Connie Phelps

Associate Professor and Chair, Family and Consumer Science

“Students are responsible for their own happiness. It will not be what happens to them that defines them, but how they react to what happens.”

“It’s the students.”

That’s what Connie Phelps says she enjoys most about teaching at the college level.

“I love spending time with young people and watching them grow as individuals,” she said. “It gives me satisfaction knowing that I have an impact on students who are entering careers that will help and change the lives of human beings in this world.”

 Phelps said she has a “blended” style of teaching.

“While I lecture, I always demonstrate or coach while I facilitate learning for my students,” she said. “I try to live what I teach. My field of study is unique in that it takes hard science methods and applies them to the family or social situations.”

Phelps earned her undergraduate degree in home economics from Henderson State in 1988, and her M.S. in general home economics from Louisiana Tech in 1990.

She worked as a county extension agent in Arkansas and Louisiana from 1990-91, then served as a 4-H youth development agent from 1991-96. Phelps earned her Ph.D. in Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, and after serving as a 4-H youth specialist from 1997-2008, she joined the faculty at Henderson State.

“I always wanted to teach at a teaching university,” Phelps said. “It was perfect timing because my mother needed care and it worked out for me to return to Arkadelphia to a job I always wanted and to be with my mother when she needed me.”

Phelps said family consumer education focuses on people and the power of family and relationships.

“You sometimes have to be creative with how you utilize the degree, but there will always be a need and a place for you in the job market,” she said. “If you enjoy empowering others to be their best, this is the career for you.”

Degrees in family and consumer sciences, depending on the specialization, will open doors in many areas, Phelps said, including: teaching, retail, entrepreneurship, hospitality industry, food industry, child care, dietetics, human services and real estate.

Phelps also teaches fashion merchandising.

"Fashion is today and style is something we create that reflects our personality," she said. "We all can wear fashion, but each of us creates a style."

Phelps said fashion merchandising majors work in all areas of fashion.

"They are at the retail level, management level, design level and everything in between," she said. "Fashion majors have to be creative, have a strong work ethic, and be assertive all while wearing the latest fashion trends."

If she hadn’t chosen to teach, Phelps said she would most likely be a 4-H youth development specialist working at a land grant university facilitating faculty training, 4-H youth and 4-H adult volunteers.

 When she’s away from the classroom, Phelps said she enjoys helping others create an inviting home environment.

“I’m like the fixer-upper for friends and family,” she said. “I love taking what they have and arranging it to make a house an inviting home. I believe that everyone can have a decorative style without having to break the bank.

Phelps said she enjoys cooking and sharing time with family and friends.

“I receive great enjoyment from giving others good and beautiful food,” she said. “Good conversation, food and friendship are the best.”

Family and Consumer Science

Contact Info:

Degree and School:
Ph.D., Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

- Soft Skills Development in Young People

I've been at Henderson since: