Meet Alicia Pieper, Assistant Professor of Human Development & Family Science

This article appeared in the March 10 edition of the Canton Repository. Written by Patricia Faulhaber. Photos by Julie Vennitti Botos.

Kent State University at Stark assistant professor Alicia Pieper teaches in the Human Development and Family Science department. She taught for several years in the Canton Local School District and then started teaching at Kent State University in the 1969-70 school year.

“My first year at Kent included the May 4th shooting in 1970, which made an interesting introduction to university teaching," she said. "In the 1960s there were not a lot of career choices for women. You could become either a teacher or a nurse. Fortunately, teaching was a wonderful career choice for me.

"There is nothing more rewarding than going into a restaurant or an event and having someone tell me that they enjoyed my class, learned a lot from me or sometimes indicate that I changed their life.”

Pieper earned bachelor's and master's degrees, respectively, at Heidelberg College and Kent State University.

She and her husband, John, live in Plain Township. Her husband is a retired educator in Canton City Schools. They have two children, Johnny Pieper who lives locally and works for Farmers Insurance, and Dr. Cassandra Pieper Coakley, who owns a dental practice in Montpelier, Vermont.

She also has six grandchildren. Johnny’s children are Cole and Luke and Cassie has four children, Jack, Melissa, Dylan and Riley. The family dog is Rudy.


5 questions with Jonathan Stump:

What do you feel a college education adds to a person’s life and why is it important?

One of the advantages I see is personal growth. We all experience the ideas of our own family and the community around us.

College opens our minds to the world around us. We become familiar with classmates (many from different backgrounds, experiences, ages and interests). Your education includes college professors who are experts in many different fields, exposing you to subject matter, information and outlooks that you may never have thought about.

Colleges require all students to take “core courses” that provide students with a cross-section of knowledge seen as valuable for success in their life. After this exposure, hopefully, students find an area or areas that they find interesting, maybe even exciting.

Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) focuses on families and the people in those families. The stages of a person’s life from birth to aging/death. We study different family formations (mom, dad and the kids, same sex families, single parents, grandparents raising grandchildren, blended families, divorce families, etc.).

Society is changing and as a result families are changing. HDFS prepares students to work in the “helping professions” where our students work in the areas of human services, foster care programs, adult day care, counseling, child development, hospital family support professionals, programs affecting children and families and many more.

Why did you select to teach in the Human Development and Family Science Department?

The first dean at Kent State Stark was Jack Morehart, and his vision was to make a two-year university education available to Stark residents.

Morehart had a technology background and thought a home economics program would be an asset to the community. The department we created had a sewing lab, textile lab, a food kitchen and dining space. I was the HDFS program and teaching all the first two-year courses.

But as time changed, so did the curriculum of the department. Presently, I teach interpersonal family studies which is part of the core courses required by Kent State students, Introduction to HDFS (an introductory course for HDFS majors), Early Adolescence, Gerontology (a core course), Management of Family Resources, and Changing Roles of Men and Women.

What did you dream of doing as a professional when you were in school?

I grew up in North Canton, and as a kid I don’t have many memories about what I dreamed of doing when I grew up.

POSTED: Monday, March 11, 2024 02:28 PM
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2024 02:39 PM
Patricia Faulhaber, Canton Repository
Julie Vennitti Botos, Canton Repository