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School of Social Work News

    The Papa WAS Project and Detroit Bass Day

    On August 27, 2022, Detroit Bass Day celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Motown hit "Papa was a Rollin' Stone." A number one hit by The Temptations in 1972, the song features an immortal and driving bass line, which 50 bassists played on the Motown Museum Plaza. The song's powerful narrative about family responsibility has inspired the Papa WAS project, which invited participants to share their perspectives, personal narratives and spoken word poetry about fatherhood. The project continues to collect and post stories about fathers; the story collection is archived on the ENGAGE website. "The Bass Day celebration demonstrated the power of music to build community. The spoken word poetry was epic - weaving history, memory and emotion into a tribute for the contribution fathers make to their families. It was a joy and a privilege to have been a part of this amazing cultural event," said Professor Richard Tolman.

    The Papa WAS project is spearheaded by Professor Rich Tolman and sponsored by the School of Social Work.

    Whitmer Signs Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Retention and Training Program Bill

    Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Michigan Senate Bill 1012 into law. The legislation provides for the creation of a Student Mental Health Apprenticeship Retention and Training grant program (SMART), paying graduate social work students $25 an hour for their field education in public schools settings.  The legislation was supported by The School’s Joint Task Force on Stipends and the social work student campaign Payments for Placements in partnership with the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Work.  

    "As this legislation demonstrates, paid fieldwork is a win-win. The SMART internship program will improve public school children's access to mental health resources, on top of making an MSW education more affordable for hundreds of students,” said Payments for Placement co-chair and MSW student Arie Davey. “We're happy to have worked with the SSW and the NASW-MI on this advocacy effort. We look forward to working with them on securing further public investments in students, service providers, and clients."

    “This legislation will play a major role in both offsetting costs for social work students and in encouraging our students to pursue a future career as a school social worker,” said Professor Joseph Himle, who served as chair of the joint task force. “Social workers are making large contributions in schools across the nation and their services are particularly important given the challenges that youth have faced in recent years. I applaud the efforts of our students, faculty and staff who contributed a substantial amount of time and energy advocating for this exciting legislative achievement!”

    Dillon Cathro Elected to U-M Police Department Oversight Committee

    DEI Program Manager Dillon Cathro has been elected to the U-M Police Department Oversight Committee, which receives and makes recommendations regarding grievances against any police officers deputized by the university. “Social Workers have a responsibility to tackle difficult issues that impact our most vulnerable and marginalized community members, both on and off campus, and police conduct is one such issue,” said Cathro.” I'm hopeful that the committee will provide thoughtful, intentional leadership and recommendations that reimagine the ways security and safety are maintained.”

  4. Rogério Meireles Pinto
    Rogério M. Pinto Awarded the Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship

    Professor Rogério M. Pinto has been named a University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor.

    Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, and jointly administered by the U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) and the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI), the Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship is an honor designation for senior faculty who have the highest levels of achievement in demonstrating a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching or service and engagement. The initial appointment is for five years and also includes special faculty fellow status at NCID.

    Pinto’s research focuses on finding academic, sociopolitical and cultural venues for broadcasting voices of oppressed individuals and groups. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, his community-engaged research focuses on the impact of interprofessional collaboration on the delivery of evidence-based services (HIV and drug-use prevention and care) to marginalized racial/ethnic and sexual minorities in the United States and Brazil. Pinto also conducts art-based scholarly research.

    "With this professorship, I will advance my federally-funded research on the impact of critical consciousness to abate racism, homophobia, sexism and other forms of oppression. I will specifically investigate performance and visual arts as vehicles for self-healing and social action against oppression of minoritized people," said Pinto.

    Pinto is the Berit Ingersoll-Dayton Collegiate Professor of Social Work and the School’s Associate Dean for Research and Innovation.  He is also a Professor of Theatre and Drama at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He was the recipient of the U-M Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award in 2021.

    Santa Ono Named 15th U-M President

    Welcome, Dr. Santa J. Ono, named by the Board of Regents as 15th President-Elect of the University of Michigan. “I fiercely believe that higher education — through our scholarship, our service, and our graduates — can deliver the changes we need to build healthy, sustainable, and just communities,” he said.

  6. Brian E. Perron
    Brian Perron Fights Academic Fraud

    Professor Brian Perron has been invited to speak with members of the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee regarding his investigation of a Russian academic paper mill. Such entities provide fraudulent services – ghostwriting, brokering authorship on accepted papers, and falsifying data–to researchers seeking to publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. Perron has identified approximately 200 papers in the published literature that have evidence of being brokered through this paper mill. His investigation led to the retraction of 30 published articles from the International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning, representing the largest number of retractions from a single social science journal.

    “I have seen the nature of scientific publishing change so much, “Perron says. “It used to be, you identified the right journals and you knew you were competing with the best work.” Then Perron saw a blog post about people selling scholarly articles. “You find these articles in the published literature,” he says. “Some are brokered through open access journals, and there's the pay-to-publish model; with a few thousand dollars, you get any paper published you want.

    “We should have stronger restrictions if somebody's getting federal funding,” he says. “There is a push to make research more widely available, and open access journals were going to solve that. We want government funded science to be more accessible, but we want to weed out the profiteers.”

    “It’s exciting that lawmakers are interested in this topic,” Perron says. “You might call what I’m doing ‘citizen science.’ What I dig up is not peer reviewed. It is more like investigative journalism, like doing citizenship and science together.”

    • July 13, 2022
  7. Valerie Taing
    Valerie Taing Awarded 2022-2023 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship

    PhD student Valerie Taing has been awarded a 2022-2023 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship is one of the most prestigious awards granted by the Rackham Graduate School. Doctoral candidates who expect to graduate within six years after beginning their degrees are eligible to apply, and the strength and quality of their dissertation abstract, publications and presentations, and recommendations are all taken into consideration when granting this award.

    Sam Gilliam, Artist of “The Real Blue,” Has Died

    Sam Gilliam, the abstract artist whose work “The Real Blue” was commissioned for the School of Social Work died on Saturday at his home in Washington, D.C. He was 88. “The Real Blue” is the centerpiece of the School’s original art collection.

    “Sam Gilliam brought his dynamic use of structures and brilliant deployment of colors to the “The Real Blue,” said Dean Emerita Paula Allen-Meares. This commissioned work of art anchors the collection of artistic works at the School of Social Work. He contextualized this work within the spirit of social justice and the vibrant tapestry of the America we are becoming. His presence lives on in this stunning piece that will continue to influence our social work community.”

    Professor Larry Gant sees in the piece the current issues of social work: identities, configurations and critical intersectionality.  “Nothing fits, but it does. The colors are different but they fit; the shapes fit but they aren’t supposed to.  What do we take from that?  It’s abstract art that doesn’t have answers but compels questions and gets your attention, and that’s a really good intent: it gets students able to sit with ambiguity.”

    A Conversation with New Dean Beth Angell

    On July 1, 2022, Kathryn Elizabeth (Beth) Angell was appointed as dean of the School of Social Work. She was previously dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Social Work and, before that, held a number of leadership roles at Rutgers University in New Jersey. We caught up with Angell as she prepared to move to Ann Arbor, to learn more about her experiences, perspectives and hopes for the future.

    • June 23, 2022
  10. Garrett Pace
    Garrett Pace Successfully Defends Dissertation

    Garrett Pace, Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Sociology, has successfully defended his dissertation entitled "Corporal Punishment Bans in Global Perspective: Conceptualization and Child- and Caregiver-Reported Outcomes.” His committee consisted of Shawna Lee and Andrew Grogan-Kaylor. Pace has accepted a tenure-track assistant professor position at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

    • June 21, 2022

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