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Human Environmental Sciences

School web site: http://hesc.uark.edu

Rural Sociology web site: http://www.uark.edu/depts/rsocweb/index.html
 
Apparel Studies
 
Research in the Apparel Studies area focuses on textile science. Emphasis is on value-added products from renewable/recyclable resources. Kenaf value-added products have been developed in the textile science laboratory for utilization in the Arkansas craft industry. Some of these products are rope baskets, spun yarn for use in knitted and crocheted hats and sweaters, plus marbleized paper.
 
Another emphasis of the textile science research program is related to environmental degradation of fabrics. These fabrics have included cotton, polyester and polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens; cotton, rayon and Tencel wovens; and kenaf, acrylic having a microbial finish, plus organic cotton needle-punched nonwovens. These fabrics are utilized within the automotive, medical and other nonwoven product industries. Because Arkansas is the "Natural State," such nonwoven products should be environmentally friendly, biodegradable and/or renewable.
 
Chemical, enzymatic and biological kenaf retting methods are being explored. Biological retting takes about six weeks to complete the separation of kenaf fiber from the bark/core. If chemical and enzymatic methods could be developed to reduce time and energy efforts, the textile industry would be the major benefactor, as well as the state of Arkansas. Kenaf could become a viable alternative cash crop for the state.
 
Research findings related to these projects may be found in the Textile Research Journal, Textile Industries, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Book of Papers, and at the USDA web site.
 
Human Development, Family Sciences, and Rural Sociology
 
Research in Human Development, Family Sciences focuses on quality of life issues regarding children and families. The range of research projects is broad and covers the life span and various aspects of family and community life. Research in Rural Sociology focuses on social, economic, and environmental aspects of rural life throughout the world. Some recent faculty research projects include:

* Retirement in Rural America: Preparation for and Realities of Later Life in Arkansas
* The Role of Transportation in Service Access and the Elderly
* Defining Abstinence Education at the State Level
* Addiction and the Family
* Relationship Quality
* Normative Family Obligations
* Issues in Family Diversity
* Welfare to Work
* Private Strategies, Public Policies, and Food System Performance
* Community and Social Context of Natural Resource Management and Decision-Making: Focus on Forestry
* Rural Population Health: Status, Risk, and Care
* Evaluation of the Strong Families/Safe Communities Project
* Issues in Quality Child Care
* Cross-Sector Career Development Training in Two Laboratory Programs for Children
* Early Childhood Professional Development/Training Project

Research studies by faculty members have been published in journals, such as The Journal of Rural Health, Society and Natural Resources, Financial Planning and Counseling, Family Relations and Human Development/Family Economics and Resource Management Biennial, Journal of Marriage and the Family, Journal of Family Issues, AIDS Education and Prevention, International Electronic Journal of Health Education, Adolescence, and Studies in Art Education: A Journal of Issues and Research in Art Education. In addition, Beginnings, a joint publication of the School of Human Environmental Sciences and the Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education in the Arkansas Department of Human Services, is disseminated quarterly to child care centers in Arkansas.
 
Interior Design
 
Interior Design faculty members have a newly funded research project that will seek to provide information regarding the influence of the built environment on older adults. Principal objectives are to clarify the definition of home and to investigate the contribution of interior elements, including lighting, to the concept of home. Additionally, territoriality and privacy mechanisms used by older adults in congregate living environments will be examined. Data will be collected using semi-structured interviews, participant questionnaires, photo-documentation, and environmental assessment instruments. Findings will be disseminated through refereed journals such as the Journal of Interior Design and Environment and Behavior.


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University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture
Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
E214 AFLS Building
Fayetteville, AR 72701 • USA
Phone (479) 575-4446
Fax (479) 575-6363

University of Arkansas System • Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2301 South University Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72204 • USA
Phone (501) 671-2000