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.
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.
At the end of the 2017-18 school year, the School of Social Work celebrated the distinguished careers of retiring faculty members Kathleen McInnis-Dittrich, James Lubben, and Ron Ancrum, honoring their contributions to social work research and the Boston College community.
Professor Thanh Tran and Professor and Associate Dean of Faculty Development & Academic Affairs Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes have been recognized for the outstanding contributions to community service and the work-family community, respectively.
Boston College School of Social Work’s MSW Global Practice concentration has, to date, brought students to five different continents to work in refugee camps, child abuse centers, women’s empowerment programs, and a wide range of other social service agencies. As this semester comes to a close, we check in with three of our intrepid global concentrators to get a sense of why they decided to pursue international opportunities and to learn more about how their experiences abroad are helping shape their visions for their future careers.
Eight Boston College School of Social Work (BCSSW) MSW candidates are engaged in a novel Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) course designed and taught by Assistant Professor Samantha Teixeira that provides hands-on experience in the context of an existing community-engaged research partnership. In the course, students design and implement a specific project, then reflect on the possibilities for using CBPR in future settings related to community development, community organizing, and academic research.
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.