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Social Work Courses – Winter 2017

Soc W 516: The Research Base for Prevention Science: Children and Adolescents

SLN: 20026

Th 6-8:50pm (Interested graduate students can self-register)

The U.S. Children’s Bureau campaign to reduce infant mortality from 1912-1930 used epidemiological data to identify needs and home visiting to strengthen families, and is arguably unparalleled in scope and popular support of any prevention effort in social work. Despite historical linkages between the early roots of Social Work and prevention, in recent years, social workers predominantly have been involved in intervention with individuals and families after problems have been identified. This course investigates the potential for preventing major social problems with high costs to society using as illustrative cases recent developments in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, alcohol misuse, delinquency, mental health, and other problems. Preventive intervention, especially when focused on vulnerable and underserved populations, is an important tool to create equity in health and social development for children and adolescents.

This course presents the research base for prevention science for children and adolescents including an overview of theory, research, and practice in prevention science.  A developmental perspective is used to focus on factors that promote or inhibit healthy development at different stages from before birth through adolescence.  Topics include the promotion of healthy development in childhood and adolescence and the prevention of problems that impede healthy development including child abuse and neglect, substance abuse, unwanted pregnancy, violence, delinquent behavior, school misbehavior, dropout, and mental health disorders.

The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine’s Mental Health Intervention Spectrum (2009) is used as a framework to distinguish mental health promotion and universal, selective, and indicated prevention from treatment.  The course demonstrates how prevention science is built on the foundations of developmental epidemiology on biopsychosocial predictors of positive and problem behavior and the distribution of these predictors and behaviors across development and geography.  The course follows the preventive intervention research cycle to explore the role of clinical and field trials in identifying efficacious and effective preventive interventions.  Approaches, results, and issues in large scale, community preventive interventions are also explored.  Finally, opportunities and prospects for dissemination of effective preventive interventions and research on dissemination are investigated.


Soc W 536: Social Movements & Organizing

SLN: 20039

Th 6-8:50pm (Interested graduate students can self-register; junior and senior undergrads – please submit waitlist request)

Community organizing has proven that it can be an effective vehicle for mutual support, neighborhood revitalization, and social change. Through direct-action organizing, low-income neighbors and communities of color are demanding justice from external forces. Meanwhile, practitioners of asset-based community development are strengthening their communities by mapping and mobilizing internal resources.

The course will explore these two models of community organizing and their variations. Through case studies found in readings, lectures, videos, slides, and their own experience and research, students will gain inspiration about the change that is possible when individuals come together as a community, build democratic organizations, mobilize their resources, and demand justice. The students will also acquire tools and learn skills that will better equip them to work as organizers and leaders for social change in their careers and in their daily lives.


Soc W 552: Financial Management of Human Services Programs

Th 1:30-4:20pm

(Interested graduate students can self-register; junior and senior undergrads – please submit waitlist request)

Course Description: This course is intended to convey common financial management concepts and practices that are integral to human service agencies and department financial operations. It is designed to help students perceive, understand, organize, present and explain financial information in ways that are relevant and meaningful to planning, operating and managing human service agencies and programs. Basic concepts and tools of financial management including financial statements, budgets, critical ratios, performance measures, budget planning, cost analysis and risk management are emphasized. Textbook material and exercises, case studies, student group presentations, short lectures and discussions are used. Guest professionals speak on current practices.

Course Outline: Class sessions include student group activity, discussions, student presentations, short lectures and guest professionals speaking on current topics. Students are expected to participate in class, read and complete assignments as per the course syllabus. In the 5th week students anonymously assess the instructors teaching, their learning and any need for change. In the last class session student evaluations of the course and the instructor are collected on line by the Office of Educational Assessment. One text and one monograph are required for this course. The students, instructor and guest professionals may provide additional reading pertaining to current topics. Students are also asked to bring relevant articles or items of interest to initiate or expand class discussions.


Soc W 574: Collaborative Community Evaluation

Fr 1:30-4:20pm (Interested graduate students can self-register)

Feedback about one’s behavior has long been recognized as essential for motivation and learning. Feedback plays the same essential role in outcome-oriented organizations. Program developers, managers and coordinators require key information to determine if a program is performing as intended. They must know how to measure, collect, analyze, and provide information on agency performance. They must be able to develop client-centered information systems that enhance and support agency performance and serve the needs of the learning organization.

Evaluation as a set of practices and skills is an applied area of the social sciences that requires grounding in a number of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches. It also necessitates a clear formulation of questions to be answered, an awareness of stakeholders to be considered, and a plan for how data will be disseminated. Additional priorities for any evaluator include responsiveness to consumer voice and sensitivity to the cultural context in which research is conducted. In short, evaluation needs to adhere to the standards of good research and simultaneously be as practical, useful, and accessible as possible. Increasing understanding of the analytical and interpersonal demands and nuances of the science and art of evaluation is the focus of this course.


Soc W 576: Persons with Disabilities

Fr 9:30-12:20 (Interested graduate students can self-register; junior and senior undergrads – please submitwaitlist request)

This course is designed to deepen your understanding of disability and its relevance to social work. We will discuss disability’s recent socio-political history, models of disability, and current policy issues at the national, state, and local level. Emphasis will be placed on how those policies and their implications for practice affect peoples’ daily lives. This course will engage a broad range of topics that are foundational to social work practice with disabled people, including activism for policy change, person-centered practice, employment, housing and home and community based services, institutional and sexual violence, education and transition to adulthood. We will discuss the disability rights framework as well as a disability justice framework and learn from a diverse group of visiting practitioners, scholars and advocates about the connections between current policy issues and social services in practice. This course will facilitate critical reflection on your own professional stance in relation to these contemporary issues and trends.


Soc W 598A – Digital Storytelling for Social Impact

Th 6-9pm (Interested graduate students can self-register; junior and senior undergrads – please submit waitlist request)

This course prepares students for how to develop compelling narratives that fuse brand building into their professional practice. In this course, students will learn about the power of storytelling through the lens of the filmmaking and social media distribution process.  Digital Storytelling for Social Impact is focused on building impactful storytelling skills in the digital era. With the prevalence of social media, one’s career is essentially a brand platform.

Students will be exposed to both theory and skill developments aimed at utilizing methods of filmic storytelling to address complex issues, inform and inspire audiences and advance their own personal/professional/organizational goals. There will be heavy emphasis on understanding the entire production process of documentary filmmaking conceptually and in hands-on practice. This class will help you learn how to use online tools and social media to share narratives and stories to create a brand platform that has the power to impact change.

Personal narratives can touch viewers deeply, move them to reflect on their own experiences, treat others with greater compassion, speak out about injustice, or become involved and get activated in civic and political life.