Productive, Empowered Communities

Imagine...Productive, Empowered Communities

Communities thrive when their members do. Learning what’s needed for individuals, families, and society to flourish is the cornerstone of social science scholarship in the College of ACES. We study the complex interactions in families and foster their resilience among the stresses of modern life. We are discovering how children and young people can best grow to become adults who contribute effectively to society.

Scholarly knowledge becomes action in ACES, through work in educational settings, youth development programs, and community services touching thousands of young people and families. ACES develops leaders at all stages of life, starting with 4-H members and the students we prepare for successful careers. The innovative new leadership studies program at the University of Illinois makes its home in ACES.

Decision makers come to ACES for expertise that influences social policies and economic prospects, extending from local communities to the global stage. An array of disciplines, including policy, law, economics, leadership, vocational education, and communication converge here, facilitating problem solving from multiple perspectives. Scholars focus on finding solutions to help improve quality of life.

In ACES, we are applying science and technology in smarter and more sustainable ways, teaching people to effectively manage relationships and finances, and bringing to light new ways to nurture communities.

Other Features

Highlighted Research

Dr. Kelly Tu
Understanding stress in youth
Dr. Kelly Tu
Today’s youth encounter various stressors or challenges in their everyday life. Yet we find that not all youth are equally at risk for problems in the face of stress. Dr. Kelly Tu’s research focuses on youths’ physiological and behavioral responses in the context of stress, parents’ role in helping youth to navigate and manage these challenges, and the interplay between these individual and family processes. The goal of Tu’s work is to better understand why some youth are more vulnerable to stress whereas others are more resilient in order to inform efforts to support positive youth development and well-being.


Dr. Erica Thieman

Coming to the University of Illinois as a freshman or transfer student can be intimidating. ACES 101 helps new students enrolled in the College of ACES adapt to college life. The class offers tips for future professional success, study suggestions, the opportunity to see some of the College of ACES research, and tips for simply surviving college.

“This course is designed to make sure