The National Symposium on Family Issues

FamilyClick Here to Visit the 2019 Family Symposium Page

Each year, Penn State’s Population Research Institute and Social Science Research Institute, along with departments and centers in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Health & Human Development, hold a two-day symposium focused on a key issue facing families. Each fall, about 200 scholars and policy experts attend what is now known as the National Symposium on Family Issues to consider a theme of multidisciplinary interest.

The Family Symposium is designed to focus on topics that appeal to (and are presented by) scholars from multiple disciplines who study family issues. Nine of the top scholars in the field of family research convene to present and critique research on the focal topic, consider future directions for research, and discuss how programs and public policy can effectively improve the state of families. The event gathers distinguished researchers, young scholars, and students in diverse fields like family studies, child development, sociology, psychology, education, economics, anthropology, and policy studies, as well as health and human service providers and policy makers.

Past symposia have focused on issues such as: emerging methods in family research, African American families, diverging destinies of families in an era of increasing inequality, transitions to adulthood, and Hispanic children in immigrant families.

Attendees include Penn State students, faculty, and alumni; students and faculty from other institutions; community, state, and national policy makers; program staff; and social service administrators. The symposium is co-funded annually by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a number of Penn State departments and centers, including the Population Research Institute and the Social Science Research Institute.

Students are exposed to some of the most important issues in family science and become better scholars and practitioners by learning about the dimensions and complexity of problems facing families. Each symposium includes a reception designed to encourage students to network with world-renowned family scholars. Graduate students are also invited to attend a luncheon with their choice of presenters.

The symposium is organized by Susan M. McHale, Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and Director of the Social Science Research Institute and Children, Youth and Families Consortium; Valarie King, Professor of Sociology, Demography, and Human Development, and Director of the Family Demography Training Program at the Population Research Institute; and Jennifer Glick, Director, Population Research Institute and Professor of Sociology.


NSFI Book Series

Books based on each symposium bring the event to an even wider audience. The volumes have received favorable reviews and are used as reference works by faculty, students, and practitioners. The symposium is a landmark event each year in the ongoing study of families. It reaches a wide audience and affects the national conversation on a very important topic. View the NSFI book series.


Next Symposium:
27th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues: Families and Food
October 21-22, 2019
Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA

The Nittany Lion Inn is ADA compliant per Penn State standards.


For more information, please contact:
Carolyn Scott


Past Symposia:

Date Event Download
10/22/18 to 10/23/18 26th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues-Rural Families and CommunitiesNittany Lion Inn, University Park campus, State College, PA iCal
10/23/17 to 10/24/17 25th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues - Families and TechnologyNittany Lion Inn, Boardroom, University Park, PA iCal
10/24/16 to 10/25/16 24th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues - Sleep across the Life Course: Family Influences & ImpactsNittany Lion Inn, Ballroom, University Park campus, State College, PA iCal
10/26/15 to 10/27/15 23rd Annual National Symposium on Family Issues – Boys and Men in African American FamiliesNittany Lion Inn, Ballroom, University Park campus, State College, PA iCal
10/13/14 to 10/14/14 22nd Annual National Symposium on Family Issues – Gender and Couple RelationshipsNittany Lion Inn - University Park, PA iCal
10/07/13 to 10/08/13 21st Annual Symposium on Family Issues – Diverging Destinies: Families in an Era of Increasing InequalityNittany Lion Inn, University Park campus iCal
10/08/12 to 10/09/12 20th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Emerging Methods in Family ResearchNittany Lion Inn, University Park campus iCal
10/04/11 to 10/05/11 19th Annual National Symposium on Family Issues - Families and Child HealthNittany Lion Inn, University Park campus iCal
10/12/10 to 10/13/10 18th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Early Adulthood in a Family ContextNittany Lion Inn, University Park campus iCal
10/08/09 to 10/09/09 17th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Biosocial Research Contributions to Understanding Family Processes and ProblemsNittany Lion Inn, Penn State iCal
10/23/08 to 10/24/08 16th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Growing Up Hispanic: Health and Development of Children of ImmigrantsNittany Lion Inn iCal
10/08/07 to 10/09/07 15th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Work-Life Policies that Make a Real Difference for Individuals, Families, and OrganizationsNittany Lion Inn, Penn State iCal
10/05/06 to 10/06/06 14th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Intergenerational CaregivingPenn State University iCal
10/13/05 to 10/14/05 13th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Early Disparities in School Readiness: How do Families Contribute to Successful and Unsuccessful Transitions into School? iCal
10/12/04 to 10/13/04 12th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Romance and Sex in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: Risks and OpportunitiesPenn State University iCal
10/09/03 to 10/10/03 11th Annual Family Symposium on Family Issues - The New Population Problem: Why Families in Developed Countries Are Shrinking and What it MeansPenn State University iCal
10/10/02 to 10/11/02 10th Annual Symposium on Family Issues - Work-Family Challenges for Low-Income Parents and Their ChildrenPenn State University iCal
12/06/01 to 12/07/01 9th Annual Symposium - Children's Influence on Family Dynamics: The Neglected Side of Family RelationshipsPenn State University iCal
10/30/00 to 10/31/00 8th Annual Symposium -- Just Living Together: Implications of Cohabitation for Children, Families, and Social PolicyPenn State University iCal
11/01/99 to 11/02/99 7th Annual Symposium -- Couples in ConflictPenn State University iCal
11/05/98 to 11/06/98 6th Annual Symposium -- Does It Take a Village? Community Effects on Children, Adolescents, and FamiliesPenn State University iCal
10/30/97 to 10/31/97 5th Annual Symposium -- Transitions to Adulthood in a Changing Economy: No Work, No Family, No Future?Penn State University iCal
10/31/96 to 11/01/96 4th Annual Symposium -- Men in Families: When Do They Get Involved? What Difference Does it Make?Penn State University iCal
11/02/95 to 11/03/95 3rd Annual Symposium -- Immigration and the Family: Research and Policy on U.S. ImmigrantsPenn State University iCal
10/31/94 to 11/01/94 2nd Annual Symposium -- Family-School Links: How Do They Affect Educational Outcomes?Penn State University iCal
10/14/93 to 10/15/93 1st Annual Symposium -- Stepfamilies: Who Benefits? Who Does Not?Penn State University iCal