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Management of Human Services

This practice method prepares students for managing and directing human service organizations to achieve goals as efficiently and effectively as possible within the framework of social work values. The concentration develops skills and/or knowledge in managing environmental relationships, program planning and development, information systems, fiscal management and evaluation, and organizational development.

Program Details

Students concentrating in management of human services complete four required methods courses, including the two foundation methods courses: Interpersonal Practice with Individuals, Families, and Small Groups (SW 521), and Management, Community Organization, and Policy Practice (SW 560).

Students must also complete two of the following advanced courses, each worth three credit-hours:

Student Profile
Sam Langstein

  • Practice Method:
    Management of Human Services
  • Scholarship:
    Nancy and James Grosfeld Fund
  • Field Placement:
    Jewish Family Services of Metro Detroit

Sam Langstein grew up in an Orthodox Jewish community where mental health was not talked about. He remembers from an early age having thoughts of suicide and of hurting himself. In his teens his struggle with mental health worsened and he began misusing alcohol and opiates. After an acute episode, he dropped out of his Yeshiva seminary and was hospitalized at an inpatient mental health treatment center. “I spent weeks healing and learning who I was,” he says. “I learned what mental health and well-being meant, and I developed a deep appreciation for mental health counselors.” After taking another few months devoting his time to outpatient care, Sam, at the recommendation of his therapists, enrolled at Hunter College in Manhattan, where he took his first social work course. “I looked at how environment and family and community affect people,” he explains. “What I learned clicked with my experience in the Orthodox community. That community had to change to help people going through mental illness.”

After college, Sam went to work for Footsteps, a New York nonprofit that supports those leaving ultra-Orthodox communities by offering peer support, education, job and family counseling, and other resources. “Working with social workers and mentors gave me so much clarity,” he recalls, “all of whom were building a community for people in need. It meant so much to serve and advocate for those who were on such similar journeys.”

Sam chose the University of Michigan School of Social Work for its Jewish Communal Leadership Program (JCLP) after speaking to the program’s director, Professor Karla Goldman. “I was incredibly impressed by her knowledge and her approach to the Jewish community. U-M also offered unique internships and classes.” Finally, Sam says, “I would not be here if not for the Nancy and James Grosfeld scholarship. I can devote myself to the learning I want to do, and after graduation, I will be able to take on jobs that will be meaningful and have an impact, even if they are not the highest paying.”

The Grosfeld scholarship also helps Sam travel to his field placement with Jewish Family Services of Metro Detroit, where he continues to learn about creating community change. “I am proud to intern there,” he says. “Recently, we’ve seen a lot of need in the Detroit Jewish community for mental health services. This is what draws me to social work and who I am and what I want to do in this world—supporting people with mental illness and addiction and youth at risk.”

Looking ahead, Sam says, “I am figuring out how to enact the sweeping change I want to see in the Jewish community’s approach to mental health and addiction. I might be a program director at a startup, disrupting the way Jewish organizations approach mental health services and community. I am drawn to LGBTQ-inclusive work, to work with people on the margins of the Orthodox community, and all Jewish youth at risk.” Sam points out that, “lessons from the Jewish community apply to other communities in need. I have spoken with Christian and Muslim students about mental illness, and I have participated in interfaith coalitions. The most important work right now is preparing clergy and educators to support those with mental illness. Clergy are so often on the front lines of mental health care and we need to partner with them to provide care and resources.”

Sam feels especially grateful to his mentors, his classmates, and his family. He says, “They support me in so many ways. They push me forward in my professional journey. With my family, things haven’t always been easy, but they are growing with me in my personal journey through mental health. My family has been more and more supportive of the work I do. They see the importance of the work I do and the changes that the work brings about. The rest of the community is starting to see it too.”

 

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