2014 News about the School for Social Work

Our Anti-racism Commitment at Work: Framing a Dialogue and Facilitating Critical Conversations

On the heels of a second grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the death of an unarmed Black man, faculty and administrators at the School have given much thought to our responsibility to honor our anti-racism commitment. The SSW Anti-racism Task Force has drafted a statement to encourage all members of our community to engage in meaningful dialogue about what these events mean for us as social workers, educators, and justice-minded community members.

We encourage all members of our School community to read and share the statement, below. (The statement can be found at the link, below, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.)

SSW Statement: Invitation to Dialogue


Our Anti-racism Task Force also will facilitate a series of real-time critical conversations for current students between December 8 and December 16, 2014. Students are encouraged to sign up to take part.

Announcing the launch of Dispatches—a new student blog

We are excited to announce the launch of Dispatches, a new student blog which will follow five students in the SSW Master's program, as they complete
9-month field internships in locations around the country.

"Field work is at the heart of the student experience at the School for Social Work," said Dr. Marianne Yoshioka, dean of Smith College School for Social Work. "This new platform allows prospective students—and members of the Smith College community—an insider’s view into the M.S.W. field experience."

Bringing the field experience home

The School for Social Work graduate programs are built around a unique block plan, during which students alternate between intensive summer coursework at Smith College and 9-month periods of field work. M.S.W. students may be placed at Smith-affiliated training centers that are as close as downtown Northampton or as far as Toronto or California. Since students are off-campus for much of the year, it is often difficult to show others the active learning that takes place from September through April, when students are working closely with clinical supervisors and faculty field advisers.

"'Dispatches' will showcase the variety of experiences students have in the field and the growth those experiences inspire over the course of a year," said Dr. Irene Rodriguez-Martin, the associate dean for administration and graduate enrollment at SSW.

Student bloggers represent a wide range of experiences

The new SSW student blog features five M.S.W. students from a variety of backgrounds, in their first or second field internships in locations from Greenfield, Massachusetts, to Venice, California.

  • Camila de Onís is a first-year M.S.W. student at the Smith College School for Social Work. She is placed at Federation Employment and Guidance Service in the City Wide Health Home Care Coordination program in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Janae Peters is a second-year M.S.W. student at the Smith College School for Social Work. She is placed at Clinical and Support Options in the Outpatient Clinic in Greenfield, MA. She completed her first-year internship at Clinical and Support Options in Emergency Services and Crisis Stabilization.
  • José Hernández is a first-year M.S.W. student at the Smith College School for Social Work. He is placed at the Venice Family Clinic in Venice, CA.
  • Katie Green is a first-year M.S.W. student at the Smith College School for Social Work. She is placed at Polaris in the Client Services unit in Washington, DC.
  • Maya Hochberger-Vigsittaboot is a second-year M.S.W. student at the Smith College School for Social Work. She is placed at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center in the Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit in Baltimore, MD. Her first-year internship was at High Road Schools DC at the High Road Middle Academy in Washington, DC.


Read the blog: Dispatches

SSW Statement on Ferguson: "Our Anti-Racism Commitment: Understanding Ferguson, Missouri

In light of the grand jury's announcement of the decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, the Smith College School for Social Work has issued a statement on events in Ferguson, as seen through the lens of our anti-racism commitment. We encourage all members of our School community to read and share the statement. (The statement can be found at the link, below, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.)

SSW Statement on Ferguson

Prof. Josh Miller on International Year of the Family anniversary panel

On September 10, 2014, School for Social Work Professor Josh Miller joined Dr. Alaina Brenick (University of Connecticut-Hartford) and Dr. Kathryn Libal (University of Connecticut-Storrs) for a panel on "Overcoming Disaster: Therapeutic, Community, and Institutional Supports for Children and Families." The panel was held at the University of Connecticut at Storrs in honor of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family. Miller spoke about his disaster-relief work and the importance of approaching such work with awareness of privilege and an attitude of humility.

More information: "International Year of the Family Panel Discussion" in The Daily Campus (9/11/14)

Cultural-Competency with Muslim Clients

Muslim chaplain, Ibrahim Long, joins SSW for the evening of Monday, July 28th, to offer evidence-based approaches for relating to Muslim clients with cultural sensitivity. Despite the growth of the Muslim population in the U.S. and Canada, research into the population's clinical needs has not kept pace. At the same time, misunderstanding of Islam and Muslims, along with anti-Muslim sentiment, is on the rise. To aid social work, spiritual care, and counseling professionals serving Muslim clients, this lecture will present an overview of Muslim experiences in America, along with a number of approaches for the care of Muslim clients recommended by counseling professionals.

The event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

Monday July 28, 2014 at 7:30pm
Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall

More information: Caring for Muslim Clients: Culturally-Sensitive and Evidence-Based Approaches

Meet the Alumni Association and get a FREE T-shirt!

The SSW Alumni Association Executive Committee is looking forward to meeting this year's graduates--and other current SSW students. Students are invited to a meet-and-greet with the Executive Committee to learn about the Alumni Association on Friday, July 25th, at lunchtime in the King/Scales Dining Room. Students who attend the meet-and-greet will receive a FREE SSW T-SHIRT, compliments of the SSW Alumni Association!

Welcome reception for Dean Marianne R. M. Yoshioka

A welcome reception for Dean Yoshioka will be held July 14, 2014 at 4:00pm. The event will be held in the Brown Fine Arts Museum atrium.

Alumni panel to discuss the power of the SSW anti-racism commitment

On July 14, a panel of SSW alumni will share thoughts on the power of the SSW anti-racism commitment both at SSW and beyond. In light of the new dean”s tenure and the 20th anniversary of the anti-racism commitment, the Council for Students of Color have organized this panel to acknowledge the importance of this commitment for students (as future professional social workers), teachers, and the social work field. The CSOC believes this focus is crucial for increasing future social workers” awareness of oppression and encouraging positive changes in the field. Panelists will highlight the importance of centering race and racism work in our social work education and help continue the tradition of centering students of color and anti-racism at Smith College”s School for Social Work.

The event is free, open to the public, and wheelchair accessible.

Monday July 14, 2014 at 7:30pm
Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall

What's all the Buzz about at SSW?

Say goodbye to the SSW Bulletin and welcome the new SSW Buzz!

"We are excited to announce that, starting Term 2 of summer 2014 the Bulletin will be retired, as we introduce our new information site - the SSW Buzz!" said Associate Dean Irene Rodriguez-Martin. "We hope you'll enjoy and make great use of this news vehicle created especially for the SSW community."

Like the Bulletin, the SSW Buzz offers time-sensitive notices, reminders, and deadlines for School for Social Work. However, the new format has several advantages. It is more visually engaging, prioritizes key information in a timely, eye-catching way, and allows for daily updates -- no more weekly deadlines or publication announcements. The Buzz also offers an easy way for all users to submit news items about events and other information.

For the time being, all links to the Bulletin will automatically redirect users to the Buzz. Users can find links to the Buzz in a variety of locations, including on the SSW homepage.

Take a look at the new SSW Buzz, bookmark the page (you may even want to make it your home page), and be sure check back often to make sure you're always up to date on the Buzz here at SSW!

Credit goes to SSW Administrative Assitant John Terracuso for the new name! Thanks to Administrative Coordinator Maddy Neely, Communications Specialist Tynan Power, and Graham Ridley of Clarity Data Services for the idea, development, and implementation of the Buzz.

Adnopoz and Nagler "Take it to the Streets"

On June 30th, our Monday night lecture will offer insights from 30 years of data compiled about in-home clinical services at Yale”s Child Study Center. Jean Adnopoz, MPH, Clinical Professor in the Yale Child Study Center, and Director of In-Home Clinical Services and Steve Nagler, M.S.W, Director of Program Innovation and Evaluation for the SeriousFun Children”s Network, will provide an overview of the development and use of home-based intervention models with a wide variety of clients.


SSW Communications Specialist Attends White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights

On June 24th, our SSW Communications Specialist, Tynan Power, was in Washington, DC, attending the White House Forum on Global LGBT Human Rights. At the forum, where Ambassador Susan Rice delivered keynote remarks, participants engaged with senior Obama Administration officials on the Administration’s ongoing efforts to protect and promote the human rights of LGBT individuals internationally. Ty was also invited to a reception at the home of Vice President and Dr. Biden in honor of the LGBT human rights community later this evening.


Annual Lydia Rappaport Lecture by Faye Mishna on "What's App with Youth Online: Cyber Bullying and Clinical Implications"

On June 23, Faye Mishna, M.S.W., Ph.D., will deliver the annual Lydia Rappaport Lecture at the conclusion of a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the SSW doctoral program--from which she earned her Ph.D. in 1998. The lecture will cover the clinical implications of new forms of bullying that youth are experiencing through the Information and communication technologies (ICTs) that are now the dominant medium through which youth communicate. Material will include both the benefits and risks of the cyber world for children and youth. A focus will be on understanding cyber bullying and its impact (e.g., definition, similarities and differences from traditional bullying, prevalence, effects, lack of disclosure to adults), as well as gaining further insight into the controversies of this recent phenomenon, which has gleaned national and international attention. 

More information about the lecture and the speaker.]

Reaching for Excellence nomination deadline extended to June 6

Good news for Bachelor-level human service providers -- the deadline for nominations for our Reaching for Excellence (REX) program has been extended to June 6, 2014.

REX offers a unique opportunity to experience a full weekend of courses and lectures designed to challenge and stretch Bachelor-level social workers and human service providers -- and to inspire them to consider graduate education! Our next REX weekend will be held September 11-13, 2014.

Benefits of participating in REX include:

  • A grant to cover all coursework, lectures, room and board for REX
  • Reimbursement of half of domestic travel expenses to the REX weekend exceeding $50
  • 18 Continuing Education credits
  • Waiver of the $60 Smith College M.S.W. application fee if you apply
  • Geographical location preference for M.S.W. program field internship once admitted to the M.S.W. program.

Information about Reaching for Excellence and instructions for submitting a nomination can be found on the Reaching for Excellence admission page.

Dr. Arthur Zajonc presents lecture at event honoring Dean Jacobs

On Monday, May 12, Smith College welcomed Dr. Arthur Zajonc, president of the Mind & Life Institute, for a lecture on healing through mindfulness as part of a retirement event honoring Dean Jacobs. Zajonc, a professor emeritus of physics at Amherst College whose work has included the experimental foundations of quantum physics, has a deep interest in the relationships among science, the humanities, and the contemplative traditions. His presentation, "From Bystander to Healer: The Journey to Healing of Self and Others Through Mindfulness," addressed a topic of great interest to Dean Jacobs, who directs the Contemplative Clinical Practice Advanced Certificate Program at SSW.

Following the lecture, there was an opportunity with Q&A with Dr. Zajonc, followed by a lovely reception hosted by the Provost's office.

A New Dean of the SSW Announced

Marianne R. M. Yoshioka, associate dean for academic affairs at the Columbia University School of Social Work and an 18-year member of that faculty, has been appointed dean of the Smith College School for Social Work (SSW), effective July 1.

Yoshioka succeeds Carolyn Jacobs, who joined the SSW faculty in 1980 and served as the school’s acting dean and then dean since 2000.

“Marianne Yoshioka brings to Smith an impressive record as a scholar, teacher and innovative administrator,” said Provost Marilyn R. Schuster, who led the search. “She has a keen understanding of the issues social work educators must address today and she embraces the core values of the Smith College School for Social Work.”

“I am delighted to welcome Marianne Yoshioka to Smith,” said Smith President Kathleen McCartney. “Her record of accomplishment at Columbia, particularly in regard to innovative pedagogies, professional development, and diversity, will be an asset to the School for Social Work and to the college.”

Yoshioka began her social work career as a clinician addressing substance use, HIV prevention, and family alcohol intervention. Those experiences led to a research interest in the cultural context of domestic violence and the provision of social services to Asian American communities.

Yoshioka holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Western Ontario, a master’s of social work degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate in social work from Florida State University. She teaches courses in clinical practice, clinical evaluation research, design of interventions, and human behavior

Yoshioka entered the Columbia School of Social Work administration in 2006, as the academic dean. In that role, she has advanced the school’s use of instructional technologies, supporting planning for an online master’s of science program to be completed in combination with fieldwork. She led the establishment of a new office of post-graduate coursework, training, and continuing education, as well as the launch of a new professional development program focused on diversity and inclusion.

“I am honored to bring my commitment to excellence to the Smith College School of Social Work,” Yoshioka said. I am passionate about the advancement of clinical social work practice and, in particular, the unique and powerful method of training offered at Smith. I am excited to join with the Smith faculty, students, and alumni to continue the tradition of leading-edge social work education and scholarship.”

The Smith School for Social Work was founded in 1918 for the express purpose of preparing social workers to provide mental health services to traumatized soldiers and their families at the end of World War I. The School is committed to research, knowledge production and policy that address the rapidly changing practices of social work in the twenty-first century. The School offers master’s and doctoral degrees to some 400 students, as well as certificate programs and continuing education.

Dean Jacobs to Receive Proclamation from Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz

At 7pm on Thursday, March 20, Prof. Phebe Sessions and other members of the faculty and staff of Smith College School for Social Work will join Dean Jacobs and Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz at a special recognition of Social Work Month.

During the Northampton City Council meeting, the Mayor will read the Social Work Month proclamation and present it to the dean. All are welcome to attend.

The meeting will take place in City Council Chambers, located in the Municipal Building at 212 Main St., Northampton, MA, directly behind City Hall

*Parking note: Space in the lot between City Hall and the Municipal Building is limited, however parking is plentiful and free after 6 pm in the Round House parking lot behind the Municipal Building (entered from Old South St.).

Smith College School for Social Work Celebrates Social Work Month 2014

Smith College School for Social Work is proud to partner with the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) to promote Social Work Month 2014 and this year’s theme: “All People Matter.”

“All People Matter” is a value at the heart of the field of social work. For 116 years, social workers have upheld a commitment to improve social conditions and quality of life opportunities for everyone—regardless of life circumstances. Throughout the past century, social workers have created and influenced policies and programs that provide increasing numbers of people with the support and skills to face and overcome life’s challenges. Since 1918, the Smith College School for Social Work has been a pioneer in training social workers.

[To read more about how SSW is recognizing Social Work Month, download the PDF: SSW Celebrates Social Work Month [PDF]

Registration for 2014 Summer Seminars is now open

This summer, the School for Social Work will offer more than 30 one-day seminars covering a wide variety of topics. Students earn 6 Conintuing Education Credits per course and may choose to take one course or several. Space is limited, so register early. Learn more about this summer's seminar offerings!

Dean's Welcome Reception for New Students set for April 23

NEW DATE - Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 5 p.m., Lilly Hall
The Dean's reception to welcome new students of the School for Social Work will take place on April 23, 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., in the 2nd floor conference room of Lilly Hall. For more information or to RSVP, contact Karissa Raynor.

SSW alum, Tomás Alvarez III, named an Ashoka Foundation fellow

Tomás Alvarez III, M.S.W. '06, has been selected as a lifetime fellow of the Ashoka Foundation, which honors social entrepreneurs who have innovative solutions to social problems. While a student at Smith College School for Social Work, Alvarez developed an innovative hip hop therapy program that uses the creation of music as a tool to promote mental health. Since completing his M.S.W., Alvarez founded Beats Rhymes and Life, Inc. (BRL), a 501(c)3 offering hip hop therapy and workforce development to young people between the ages of 18 and 24.


Jim Drisko named an inaugural Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)

James W. Drisko, M.S.W. '77, a professor at the School for Social Work, was named an inaugural Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), social work's main research organization, which holds the major social work research conference annually. The SSWR Board recently instituted a Fellow status for members who have presented numerous juried conference papers over the years and who have provided considerable service to the society. Drisko has presented 16 times at SSWR since 1999, on topics ranging from qualitative research methods, attachment disorders, empowerment, and a systematic review of the evidence base for psychodynamic psychotherapy. For several years, he has led an interest group on qualitative research, been a reader for SSWR awards, and for conference abstracts. The society anticipates that Fellows will serve as role models and mentors for individuals pursuing careers in social work research, among other roles. Information about the new Fellowship and a list of the 2014 cohor of Fellows is available on the SSWR Fellowship Program web page.