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. Brenna Ellison
Food choice
Dr. Brenna Ellison

As consumers, we make decisions about food every day. Dr. Brenna Ellison’s research focuses on the role of information in consumers’ food decision processes. For instance, if calorie labels are on the menu when consumers go out to eat, will they use them to make their food selections? Or, when shopping in the grocery store, how important are claims like ‘organic’, ‘humanely-raised’, or ‘non-gmo’ to the average consumer, and what do consumers think these terms mean?


Kari Keating

Building on such areas as self-awareness of personality and strengths, team development, and motivating change is the focus of AGED 480, Collaborative Leadership. Dr. Kari Keating introduces students to the concept of leadership in a community and civic engagement context, and the course encourages students to put into practice topics they’ve covered in other leadership courses.