Background and Context

The Department's long past lies in the founding of KU's Department of Home Economics in 1910, which was transformed in 1964 into the Department of Human Development and Family Life - an applied behavioral science department.

Its research informed KU's Bureau of Child Research, now part of the Life Span Institute (LSI), and was informed by developmental and biobehavoral sciences.

The Department of Applied Behavioral Science has always had one of the largest and most productive behavior analysis faculty in the world with the departments' founding faculty members being Donald M. Baer (1931-2002) and Montrose Wolf (1935-2004). In 1968, its faculty members founded the field's premier research journal, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the Department then grew large and famously successful. In 1990, it moved into the Dole Human Development Center, funded, in part, in recognition of its achievements. In 2000, it had over 25 faculty members and 200 graduate students, and received the Award from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) for Enduring Programmatic Contributions. Between 2001 and 2004, it bolstered the undergraduate curriculum and made over the graduate program, the latter according to ABAI's accreditation standards. In 2004, it became the Department of Applied Behavioral Science.

Baer, D. M. (1994). A brief, selective history of the Department of Human Development and Family Life at the University of Kansas: The early years. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 26, 569-572.