76, p. 210.
10. Home Economics Alumni Association Newsletter, Spring, 1978, p. 2.
11. Undergraduate Programs Catalog, 1987-89, p. 97.
12. Graduate Programs Catalog, 1988-90, pp. 108-11.
13. Student/Staff Directory, 1988-89, p. 32.
14. Telephone Interview, Feb. 9, 1989.
15. Board of Trustees Transactions, 66th report, February 14, 1991, p. 181.
16. Board of Trustees Transactions, 68th Report, May 11, 1995, p. 277-8.
17. University of Illinois, Faculty and Student Senate, Urbana-Champaign Senate, meeting minutes, March 27, 1995, EP 94.33, p. 35.
18. Programs of Study 2001-2003, p. 58.
19. Ibid., p. 235.
20. University of Illinois, Faculty and Student Senate, Urbana-Champaign Senate, meeting minutes, March 27, 1995, EP 94.33, p. 35; SEE Agricultural and Consumer Economics, RG 8/4 and Food Science and Human Nutrition, RG 8/9.