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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you prefer, you can schedule an individual appointment with a current MSW student.
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.
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 UNACCEPTABLE.
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:
Queer Advocacy Coalition
Dean Lynn Videka was one of the six of U-M’s women deans who wrote a letter protesting the remarks U-M Regent Ron Weiser made on Thursday at the North Oakland Republican Club. The deans called on Weiser to “repair the serious harm” he had caused. “Regent Weiser's name-calling and use of language suggesting violent actions are hostile, threatening and offensive to all women,” said Videka. U-M President Mark Schlissel and Provost Susan Collins also issued statements denouncing Weiser’s comments.
PhD student Garrett Pace, Associate Professor Shawna Lee, and Professor Andrew Grogan-Kaylor's research was cited in public policy discussions in Colombia, leading to a ban on corporal punishment of children in that country. Colombian legislator Julián Peinado Ramírez shared his memo on Twitter, which references Grogan-Kaylor, Lee and Pace’s 2019 work. The research and ban were also featured on Radio Santa Fe 1070 AM Bogotá.
Once again, America has been devastated by another mass shooting. Yesterday in Colorado, ten people were killed — it is the second mass shooting in less than a week.
We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their families, and to the communities in and around Boulder, Colorado. Senseless violence not only robs us of loved ones but also our sense of security.
We encourage our Michigan Social Work community to seek the support or counseling they need to address their own trauma. Check in with your networks, come together and remind each other of the power of human connection in terrible times.
Social workers are fed up with the pervasiveness and normalization of gun violence. We must act on behalf of our communities to denounce acts of hatred and violence, and to demand meaningful reform to end this epidemic of gun violence plaguing our nation.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106