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School of Social Work News

    Advisory Committee Begins Search for New Dean

    The advisory committee includes faculty, staff, students and other members of the U-Community. The committee is looking for a replacement for Lynn Videka who will step down as dean on December 31, 2021. Read the full story in The University Record.

    Derek Chauvin Found Guilty of Murdering George Floyd

    The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts. 
    The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
    The jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
    The jury has found Derek Chauvin of manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

    Read the university’s response to the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

    • April 20, 2021
    Designing Access Finalist in the U-M Envisioning an Anti-Racist World Challenge

    On April 9, five MSW students, Sofie Aaron, Amy Belfer, Flavio Di Stefano, Hannah Lefton and Callie Torkelson, showcased Designing Access, a resource they created to promote the creation of events that are inclusive and welcoming to all. Their design was part of the Envisioning an Anti-Racist World Challenge, in partnership with the U-M Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

    Designing Access was one of seven presentations at the virtual showcase. Participants were able to create an avatar and enter virtual rooms to experience the presentations. The team was awarded $1,000 in recognition of their innovative approach to creating a future world that is anti-racist.

    The team was initially brought together by Clinical Assistant Professor Katie Doyle. The original project idea started as a class project with the insight that someone developing an event could use the DEI Checklist as a tool for ensuring that any event was fully accessible. The website takes users through the entire event planning process and provides resources for them, right on the website, to help them tackle the relevant planning questions.

    Hannah Lefton, a Designing Access team member, remarked, “A big challenge of using technology to increase accessibility is that technology is not always accessible. There are a lot of pitfalls one can hit when trying to make a website (or any technology) accessible. But, our team also thinks technology can be used intentionally to make resources much more accessible. It's just a matter of putting in the time and effort to make it that way. As social work students, the Designing Access team was happy to put in that time and energy, because we know that creating more accessible spaces is an important goal.”

    The team worked hard to create an online toolkit that can be used by anyone. They hope it will become a resource for event planners, teachers, administrators, nonprofits, small businesses, for-profit enterprises and even individuals who are interested in making casual social gatherings more accessible.

    How Can We End the Cycle of Police Violence?

    Dear Michigan Social Work Community:

    The tragic loss of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man killed by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota fills our community with pain, fear and anger. Day-to-day interactions, like traffic stops, put Black members of our community lives at risk every day. Each incident of injustice is a dark reminder of the amount of work to dismantle systemic racism and oppression in our law enforcement and in society.

    How Can We End the Cycle of Police Violence?

    The Michigan Social Work community can contribute in the following ways by using our core professional competencies:

    ENGAGE: Commit to being involved in the process of a just and safe society for all.

    • Get to know your local politicians’ positions on criminal justice reform and voice your opinion on smart criminal justice policy. This includes governors, state representatives, mayors, city and town council members, sheriffs, wardens, corrections managers and all political candidates.
    • Attend community meetings, rallies and information sessions for the community you reside in.

    ASSESS: Obtain information about historical and current policies, procedures and practices.

    • Learn about policing, crime and the criminal justice system, and reimagine the role of social work within it.
    • Continue to consider your own views, values and beliefs about legal matters.
    • Assess the views, values and beliefs of your friends, colleagues and community members.
    • Learn about the impact of the trauma and vulnerability of our clients, many of whom are all too often swept up in our massive criminal justice system.
    • Research current policies and procedures of your community law enforcement agency.
    • Identify national standards for policing.

    INTERVENE: Utilize evidence-informed interventions to achieve the goal of a just and safe society for all.

    • Insist on greater transparency in the criminal justice process.
    • Insist on the establishment of a citizen oversight board with subpoena power and volunteer your service.
    • Insist that your local law enforcement agency becomes accredited.
    • Insist that your local law enforcement submit data for use of force to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    • Call for new national standards on police use of force and its implementation.
    • Require all officers to undergo robust implicit bias training and offer to provide it.
    • Work with police departments to create mental health response teams and become a member.
    • Call for the access of independent research on all criminal justice encounters, including police stops, the use of force, tickets, administrative fines and fees, the court process, and the jail and prison system.
    • Advocate for and provide trauma-informed mental health services to law enforcement officers.
    • Provide a brave space for encounters between community members and the police within your agency, organization, business, community or place of worship.

    EVALUATE: Continually examine and analyze results to improve and inform.

    • Monitor the efforts in your community.
    • Review reports.
    • Engage in community-based participatory research.

    Social workers understand that intervention is an ongoing component of the dynamic and interactive process of social work practice.  As a community, this is a reminder of the ongoing work that we have all committed to doing.

    In the days ahead, please ask for the help that you need. Generously provide flexibility and support to friends, family and colleagues. Please recognize that we all process differently — some of you may want to talk about how you are feeling, others will need time to process things individually. Please reach out to:

    Black Radical Healing Pathways and The Association of Black Social Work Students will be holding a virtual candlelight vigil to honor the life of Daunte Wright along with all of the Black lives we have lost to police terrorism. Please join us as we create a space for healing.
    Friday, April 16, 7:30 PM


    Stand-up and Speak Out,

    Daicia Price, Clinical Assistant Professor
    Lynn Videka, Dean and Carol T. Mowbray Collegiate Professor
    Lorraine Gutiérrez, Associate Dean for Educational Programs
    Joseph Himle, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs
    Rogério Meireles Pinto, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation
    • April 13, 2021
  5. Trina R. Shanks
    Trina Shanks Interviewed About Research on Vaccine Hesitant Groups

    Professor Trina Shanks was interviewed by West Michigan Fox Channel 17 about vaccine hesitant groups she has been researching. Shanks survey shows that over 50 percent of Detroiters intend to get the vaccine. “There’s people who literally said, 'I don’t want to take it' in December, but when the opportunity came, they did get the vaccine,” Shanks said.

  6. Trina R. Shanks
    Trina Shanks Interviewed About Research on Vaccine Hesitant Groups

    Professor Trina Shanks was interviewed by West Michigan Fox Channel 17 about vaccine hesitant groups she has been researching. Shanks survey shows that over 50 percent of Detroiters intend to get the vaccine. “There’s people who literally said, 'I don’t want to take it' in December, but when the opportunity came, they did get the vaccine,” Shanks said.

    Ghazi Edwin and Price Awarded 2021 Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prizes

    Lecturer and ENGAGE Program Manager Ayesha Ghazi Edwin and Clinical Assistant Professor Daicia Price will both be awarded 2021 Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prizes (TIPs). These awards honor faculty who have developed innovative approaches to teaching that incorporate creative pedagogies.

    Ghazi Edwin’s award is for her project, Improving Our City: The Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission Project. “Participating in the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission project in SW 560 was the highlight of my experience in the MSW program,” said MSW Student Bryant Hepp. “The project allowed me to apply coursework in community engagement, have meaningful discussions with classmates which improved and extended my in-class learning, and present that information to local government officials. By bridging the gap between my identity as a student and member of the local community, the project helped me feel connected to others even during a pandemic.”

    Price’s award is for her course, African-Centered Practices in the Community and in the Classroom. Not only does Price incorporate inclusive teaching principles, she also provides historical context of the origination of the theoretical framework and attributes African culture and ideology. “By engaging the contributions of African Americans within specific disciplines, and utilizing unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith, educators are able to create a cohesive classroom that prepares future leaders to engage in work that supports the pursuit of social justice,” she says. “This course design provides educators with a chance to decentralize Western European standards within the academic and professional settings by introducing and developing alternatives to teaching, learning, and practice.

    • April 7, 2021
    Prospective Students - Connect with an MSW Student

    What's the program really like? Where is your field placement? What do social work students do for fun? Join an MSW student as well as other prospective MSW students for a live webchat about the School of Social Work.  Our MSW students are excited to answer any questions that you have and share their feedback about the program.

    • April 7, 6-7 PM
    • April 9, 6-7 PM
    • April 12, 6-7 PM
    • April 23, 12 -1 PM
    • April 28, 12-1 PM

    If you prefer, you can schedule an individual appointment with a current MSW student.

    Michigan Social Work Mourns the Loss of Larry Davis

    Michigan Social Work mourns the loss of Flint native Larry Davis, MSW '73, PhD '77 professor and dean emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Davis was deeply intellectual, a quality that he attributed to his Michigan interdisciplinary doctoral education, and he continued to be a strong supporter of the School, serving on the Dean's Advisory Board for many years. In 2014 Davis received the Distinguished Alumni Award from Michigan Social Work. He also created a scholarship, the U-M SSW Clara P. and Larry E. Davis Scholarship in 2006 to support a PhD student whose research focuses on poverty and social justice. To date the scholarship has supported 15 doctoral students.

    Davis holds the honor of being the first person to receive both the 2016 Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award by the Council on Social Work Education, and the 2018 Society for Social Work and Research Distinguished Career Achievement Award. His latest book, “Why Are They Angry With Us: Essays on Race” is described as, "his most personal book—touching on themes of racial identity, internalized racism, and the legacy of slavery." 

    Davis’ contributions to the field of social work were giant. He was a teacher, mentor, colleague and friend to many at the School, and his loss is deeply felt.

    QAC Addresses Anti-Trans Legislation on Transgender Day of Visibility

    Hey SSW,

    As many of you may or may not have seen, this week Arkansas passed a law banning health care providers from providing trans youth with access to healthcare. Along with Arkansas, there are similar bills being introduced in several states across the country including Michigan. Many are attacking the ability of trans youth to participate in sports, others are attacking access to healthcare and the ability of transgender people to participate in public life.


    This is a direct attack on the trans community. As social workers, we must make a commitment to organize in order to ensure that transgender youth have life-saving medical care by any means necessary. 

    Now more than ever, cis people must stand up for the rights and dignity of their transgender peers. The solution is and must be intersectional solidarity, advocacy, and mutual aid. The trans community must not face these attacks alone.

    On this Trans Day of Visibility, we are asking everyone to make at least ONE call to either the Governor of Arkansas or to an Arkansas State Senator to call for an end to this inhumane legislation.

    To view the anti-transgender legislation in other states, see the following links. It is vital we stay up to date and advocate alongside our trans friends and colleagues. 

    Finally, if you or a loved one are in need of resources, several are included below:

    • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
    • Trevor Project LGBTQ+ Hotline: 1-866-488-7386
    • CAPS After Hours: 734-764-8312
    • The UM Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 734-936-5900

    In Solidarity,

    Queer Advocacy Coalition

    • March 31, 2021

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