In its mission to solve complex problems, the Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW) has increased its focus on transdisciplinary research, says Dean Gautam N. Yadama. A growing number of recent initiatives, he reports, bring together faculty researchers with collaborators from different disciplines, as well as community members affected by the issues they’re studying. In addition, faculty are adopting innovative research methods—in particular, systems science—to better assess complicated issues and quantify difficult-to-measure outcomes.
The trauma and vulnerability of detained families and separated children are not as easily undone as a policy change. In designing interventions, we must account for the accumulated impact of adverse events that result from complex interactions at various levels, scales, and across social systems and policy responses. BCSSW faculty are pursuing new approaches in their research and teaching that recognize the nature of complex social systems driving individual, community, and institutional behaviors.
A team of researchers from the Boston College School of Social Work’s (BCSSW) Center for Social Innovation delivered a research report to the philanthropic network Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) that offers a working definition of “Catholic social innovation” and highlights 64 examples of such work in response to the global refugee and migrant crisis.
Each spring, two doctoral students at the Boston College School of Social Work are awarded fellowships to further their research and their work in the field. The Carolyn B. Thomas Fellowship, established in 1989 by a longtime BCSSW professor, recognizes the accomplishments and supports the future endeavors of a doctoral student who works with families and children, while the Elaine Pinderhughes Fellowship is given each year to an outstanding African-American PhD student.
In today’s culture of fast-paced technological and entrepreneurial innovation, nonprofits have much to gain by looking within their own organizations to find new solutions to social problems, according to a new book by Stephanie Berzin, an associate professor and assistant dean of doctoral programs at the School of Social Work. Co-authored with Humberto Camarena, Innovation from Within: Redefining How Nonprofits Solve Problems (Oxford University Press, 2018) offers a practical framework for how leaders in the nonprofit sector can foster innovation and creativity within their organizations.
Associate Professor Susan Tohn and Boston College School of Social Work alumna Suelen Yancor, MSW ’05, offer a two-day training on Solution-Focused Therapy techniques with a focus on Spanish language interventions, a project designed to help practitioners understand some of the unique cultural competencies associated with best serving Latinx populations.
The Grand Challenges in Social Work highlight important societal dilemmas that demand innovation and the creation of new knowledge networks. To lead research, scholarship, teaching, and practice around these challenges, social work scholars must bring together relevant disciplines and professions, social work practice partners, and communities. These knowledge networks leverage the strength of a diversity of fields and draw on the lived experience of communities and populations embedded in the problems of concern to us.
Dispatches from the Field is a recurring feature at Innovate@BCSW designed to showcase the school’s commitment to fostering, through field education, fruitful relationships with organizations both in Boston and around the world that are providing critical services to those living at the margins of society.
Students conducted community-based fieldwork in rural India and visited the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) as the culmination of an independent study on social innovation.
GRIT is a monthly research group/webinar designed to provide a space for investigators to receive constructive feedback from peers on grant proposals while learning about grant writing, research methods, and implementation science from experienced senior investigators.
Dispatches from the Field is a recurring feature at Innovate@BCSW designed to showcase the school’s commitment to fostering, through field education, fruitful relationships with organizations that are providing critical services to those living at the margins of society. Mossman is working at Lahey Health Behavioral Services.