For two years now, we’ve been experimenting with our “Dean’s Blog” and have developed a loyal and enthusiastic following. Moving forward we’re both broadening our scope and tightening our focus with this new School of Social Work newsletter called Highlights and Happenings. This monthly blog-format newsletter will feature more types of content and will explore additional facets of life in our school that reflect the wide variety of academic, research and training programs of which we are so proud. I’ll be continuing to have a strong presence in the newsletter, and will be authoring more in-depth editorial-type posts from time to time.
Our communications vehicles continue to grow and evolve, and we’d love to hear your feedback on this new direction and appreciate any suggestions on content you’d like to see included here. -> Give feedback Enjoy our new “look” and here’s to celebrating and conveying the important activities of the School of Social Work at Portland State!
Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor
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- 5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals
US News and World Report recently released its rankings for social work programs across the US, and the School of Social Work at Portland State University has once again ranked among the top 25% of all social work programs nationally.
According to the new 2016 list, the School of Social Work is ranked #38 in the nation and is ranked #2 among programs in the Pacific Northwest. Only the University of Washington’s #3 program is ranked higher in the Pacific Northwest.
To celebrate the amazing work and impact of the School of Social Work at Portland State University, we unveiled a “key fact” about the School each week from January through the end of March via email, social media and around the School’s physical spaces in Portland. The twelve key facts included things like having the largest Masters degree program at PSU and serving over 1,000 students each year in our academic programs.
Back in early March, donors to School of Social Work scholarship funds and the students who received their scholarships attended Portland State’s 2016 President’s Scholarship Reception in the Smith Ballroom on the PSU campus. The reception was hosted by the PSU Foundation. The School greatly appreciates those who have given so generously to our student scholarship funds and congratulates all of our student recipients!
There’s one event still to come this month, a panel from BRAVE Leaders for Reproductive Justice whose who will share their experiences organizing for reproductive justice, developing values-driven policies, and engaging in cultural work to change hearts and minds.
Thursday, April 28, 5:30-7pm, PSU Women’s Resource Center, Portland
PSU takes the lead to promote trauma-informed care across Oregon
by Diane Yatchmenoff, Director, Trauma Informed Oregon
Faculty from the School of Social Work’s Regional Research Institute for Human Services (RRI) have been working in the field of trauma for years and have are seen as experts among providers and partners locally and regionally. With heightened awareness of the issue and recognizing the role of the university, in 2014 the Oregon Health Authority asked RRI to take the lead on a state-wide effort to infuse trauma informed care across the health and behavioral health systems. Under a contract with OHA and in collaboration with the Oregon Health Sciences University and the Oregon Pediatric Society, Trauma Informed Oregon was founded.
Through the work of TIO and partners around the state, Oregon is receiving national recognition for our commitment and for our efforts to create a fully trauma-informed system of care in our communities.
Samatha, who completed her Ph.D. in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State in 2012 with her dissertation “Understanding the experience of Air Force single parents: A phenomenological study,” is creating the military concentration for the program. Samantha was a Colonel in the Air Force at the point of her retirement from the military. Walden University’s online MSW recently received accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE).
Ruben is part of the School of Social Work’s Integrated Care Project, a new, federally funded program that prepares Master of Social Work (MSW) students to practice effectively in behavioral health and health care settings. Ruben is doing his internship in the brand new wellness center at Benson Polytechnic High School in the Portland Public Schools.
Faculty News and Publications
Sarah spoke about the School of Social Work’s new fully online MSW program that was launched in 2014. At the end of its second year this brand new program has an impressive 95% student retention rate.
The development of the online MSW program was funded by the Provost’s Challenge component of reTHINK PSU, a $3 million project designed to accelerate online learning and the use of innovative technology in educational delivery.
The event was sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU). Also presenting from Portland State were Sukhwant Jhaj, vice provost for academic innovation and student success, and Jeanne Enders, faculty in the School of Business Administration.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Institute of Education Sciences and joined by colleagues from Vanderbilt University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Laurie shared the latest research on how to help students with disabilities gain employment, succeed academically, and socially thrive after graduating from high school.
The Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services recently completed a 4-year randomized study of the Relationship Based Visitation Program. This program was designed to provide intensive parent coaching during supervised visits with children placed in foster care. Outcomes showed significant improvements in a variety of parenting domains, although there was no documented reduction in the length of time children spent in foster care.
Dr. Alma Trinidad, assistant professor in the School of Social Work, spoke on KPSU, Portland’s College Radio, about sustainability and equity as guest on Shades of Green, a talk show featuring conversations about sustainability initiatives on PSU and throughout the city of Portland.
Duncan & Cindy Campbell Professor for Children, Youth and Families, participated in a White House summit entitled “Beating the Odds: Successful Strategies from Schools and Youth Agencies that Build Ladders of Opportunity.” The Summit was organized as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative, which aims to inspire all students to pursue education and training beyond high school graduation.
Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens, associate professor in the School of Social Work, was an invited speaker at the Oregon Program Evaluator Network’s annual conference focusing on culturally responsive evaluation. Her presentation was called “Lessons learned: Research and evaluation partnerships with Portland’s communities of color.”
The Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) partnered with the Child Welfare Partnership at Portland State University’s School of Social Work on the recently completed Family Connections Oregon Demonstration project. The goals of the project were to test the effectiveness of a combined model of family finding and family group conferencing in a child welfare population; install system supports for statewide sustainability, and to provide ongoing dissemination to key stakeholders.
As part of the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration project, the PSU Evaluation Team recently addressed hundreds of child welfare staff and community partners at four Kick-Off events (Multnomah, Clackamas, Jackson, and Josephine Counties). Topics included research supporting the new Waiver intervention, Leveraging Intensive Family Engagement (LIFE), and an overview of the evaluation design.
Barrios, S., & Furrer, C. J. (October 2015). Using the Strengths, Needs, and Culture Discovery with families: A strengths-based practice. Presented at the Kempe International Conference on Innovations in Family Engagement, Minneapolis, MN.
Marchand, G., & Furrer, C. J. (April 2016). Social context as a motivational resource in school: Implications for academic adjustment. Symposium paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Dr. Beth Green, in partnership with NPC Research, recently completed a five-year, federally funded randomized study of the Healthy Families Oregon home visitation program. -> Read Results
Pauline Jivanjee, Laura Nissen and Charlotte Goodluck, Social Work faculty; and Kimberly Pendell, Library faculty, authored “Lifelong Learning in Social Work: A Qualitative Exploration with Social Work Practitioners, Students, and Field Instructors” published in Advances in Social Work, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 260-275.
Lambarth, C. H., & Cox, C. (2015, October). Yoncalla Early Works: A prenatal-through-3rd grade initiative. Session presented at the annual conference of the National Rural Education Association, St. Louis, MO.
5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals
- “A master of social work, or M.S.W., degree is quickly becoming the 21st century’s law degree, especially for young people interested in making the world a better place.” Inside Higher Ed blog author John L. Jackson Jr., dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania claims that “[s]ocial work education is the future of all academic teaching.” -> Read Blog
- Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Watch this TED Talk by pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris who explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. -> Watch Video
- 9 Tools for Your Professional Social Worker Toolkit — You have your social work degree(s), and you have a job. What else do you need to sustain a long and healthy career in social work? Here are some of the tools you should have in your “Professional Social Worker Toolkit.” -> Get Toolkit
- Both in our child welfare coursework, and in general policy courses, our instructors must teach the roots and historical evolution of poor laws and specifically child abuse / child welfare laws. Absent historical context the shape of our child welfare system and laws doesn’t make much sense. Now here’s an article written by the excellent New Yorker writer Jill Lepore that tells that history in a vivid way. This should be of value to those teaching policy courses, and to the child welfare courses and students. -> Read Article
- 9 Mobile Apps for Social Workers — Find nine useful smartphone apps that can enhance your practice, empower your clients and scale everyone’s efforts in this Social Work Helper article. -> Read Article