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School of Social Work News

    Leigh Robertson Is the School of Social Work’s 2021 Distinguished Lecturer

    Field Faculty and Lecturer Leigh Robertson has been named the 2021 SSW Distinguished Lecturer for her dedication and skill in field education.

    Since joining the School in 2004, she has provided exceptional instruction and mentorship to over 1,500 social work students. She has worked closely with field instructors, who routinely testify to the importance of Robertson’s mentorship and support of their efforts in working with our students. In attending to the needs and growth of both students and field instructors, she has ensured that MSW students receive the kind of learning and growth through their field experiences which fulfill a vital and significant aspect of the School’s curriculum.

    Robertson has also played an instrumental role in attending to the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion concerns and has provided important support to LBGTQIA+ students. She took the lead in creating “Out in Field'' trainings for field instructors and agencies, which not only support LGBT+ students’ ability to fully benefit from their field placements, but also advance the work of inclusion and diversity across our community.

    • May 3, 2021
  2. Mary C. RuffoloMieko Yoshihama
    Mary Ruffolo and Mieko Yoshihama Receive 2021 SSW Distinguished Faculty Awards

    Professors Mary Ruffolo and Mieko Yoshihama have been named 2021 SSW Distinguished Faculty for their dedication to scholarship and teaching, for their excellent service to both the School and to students.

    • May 3, 2021
    U-M Community Outreach to Support the COVID-19 Crisis in India

    In recent weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases in India has exploded, overwhelming the nation’s public health, medical and infrastructure capacities, and creating a health care catastrophe.

    The U-M Community has close ties to India that go back over a century, resulting in cherished long term research and educational partnerships. We currently have about 1,000 students from and 6,000 alumni in India, many of whom are personally affected by this unfolding crisis.

    How you can help:

    We know many of you with family or friends in India are suffering. Please do not hesitate to reach out to access university support resources if you need help during such a difficult time. Our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are available to all students.

    • April 30, 2021
  4. William Elliott III
    College Savings Accounts Help Low-Income Children Build Assets

    Professor William Elliott III spoke with the New York Times about how establishing college savings accounts early transforms expectations about the future and impacts savings. “A savings account for a low-income kid means a lot more to them than it does for a wealthy kid.”

    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?

    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.

    • April 13, 2021
  9. 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.

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