Housing and Society is a senior-level course at Ball State University (Muncie, Indiana, USA). The focus of the course changes each semester, exploring the relationship between American housing norms and one or more of the following factors…public policy, mass media, fine/applied art, literature, entertainment, education, or personal relationships. The course emphasizes how these factors reflect and influence housing beliefs, decisions, and aspirations. Specific objectives of the course include: 1. Describe personal housing beliefs, decisions, and aspirations 2. Identify national housing characteristics and societal housing norms 3. Discuss factors that influence housing beliefs and decisions 4. Evaluate the way housing norms are communicated and reflected in a variety of contexts 5. Develop and implement plans to address a relevant housing issue 6. Present project results in a formal presentation 7. Prepare a symposium/conference abstract of project results 8. Reflect on personal housing beliefs, decisions, and aspirations In Spring 2021, the focus of the course was how housing tenure status norms (buying vs. renting) and housing structure norms (single-family vs. multifamily) are portrayed in elementary education. Students worked with a variety of educators and housing professionals to examine these issues, and ultimately used Indiana state standards for the elementary grades to create a series of lesson plans for grades K-5. In Spring 2022, the class is using the momentum from these earlier activities to create a full-range of professional development materials for elementary teachers, to expose them and their students to greater diversity in housing options. The conference presentation will provide an overview of the need for housing education for elementary educators, the process for creating the professional development materials, and plans to share the training materials with educators.
Dr. Carla Earhart is Professor of Property Management at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, USA. After earning graduate degrees in Housing from Oklahoma State University, she teaches courses in housing and property management in the Department of Applied Business Studies in the Miller College of Business. Dr. Earhart’s scholarly interests focus on attitudes and preferences toward housing options. She is especially interested in the influence of education, public policy, media, and the humanities on attitudes toward rental apartments. Her work has been presented at national and international conferences on housing, environmental design, family and consumer sciences, library science, sociology, hospitality, and business. Her work has been published in a variety of journals, books, magazines, and newspapers. As a result of her work, Dr. Earhart has been recognized by the university and by a number of academic and professional organizations. She was awarded a regional Emmy nomination as executive producer, overseeing the student-produced documentary “Somewhere Called Home”.
Hannah McKellar is an Undergraduate Honors Fellow studying Elementary Education and Special Education at Ball State University. In addition to assisting Dr. Earhart in 2021 and 2022 with classes and projects related to housing education for children, Hannah is also active in a variety of campus organizations, including the Kappa Delta Pi education honors organization. She will graduate in May 2023 after completing her student teaching.