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School of Social Work News

    Mathieu Despard Named Faculty Associate at School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis

    Assistant Professor Mathieu Despard was named a Faculty Associate with the Center for Social Development at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. He is currently conducting research on the outcomes of a large scale tax-time savings experiment and on the promise of employer-based financial wellness programs in partnership with the Center for Social Development. 

    • February 13, 2016
    Robert LaRoe Chosen as Session Presenter at HighEdWeb Michigan Regional Conference

    Webmaster Robert LaRoe was chosen as a session presenter and will give his talk, "Improving Your Website's Performance" at the May 5th-6th HighEdWeb Michigan Regional Conference at Grand Valley State University. 

    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams Write for the American Evaluation Association Blog

    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams, Evaluation Associates with the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group, were invited to write a post for the American Evaluation Association blog, AEA365.  Their post highlighted the tool they developed for the Program Evaluation Group, the Tiers of Skill Development.  The Tiers of Skill Development intentionally guide students through developing their evaluation skills.  You can read their blog post here.

    • January 6, 2016
    Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group Staff and Students Present at American Evaluation Association Conference

    Evaluation Associates and students from the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group presented at the American Evaluation Association national conference in Chicago, IL on November 11-14, 2015, including three poster presentations and three oral presentations.

    Oral presentations included:

    • Intentionally Developing Skills and Competencies in New Evaluators: The Tier Approach. Presenters: Laura Sundstrom, MSW, and Megan Elyse Williams, MSW (Evaluation Associates)
    • Using the Social Work Approach to Enhance Evaluation Practice. Presenters: Megan Elyse Williams, MSW, and Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associates)

    Poster presentations included:

    • College Access and Social Anxiety: How Evaluation Results Led to Targeted Curriculum Redesign. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Sue Schooner, MBA (client); and Natalya Wawrin, MSW (former field student)
    • Data Automation 101: A step-by-step approach to effeciently handing multi-stide evaluation data. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Megan Elyse Williams, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Meredith Philyaw, MS (Evaluation Associate); and Jennifer Nulty, MSW Candidate (current work study student)
    • Evaluating a Human Trafficking Course Diversion Program: Building Knowledge to Better Serve Victims of Human Trafficking. Authors: Sue Ann Savas, MSW; Laura Sundstrom, MSW (Evaluation Associate); Chad Jobin, LLMSW (Evaluation Associate); Mary O'Brien, MSW Candidate (current work study student); and Cainnear Hogan, MSW Candidate (current work study and special studies student)

    Laura Sundstrom and Megan Elyse Williams (Evaluation Associates) also participated on a panel discussion entitled, "Strategies for Teaching and Enhancing Cultural Competence in Novice Evaluators."

  5. Edith C. Kieffer
    Community Health Worker Sustainability in Michigan

    Edie Kieffer and Katie Mitchell hosted the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) annual meeting in Lansing for 206 community partners and participants. Meeting materials and summaries are available on the MiCHWA web site

    • November 11, 2015
  6. Julie M. Ribaudo
    Julie Ribaudo Selected as 2015 SSW Student Union Teacher of the Year

    Clinical Associate Professor Julie Ribaudo was selected as the 2015 SSW Student Union Teacher of the Year. She will be recognized at the Student Awards Ceremony in March. Below are several student statements about Professor Ribaudo:

    "Julie has such wisdom and compassion from her experiences and an amazing ability of teaching this wisdom in a way that is both clear and sensitive to the identities and unique needs of each student. She teaches her course content with a strong PODS lens and is mindful of the diverse experiences and identity intersectionalities of her students. I've learned so much in her courses thus far and want to take every mini course offered with her! Julie is truly the epitome of empathy and compassion!"

    "She has so much passion for what she teaches that it rubs off on her students. She also has a huge depth of knowledge that anyone wanting to pursue social work would be lucky to be exposed to."

    "Julie has been an amazing teacher. I have learned more from her in my classes than I have in any of my others. She creates an open, safe class environment where people feel comfortable speaking their minds and are able to build meaningful relationships with one another. She also was very helpful with the transition back into a school setting first semester, and was conscious and understanding of the fact that many people were having a difficult time transitioning."

    • February 16, 2015
    SSW Responds to Grand Jury Decision Not to Indict in Eric Garner’s Death

    Photo Courtesy of Kate Wells & Michigan Radio

    Dear Social Work Colleagues,

    Racial discrimination and inequality remain ongoing and pervasive aspects of our society brought again vividly to light by the recent grand jury decision not to indict in Eric Garner’s death.  In combination with the National Association of Social Workers and the schools of social work across the country, many of whom have issued statements following the recent refusal to indict Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner in New York, we need to draw together as a school and a profession on an agenda that can lead to the fundamental changes necessary to address racism in the U.S.

    In the weeks after the shooting death in Ferguson, one of my colleagues teaching in St. Louis wrote, “People have asked if they can help.  My advice is to look at yourself and your community.  There are so many communities like Ferguson and so many places where something similar can happen.  Also, work with your legislators.  Our governor is forming a Ferguson Commission to make suggestions for change.  No real change will happen unless our Legislature is involved.”

     How can we make change? We need to start with ourselves.

    • Work in our classrooms and other school venues to continue both critical discussion of the role of racism in our society and the design of social and policy responses to racism and inequality.
    • Study and research the impact of racism in our communities and document publicly its effects.
    • Work in the organizations and agencies in which we participate to put the fruits of these discussions and analyses to work.
    • Work throughout the political system to engage in the work of changing the persisting painful inequities.

    As one example, we can engage more specifically with our criminal justice system, towards the goals listed by NASW.

    • National standards on the use of lethal police force.
    • National standards on how police handle persons living with mental illnesses or disabilities.
    • Trainings to help end police bias and racial profiling when dealing with people of color.
    • Make body cameras standard police equipment.

     Along with others in the social work community, we must remain committed to addressing and remedying the pain and trauma caused by these events and by the myriad of other, less publicized events, now and in the future. We must also work towards the fundamental changes that will  attack the racial inequities that stunt our society.   I hope that we may come together as a community to address these tasks that we face in the weeks, months, and years to come.  We must also put this commitment into both words and actions, drawing strength and inspiration from what we can each contribute.

    With Regards,

    Laura Lein

    Dean and Katherine Reebel Collegiate Professor of Social Work
    University of Michigan

    Thanks to Assistant Dean Tim Colenback, Assistant Professor Desmond Patton and Associate Dean Mike Spencer for collaborating with this statement.

    • December 5, 2014
  8. John E. TropmanSue Ann Savas
    The Delicate Dance: University and community members learn about the intersection of philanthropy and evaluation

    On Friday, December 5, 2014, the Curtis Center Program Evaluation Group convened a panel to talk with the University and the community about the delicate dance between evaluation and philanthropy.  In total, over 70 people were in attendance, including students and faculty from the School of Social Work, members of the University community, representatives from foundations, consumers of evaluation, and professional evaluators.  The conversation was facilitated and moderated by John Tropman, PhD, Professor of Social work.  Panelists included Harlene Appelman, Executive Director of Covenant Foundation; Rob Collier, President & CEO of Council on Michigan Foundations; Jane Fran Morgan, JFM Consulting; and Pam Smith, President and United Way of Wasthenaw County.

    Laura Sanders, Esther Ayers and Elise Hernandez Recognized by the Organization of Latino Social Workers

    Congratulations to the 2014 Organization of Latino Social Workers award recipients:

    Adjunct Professor Laura Sanders - Activist of the Year

    Laura shared her award with Melanie Harner, Margaret Harner and Ramiro Martinez the other co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition of Immigrant Rights.

    Esther Ayers – MSW Student of the Year

    Elise Hernandez – PhD Student of the Year

    The Organization of Latino Social Workers is committed to improving the overall health and psychological well-being of the Latino population. The organization seeks to promote access to educational and economic opportunities for all Latino social workers.

    • November 17, 2014
    SSW Alumni Board of Governors accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award

    The School of Social Work Alumni Board of Governors is accepting nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes School of Social Work alumni whose achievements exemplify the values of the School of Social Work and who have made an exceptional impact on the profession, the community and/or Social Work education. Nominations are due September 5, 2014.

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