Highlights and Happenings — May 2016

Laura at TableAs hard as it is for many of us to believe, the end of spring term is almost upon us! As we wrap up week nine of the term, many of our students are preparing for the next chapter of their lives. Entering a new job or academic appointment. Taking some courses over the summer. Experiencing the world through travel and exploration. Contemplating graduate school. Wrapping up their field practicum at a local agency.

Whatever our students and new graduates move into this summer, all will bring with them the benefit of both the explicit and implicit curriculum of their School of Social Work program. We tend to focus most of our attention on the School’s explicit curriculum. That’s the courses, seminars and other parts of our formal educational material. But our School’s implicit curriculum is in many ways equally important. The friendships forged with classmates. The professional relationships built with internship supervisors. The work on committees, with student organizations, and on volunteer advocacy issues. Social work and human services work touches so many aspects of our students’ lives. We wish all of our students the very best in the many ways they’ll bring their PSU education to bear, this coming summer and beyond.

I invite you to explore this May issue of Highlights and Happenings. You’ll learn about our School’s international efforts in China and South Korea, meet one of our amazing Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) students who is graduating this spring, and hear about the power of a student and field instructor relationship.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the School, its work, its students, and its soon to be new graduating class. We’re proud of all we are able to accomplish and influence together.

As always the best way to keep in regular touch with the School of Social Work is to “follow” our Facebook page.

Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside


School Leadership Visits China

During the last part of April, Dean Laura Nissen and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Keva Miller were invited to visit Minzu University in Beijing, China where they explored possible academic and scholarly partnerships with students and faculty interested in social work. Minzu University currently has a partnership with PSU’s Graduate School of Education.

During their time in China, Drs. Nissen and Miller toured the Minzu University campus, visited classes, and were introduced to a variety of community services and resources including a mosque in a downtown Beijing Muslim community, a community center, an orphanage for abandoned children, and a mental health hospital. They observed how the newly forming profession of social work — which has been in place only about 40 years now — is being practiced amid an increasingly diverse Chinese society in one of the largest cities in the world. The projected need for social workers in the coming years is literally in the hundreds of thousands throughout China.

Drs. Nissen and Miller were also able to meet with leaders of the China Association of Social Work Education and explore new China-specific emerging standards and codes of ethics. Minzu University is quite excited about the opportunity for additional partnering in the form of faculty exchanges, faculty-led programs (to China) and Chinese student access to our BSW and/or MSW programs. Ongoing conversations are being held within our school to determine what next steps might be the best match for our mutual needs and interests. It was an inspiring social work education adventure!

Northwest Council on Family Relations (NWCFR) Annual Conference Hosted

Ban Anderson-Nathe at NWCFR 2016Congratulations to the team that produced the recent Northwest Council on Family Relations (NWCFR) annual conference held at Portland State this year.

Entitled “Engaging Youth in Schools and Communities: Enhancing Protective Factors,” this year’s conference was kicked off with a keynote by Dr. Ben Anderson-Nathe, associate professor in the child and family studies program. Planning was led by a team including NWCFR board president and associate professor Jana Meinhold.

Pictured above is Dr. Anderson-Nathe delivering the keynote at the Native American Student and Community Center.

School Broadens Scope in Work with South Korea

In efforts to broaden its work internationally, the School of Social Work at Portland State University has formalized an agreement to deliver new visiting scholar and professional development programs with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG).

City of Seoul and PSUDr. Laura Nissen, dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State, and Tae-Woong Kang, director general of administration for the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), signed documents formalizing the arrangement in a ceremony held on the Portland State University campus.

The School of Social Work is currently hosting three visiting scholars from the SMG at Portland State, and this new agreement strengthens and formalizes this arrangement along with creating new short- and long-term professional development training programs.

The first of these training programs begins this summer when 16 SMG officers will come to the School of Social Work for a short term training program focused on exploring and observing social work and human service programs, service delivery systems, and policy making. They will explore social work and human service programs in Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles along with cultural experiences designed to help them understand better the social and human services environment in the US.

This new level of collaboration between the School of Social Work and Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has been spearheaded by Dr. Junghee Lee, associate professor and program director of the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, with generous support from PSU’s Office of International Affairs and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

School of Social Work Named a “Sliver Climate Champion”

The Campus Sustainability Office certified the School of Social Work and eight other PSU departments as silver level Climate Champions, verifying that those departments support PSU’s sustainability and climate action goals in areas such as energy and water conservation, transportation, waste prevention, purchasing, and event planning.

Climate Champion LogoSilver Climate Champions meet at least 36 of the 50 criteria outlined in the Climate Champions survey.

As one example of how it meets the project goals, the School assigns one staff member to be a water and light monitor who’s responsible for receiving information on plumbing malfunctions and water waste. That person also dims or turns off lights in shared spaces when adequate sunlight is available.

Trauma-Informed-Oregon-Header-2Trauma Informed Oregon Highlighted

Our own Trauma Informed Oregon was recently mentioned in a story about how a rural Oregon county is using the 10-question adverse childhood experiences (ACE) survey in its trauma-informed health centers.

-> Read story


drupal_commencement_2016 (1)School of Social Work students, faculty, and staff will participate in Portland State University Commencement 2016 on Sunday, June 12, 2016, at the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon. PSU’s professional schools, including the School of Social Work, will hold their ceremony from 3:30 p.m. to approximately 6:00 p.m.

-> More information

Program Spotlight

We’re proud to highlight the work of our distance option Master of Social Work (MSW) students in Bend, Oregon, who’ve been meeting for 7 hours of class each Friday for the past 3 years.

They’re wrapping up the last term of the program this spring while taking SW 535, a clinical course led by Dr. Christiana Bratiotis, an assistant professor in the School.

The Bend distance program is led by site coordinator Gary Smith and includes 25 students from all over central Oregon.

Housed in “The Environmental Center” near downtown Bend, these students will soon be taking their new skills and experiences into their surrounding communities.

The School of Social Work at Portland State University is the only school at PSU with a statewide charter, having been founded by the Oregon Legislature in 1962 to educate social workers throughout the state. Today it serves students in Portland, Salem, Eugene, Bend and Ashland, and also online!

Student Spotlight

Some in the social work field say, “I didn’t find social work, social work found me.”

Lucas Hillier - 3.jpgFor Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) student Lucas Hiller, social work found him after a 15-year break from formal education. He’s one of over 300 students graduating from the School of Social Work at Portland State this June with plans to turn their passion into action.

Hillier realized social work was the right path for him during a course at Portland Community College called Life Tracks. Previously, Lucas had a broad interest in improving and healing communities and society. But it wasn’t until he went through a series of personality tests and assessments in this class that he realized how a social work degree could help him make a difference.

“The curriculum is one of the best parts of Portland State’s BSW program,” says Lucas. “I really enjoyed my classes examining oppression, privilege, and anti-oppressive social work practice. Another great thing is the program’s cohort model, which introduced me to classmates I expect will remain lifelong friends after I leave PSU. We started and will end the program together. It really has been an amazing process of growing and changing over the past two years.”

Lucas worked as a Residential Support Services Specialist at Central City Concern, a local social services agency, for the last three years and is currently serving in his field internship in the Portland Mayor’s Office working on homelessness initiatives. In this work with the city, he’s had a hand in shaping and managing two key programs — One Point of Contact Campsite Reporting System and City Day Storage Pilot Program — both designed to find more progressive and solutions-oriented approaches for dealing with this growing population.

Lucas will graduate with his Bachelors in Social Work this June and plans to continue his work in the Mayor’s office. He is also interested in continuing his education by attending graduate school to pursue a Masters of Social Work degree with a public policy focus.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Roberto Orellana has agreed to step in as Acting Associate Dean of Research and Sponsored Projects while we are engaged in a national search process. He will begin July 1, 2016.

Fac3-165-EditLoResRoberto is an active and engaged faculty member and leader in teaching, research and service to our school. His efforts to actively guide dialogue regarding the role of research in our strategic plan, as well as facilitate research excellence both in his own sphere and providing mentoring and consultation to others, are all deeply valued.

During this year, Roberto will continue to facilitate ongoing collaborative and synergistic re-tooling of the administrative infrastructure between the RRI, CCF and the School, assist in facilitation of inquiry regarding our potential actions with regard to the Social Work Grand Challenges (school wide), represent the School in the larger university discussions/planning and administration of research as a whole, and assist in implementation of research-related elements of the newly drafted strategic plan.

Field Spotlight

Are you interested in preparing the next generation of social workers in your community? Hosting a social work student for a field internship is your opportunity! As our programs continue to grow and opportunities for social workers in the community expand, we’re always on the lookout for agencies who’d like to host our qualified students for field internships.

At the basis of every successful field internship is the relationship between the social work student and field instructor. The field instructor is the student’s internship supervisor, helping the student be successful in incorporating their coursework learnings into practice. To give you a flavor of this critical component of the field internship, meet JoAnn Dohn and Kara Radecki, student and field instructor partners at Luke-Dorf Hillsboro.

Joann and Kara - 1JoAnn is a student in the Master of Social Work program, having spent the last year in her field placement at the Luke-Dorf Hillsboro Clinical Office, a non-profit, community-based mental health agency. JoAnn provided strengths-based crisis intervention, support, skills training, and case management to adults adults with severe and persistent mental health challenges and co-occurring disorders.

Learning how to create and facilitate groups was one of JoAnn’s most valuable learning opportunities, “I started off as a co-facilitator in order to observe and learn and by Spring term, I had researched, designed, and facilitated a group on my own!” JoAnn credits her field instructor for guiding her in recognizing how personal beliefs, values, and thoughts impact her social work practice.

LUKE_Logo.Vert.RGBKara Radecki, JoAnn’s field instructor, is the clinical program manager at Luke-Dorf. She recalls how JoAnn used supervision to to develop her clinical skills. “Role plays were fun and challenging for me as a field instructor and they really helped JoAnn explore ways to have uncomfortable conversations with clients.” Kara encourages her interns to explore their vulnerabilities during supervision and values the role she plays in preparing students for their social work practice.

Kara acknowledges the significant impact JoAnn has had on the agency in such a short time. Specifically, Kara recalls, “JoAnn helped to create an Amazon Wish List as a means of coordinating donations for individuals sleeping outside; she also organized the life skills group that Luke-Dorf will continue to offer after JoAnn’s internship.” A highlight for Kara as her field instructor is observing JoAnn’s self-awareness and confidence grow throughout the year.

Want to create an enriching learning opportunity for a future social worker? Contact Field Placement Development Specialist Missy Kloos.

Faculty News and Publications


Casadi Khaki Marino Ph.D. DefenseCasadi Khaki Marino recently successfully defended her Ph.D. dissertation, “The Development and Validation of the Social Recovery Measure.” Pictured at right is Casadi with her dissertation committee, from left to right: Greg Townley, Melissa Thompson, Mary Oschwald, Casadi Khaki Marino, Maria Talbott (Chair), and Eileen Brennan.

Charlotte GoodluckCongratulations to our School of Social Work colleagues Dr. Alma M. O. Trinidad and Danica Love Brown who collaborated on a recent article in the journal “Reflections” about the life and legacy of Dr. Charlotte Goodluck, faculty emerita of the School who passed away in December 2014.

-> Read Article

Ann Curry-Stevens - Square - 1Dr. Ann Curry-Stevens spoke at a CEO-only diversity leadership event sponsored by Portland General Electric on April 21. This event followed PGE’s Diversity Summit by bringing together private sector leaders to launch an equity initiative around two opportunities — diversity in hiring and mentoring minority contractors leading to contracts with these companies.


Bender, R., Meinhold, J. L., Wagner, I., Duyck, I., Cellarius, K., Perry, C., Brennan, E., & Nicolaidis, C. (2016). Walking the talk: Enacting health promotion and equity in a rural health and wellness center. Paper presented at the 12th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability. January 21, 2016. Portland, Oregon.

Brennan, E., Jivanjee, P., & Sellmaier, C. (2016). Accessing competency-based outcomes of transition service provider training experiences: Scale development. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Brennan, E., Brannan, A., & Rosenzweig, J. (2016). Understanding caregiver strain among parents of transition aged young people. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 15, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Jivanjee, P., Brennan, E., & Sellmaier, C. (2016). Promoting positive pathways to adulthood: A knowledge translation online program for transition service providers. Poster presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 15, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Jivanjee, P., Brennan, E., Sellmaier, C., Gonzalez-Prats, M. C., & Members of the Transition Training Collaborative (2016). Building community supports for young people in the transition years: A tip sheet for service providers. Portland, OR: Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures, Portland State University. -> Get tip sheet

Koroloff, N. (2016). Demographic characteristics of HTI participants. In Finding gold: Results from national outcome measures for health transition. Symposium presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Koroloff, N., & Buekea, N. (2016). Successful policy and system change efforts by youth and young adult-led organizations. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Koroloff, N., Friesen, B., Buekea, N., & Masselli, B. (2016). Stepping up: Successful advocacy by youth and young adult-led organizations. Webinar presented by the Research and Training Center for Pathways to Positive Futures. February 24, 2016. -> Watch webinar recording

Koroloff, N., Haber, M., & Walker, J. S. (2016). Evaluating NITT-HT systems change: Process and outcomes. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 15, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Powers, L. E. (2016). Improving transition to adulthood through self-determination enhancement. Invited congressional briefing sponsored by the US Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. March 4, 2016.

Sale, T., Buekea, N., & Haines, M. (2016). Journeys through and beyond psychosis: Our experience in Oregon. Plenary presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 15, 2016. Tampa, Florida.  -> Short video of poem presentation by young adults

Sale, T., & Melton, R. (2016). Implementing Early Psychosis Intervention in the Real World. Webinar presented in partnership with the National Training and Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Behavioral Health. January 26, 2016. -> Watch webinar recording

Walker, J. S. (2016). Research-based strategies for increasing youth and young adult engagement in Wraparound. Webinar presented in partnership with the National Wraparound Initiative. March 29, 2016. -> Watch webinar recording

Walker, J. S. (2016). Wraparound with older youth and young adults: New findings, challenges, and lessons learned. Symposium chair and presenter at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Walker, J. S., & Mehess, S. (2016). The policy and funding context for Wraparound: New findings from the Community Supports for Wraparound Inventory. Conference presentation (in collaboration with the National Wraparound Initiative) at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

Walker, J. S., & Ossowski, J. D. (2016). Report on user testing of an interactive video and web-based booster training for core Wraparound skills. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida. -> Watch video

Walker, J. S., Seibel, C., & Jackson, S. (2016). Increasing meaningful youth engagement and participation in Wraparound: Findings from a randomized study. Conference presentation at the 29th Annual Research & Policy Conference on Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Behavioral Health. March 14, 2016. Tampa, Florida.

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

  • Your Professional Portfolio: Documenting Your Social Work Career — Learn how to create a visual representation of your experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities—and potential as a professional social worker — with a professional or career portfolio.
    -> Read The New Social Worker article
  • Portland’s Central Library brings a social worker on board — Read about what the only, on-site social worker contracted with the Multnomah County Library system is doing.
    -> Read OregonLive article
  • Why Seattle Cops And Social Workers Walk The Beat Together — Social workers are teaming up with beat cops in Seattle to help homeless people identify their needs, obtain services and avoid jail.
    -> Listen to KUOW report
  • Who Really Receives Food Stamps? — “Contrary to stereotypes of SNAP recipients as predominantly idle minorities, about 40% are white and about 80% either have children, are disabled or are older than 65, statistics show. Many are working but are still below.”
    -> Read Simmons College MSW student Elizabeth W. Crew’s blog post
  • Comedy is serious business for social workers in improv — Some social workers in Washington, D.C., are enhancing their ability to tune in to others through weekly improv classes designed for mental health professionals.“Sometimes you have this desire to fix it with a client — they are having a really difficult emotional state, you just want to fix it, but the improv rules say join them in it,” said Lisa Kays, who leads the class.
    -> Read Washington Post article