Highlights and Happenings – Fall 2017

We urgently need to bring to our communities, the limitless capacity to love,
serve and create for and with each other.
– Grace Lee Boggs

Laura at TableNow more than ever, social work and human services values and practices that promote equity, peace and well-being for all are needed in our society.

We all have witnessed extraordinary and troubling views of intolerance, hate and violence in our communities this past year.

Despite these challenges, there is time and space for hope. It is institutions like the School of Social Work at Portland State University that will be at the forefront of deeply activating and focusing individuals and communities on building a better world.

As we head into another energized and hopeful academic year, we celebrate the important work that students, faculty, community members and social work and child, youth and family practitioners bring to the most vulnerable among us.

With your help and support, we look forward to continuing the important work the School of Social Work at Portland State University brings to our city, our state and the nation.


Laura Burney Nissen
Dean and Professor

What’s Inside?


We Made Our Match!

We Made Our MatchThe School of Social Work at Portland State University is proud to announce that it has successfully met its fundraising goal and match to create a $500,000 endowed Maybelle Clark Macdonald Scholarship Fund for students.

For each of the past five years, the School of Social Work and PSU Foundation have raised $50,000. With the fifth year complete in 2017, the $250,000 raised by the School will be matched by the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Foundation to establish an endowed Maybelle Clark Macdonald Scholarship Fund. This fund will begin awarding scholarships to Master of Social Work (MSW) students in 2019.

Fall Student Welcoming

The School of Social Work welcomed over 300 new students to its programs during a series of welcoming and orientation events this fall.

  • 92 new BSW students
  • 30 new CYFS students
  • 200 new MSW students
  • 7 new Ph.D. students

We welcome these students to our School of Social Work community!

Student Emergency Fund Report Card

Student Emergency Fund Report Card 2016-17

The School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund wrapped up the 2016-17 academic year by raising $4,450 to help students with emergency essentials. Through the collection of gift cards from faculty, staff, students and interested community members at events throughout the year, the program served 30 students in 2016-17 with 70% of recipients first generation college students. These gift cards are used by students in need to purchase groceries, gas and house supplies.

If you would like to donate gift cards to help a student in need, please drop them off with Marina Barcelo in ASRC 620V or mail them to her at Marina Barcelo, Portland State University, Social Work, School of (SSW), PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207. You may also make a cash donation directly via our School of Social Work Student Emergency Fund donation site.

New Hybrid Bachelor’s in Social Work Program


Beginning fall 2018 students can earn their BSW with classes online and in Eugene, Oregon, with a hybrid online and face-to-face Bachelor’s in Social Work degree (BSW) from the School of Social Work.

In this new hybrid program, that admits its first entering class in fall 2018, students will complete 80% of courses online and 20% face-to-face in Eugene, Oregon. This makes our hybrid BSW perfect for community college transfer students, working adults, and for students who live outside the Portland area. Students will complete their first year of courses entirely online. In the second year, students attend some classes online and others face-to-face on the weekends in Eugene, Oregon. They’ll learn from the same faculty and instructors that teach in our on-campus program in Portland and gain rigorous training and practical experience to build social work skills and a solid foundation for social service careers.

-> Learn More about the New Program and Sign Up for Email Updates

Teaching Excellence Symposium

teaching excellence symposium team

The School of Social Work conducted its first ever teaching excellence symposium this fall. The symposium was designed to help faculty explore how various teaching methods intersect with various teaching philosophies, how to maintain a student centered focus as an inclusive pedagogy, and to leave the session with a personal commitment with a plan for teaching excellence.

Pictured is the planning group including (left to right) Monica Garcia, Sarah Bradley, Ted Donlan, Hillary Hyde, Erin Flynn, Keva Miller, Ben Anderson-Nathe, Lorraine Brave, Miranda Cunningham and Gita Mehrotra. Not pictured but also part of the effort was Sam Gioa, Stephanie Bryson, Karen Moorehead and Ridley Williams.

New Diversity and Inclusion Webpage

The School of Social Work recently updated its diversity and inclusion webpage. In addition to outlining schoolwide activities focused on diversity and inclusion, the page highlights the efforts of specific academic and research units within the School.

The School is committed to equity and inclusion in all of its academic, research, training, professional development, and community program offerings to students, faculty, staff, field instructors, campus partners, and community members.

-> Visit the new diversity and inclusion webpage

Social Work Ph.D. Student Successfully Defends Her Dissertation

Leah Brookner

Leah Brookner, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. Program in Social Work and Social Research, successfully defended her dissertation on Friday, October 27, 2017. Her dissertation, entitled “ Is Therapy Going To The Dogs? , Evaluating Animal Assisted Therapy for E arly I dentified A t-risk C hildren ,” was reviewed by committee members (as pictured) Vicki Cotrell, Ph.D. , Maria Talbott, Ph.D. (Chair), Eric Mankowski, Ph.D. (OGS Rep) and Michael Taylor, Ph.D. Congratulations, Dr. Brookner!

New Faces in the SSW

Matt ChorpenningMatt Chorpenning, MSW, has joined the School as an instructor. After completing his MSW at PSU, Matt was a research fellow at the Center to Advance Racial Equity and the site supervisor for the SHINE Community School program at Kinnaman Elementary School. He has been a field supervisor at SSW since 2015 and an adjunct since 2016, teaching both on campus and online courses.

Matt’s area of academic focus is on macro-level social work, community organizing, systemic change efforts, and policy, especially poverty policy and racial equity policy in the United States. He has published two reports with the Center to Advance Racial Equity.

Adrienne GrafAdrienne Graf, MSW, has joined the School as field placement development specialist. Adrienne earned her MSW from the School of Social Work at Portland State in 2010. Her most recent position was in Portland State University’s Women’s Resource Center as a sexual and relationship violence prevention coordinator. She comes to the School of Social Work with 9 years of experience supporting students affected by domestic and sexual violence. She has also held adjunct teaching positions in PSU’s Master of Social Work and public administration programs.

Adrienne’s academic interests include harm reduction theory and practice, mitigating trauma exposure from interpersonal violence by working alongside survivors navigating systems engagement, institutional betrayal, and how social work policy and practice intersect with the sex trades.

Adrienne enjoys spending time with her girlfriend Leigh and their 17 year old chihuahua Nibbles, water aerobics, tending to her massive houseplant collection and procuring new plants, planning vacations to warm climates, learning how to cook new dishes and perfect old recipes, stockpiling nail polish, and attending local queer community events. Adrienne may be reached at agraf@pdx.edu and (503) 725-8592.

Hunte DJC photoRoberta Hunte, Ph.D., has been named an assistant professor in Child, Youth, and Family Studies in the School of Social Work at Portland State University.

Dr. Hunte is an educator, facilitator, and cultural worker. Her academic interests include reproductive justice, women of color feminism, cultural work for social change, and Black women in construction. She facilitates trainings on equity, diversity and inclusion. She is a collaborator on the play “My Walk Has Never Been Average” and a short film entitled “Sista in the Brotherhood,” both of which are informed by her research on Black tradeswomen. She also helped create a devised theater piece based on reproductive stories from people of color and transgender people.

Roberta earned her Ph.D. in peace and conflict studies from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in 2012. She is not new to our PSU community. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Hunte was a full-time assistant professor in Black Studies, Conflict Resolution, and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies. She has also held adjunct appointments at Portland Community College in political science and women’s studies. Dr. Hunte’s position is a shared line between CYFS and University Studies.

Katie KingKatie King has joined the School as the new development officer for the School of Social Work. Susan Brennan, who was the School’s development officer briefly this summer left the PSU Foundation this fall to move back east to be closer to family. Katie has been with Portland State since 2015 where she worked closely with PSU’s athletics department to complete the Viking Pavilion project. Katie is a native of the Pacific Northwest and previously held development positions at the University of Houston and the University of Tennessee. To get in touch with Katie, email her at kingk@psuf.org or call her at (503) 725-2500.

Jessica Rodriguez-JenKinsJessica Rodriguez-JenKins, Ph.D., is a new assistant professor for the BSW and MSW programs. She completed her Ph.D. at University of Washington’s School of Social Work. She engages in practice-informed qualitative and quantitative research centering on how best to support parenting among vulnerable families with young children. Jessica is interested in partnering with community providers to develop sustainable, culturally appropriate, interventions that support multi-level factors that affect parent-child relationships. Her dissertation research examines possible predictors of nurturing parenting among Mexican and Puerto Rican origin mothers with young children vulnerable to the child welfare system.

As a licensed clinical social worker, Jessica brings her extensive practice experience in serving children and families in community mental health and perinatal medical social work to inform her research and teaching. Jessica’s research interests focus on the promotion of family well-being through strengthening parenting practices, supporting parent-child relationships, and understanding cultural and contextual factors that influence parenting beliefs, specifically within marginalized families.


Public Health Portland Style!

Public Health Portland StyleJoin the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health for Public Health Portland Style!
#8 Stop Overdose: Safe consumption spaces.

Several months ago, Public Health Portland Style came together to talk about the opiate crisis in Oregon. We know that here in the Portland Metro Area 1 person dies every other day from a drug overdose. Mental Health America ranked Oregon 51st in the nation for access to mental health and addiction services and our death rates from Hepatitis C are double the national average. Join us in the conversation about initiative strategies to help keep people who use drugs alive. Safer Consumptions Spaces (SCS) are places where people can bring pre-obtained drugs to use with trained staff to help assist in the event of an emergency. They provide clean injection supplies in a clean environment staffed by people who are not only trained to respond to an overdose but offer kindness, respect, referrals and health information to people using in these spaces. SCS are operated in over 70 Cities around the world have prevented countless deaths and HIV/HCV infections however there are currently none operating legally in the United States.

This event brings together Shannon Riley, the Regional Project Manager for the Overdose Emergency Response in Vancouver BC. Shannon’s previous experience in overdose relevant work comes from both nursing at Insite, the 1st SCS in Vancouver, and managing a clinic in a homeless drop-in center in San Francisco. Bridget Bassett, a long time harm reductionist who has worked and volunteered in HIV /STD prevention for over 9 years and is a former heroin user who will talk about her experience using on the streets of Portland and how harm reduction services enabled her path to recovery. And Haven Wheelock, Drug users’ health advocate and the Injection Drug Users’ Health Services Program Coordinator for Outside In. She is advocating for evidence based policies to improve the lives and health of people who use drugs, like safe consumption spaces.

Thursday, Nov 16th
6 to 7:30 pm
Lucky Lab Beer Hall, 1945 NW Quimby Street

This event is free and open to the public. It will also be streamed live on Facebook Live.  All ages are welcome, we encourage you to invite friends, family, students and co-workers to join us!

-> Register or watch via Facebook Live

She Also Served

She Also ServedJoin the School of Social Work this November for She Also Served, a Lunch & Learn series. Led by Elizabeth Estabrooks, Oregon Women Veterans Coordinator, this series is not to miss.

In this three-part series, students will gain a broader idea of what is included (or excluded) when the word “veteran” is used. What are the intesectionalities of being a veteran? How does the word “veteran” exclude women, persons of color, and LGBTQ veterans? What are the facts that you don’t hear about women veterans unless you go looking for them? Each of these three sessions is designed to stand alone, but attending all three provides you with deeper, broader understanding.

One of the three sessions is upcoming:

  • Session 3 covers areas relating to mental and behavioral health (PTSD-MST, Suicide, and Substance Use). — Monday, November 27, 2017, 12-12:50pm, ASRC 660

This free series is open to all students and community members. Please bring your lunch–lunch is not provided. For information on how join via Google Hangout, contact Marina Barcelo at mbarcelo@pdx.edu.

PSU Day of Giving 2017


Tuesday, November 28 is Giving Tuesday – a global day of giving fueled by the power of shared action! The School of Social Work is proud to participate in this special day by joining in the first-ever university-wide PSU Day of Giving dedicated to supporting the schools and programs that make a difference in our community, #PDXGiveChange.

Make a gift to the School of Social Work and your contribution will be used to fund important student scholarships that help support the next generation of social workers and human services professionals.

Remember, gifts of any size can make a big difference. Join with your fellow Vikings and help advance the causes that create positive change in our community. Mark your calendar and support the School of Social Work on November 28!

-> Make a gift

Faculty Spotlight

Klawetter Head ShotSusanne Klawetter, LCSW, Ph.D.(c), has joined the School of Social Work as an assistant professor as part of the MSW faculty. Susanne completed her Ph.D. at the University of Denver, where her dissertation research examined the development of Warm Connections, an integrative behavioral health intervention, in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. In addition, she was a co-investigator on a multi-site research project that explores maternal mental health and maternal engagement in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Susanne’s scholarship is focused on promoting human health and wellness, particularly for women and children. Specific research interests include social determinants of maternal and child health, preterm birth, maternal and infant mental health, and early childhood intervention in an effort to advocate for health equity.

Susanne Klawetter is a licensed clinical social worker with over six years post-MSW experience working with families. In addition to clinical practice experience and research training, she is a seasoned educator with over six years of teaching experience in social work and public health programs.

Outside of her work, Susanne enjoys running, being outdoors, listening to live music, and animals. She and her partner, Chad Klawetter, have triplet 10 year olds – Olivia, Sam, and Zoe – and a 1 year old Labrador named Daisy.

Donor Spotlight

Barre StollAt Portland State’s annual 2017 Simon Benson Dinner on November 9, Barre Stoll ’89, MSW ’92 was presented with the Award for Alumni Achievement. Barre earned her bachelor of science in psychology in 1989 and her master’s degree in social work from PSU in 1992, as well as a doctorate in clinical psychology from Pacific University.

A retired licensed clinical psychologist, Barre has worked at Reed College and Stand for Children and is a tireless community volunteer. She is currently a member of the PSU Foundation’s Board of Trustees, where she is chair of the Philanthropy Committee. Barre served on the Leadership Gifts Committee for PSU’s Creating Futures Scholarship Campaign and on the Graduate School of Social Work Advisory Board.

Seeing the obstacles many of her classmates faced in completing their education has driven her involvement with the university over the years. She also served on an Advisory Board for the Dean of Pacific University Graduate School of Psychology as well as several community boards, including St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Parents Anonymous of Oregon and Waverly Children’s Home. For more than two decades, Barre and her husband, Robert, have been generous supporters of PSU and received the President’s Award for Outstanding Philanthropy in 2004.

Thank you for your generosity and service to PSU and the School of Social Work, Barre. We appreciate the many ways you shaped the lives of so many of our students!

Faculty News

PSU receives $1.9M grant to prepare social work students to practice integrated behavioral health

E. Kimball Low Res EditedPortland State University’s School of Social Work recently received a $1.9 million federal grant to prepare social work graduate students to practice effectively in integrated behavioral health settings, particularly to serve people across the lifespan in rural and/or medically underserved communities.

The four-year Health Resources and Services Administration grant for Behavioral Health Workforce for Education and Training will provide education to a new generation of social work professionals with the practice skills to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations throughout Oregon. Of the 136 grants awarded, only 58 were awarded to social work programs and PSU’s is the only one of three awarded in the Northwest.

Led School of Social Work Assistant Professor Ericka Kimball, Ph.D., the Behavioral Health Integration Project (BHIP) will build upon the current Integrated Care Project (ICP) that has educated students in integrated care with a focus on children, youth and families. BHIP will expand the number of social work professionals with education and training in behavioral health integration to work in a variety of health settings across the lifespan. In addition, it will focus on increasing the number of social work professionals with historically marginalized and/or intersectional identities to work in integrated behavioral health care.

29 Master of Social Work students in each project year will be selected to receive a stipend of $10,000 over the nine months of their advanced year of study. In addition, the project will provide professional development funds to field instructors to advance expertise in integrated behavioral health care settings serving rural and/or medically underserved populations.

Sabbatical adventures through podcast

P. Miller Low Res EditedPortland State University School of Social Work faculty member Pam Miller, Ph.D., returned this fall from a year-long sabbatical that took her on some extensive international travel.

To share her experiences with our community, Dr. Miller created a video and audio podcast in which she reflects on her teaching, learning and research experiences while away.

In her video, learn more about Pam’s travels and experiences in France, Japan, and Poland, and hear her reflections on social work education in other parts of the world.

In her podcast, we talk with Pam about why faculty take sabbaticals and learn what observations and lessons she’ll be bringing back to PSU.

-> Watch video

-> Listen to podcast

5 Resources for Social Work and Human Services Professionals

CBS News recently aired an original broadcast online called “Portland | Race Against the Past.”
The original looks at a legacy of “white supremacy in Portland (which) is never far from the surface, and in reality, has never been that well hidden,” according to anthropologists and academics who have studied Portland’s history.
-> Watch video

NASW Revises Code of Ethics
In August 2017, the NASW Delegate Assembly approved the most substantive revision to the NASW Code of Ethics since 1996. The 2017 revisions to the Code focus largely on the use of technology and the implications of technology for ethical practice. The new Code goes into effect on January 1, 2018. Copies of the new Code will be available November 1, 2017. You can pre-order a copy by calling NASW Press at 800.227.3590. View Frequently Asked Questions for a listing of the revised sections of the Code.
-> Learn more

Recognizing child welfare’s debt to research
Research has had profound influence on US child welfare policy, dating back to the landmark Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, social work scholar Richard Barth observes. He warns, however, that one-size-fits-all measures backed by insufficient data still plague the foster care system.
-> Learn more

Multi-part team takes on Oregon jail’s revolving door
The Lane County Jail in Eugene, Ore., is working with a host of service providers to address homelessness and mental health conditions that keep inmates coming back after release. “Jail is not what it was — we’re not interested in warehousing people,” said Capt. Dan Buckwald.
-> Learn more

Campus sexual assault: Should restorative justice be an option?
The approach – which includes facilitated discussions – shows potential for bringing closure to survivors and stopping repeat offenses. But critics say it’s not appropriate for such a violent crime.
-> Learn more


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