with Laura Nissen, Dean and Professor, School of Social Work at Portland State University

February 2014 Connect

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Click on the image below to see the ideas brainstormed by the SSW Admin Team in late January and share your thoughts to expand the conversation.
Pre-strategic planning notes for web


SSW well-represented at SSWR 2014

Congrats to Faculty Members Ben Anderson-Nathe, Stephanie Wahab, Bowen McBeath, Junghee Lee, Roberto Orellana and Ann Curry-Stevens who all presented at this year’s Society for Social Work Research Conference held in San Antonio,Texas this year. You can browse the conference program to check out what is new in that group.   Thanks to Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Vikki Vandiver for representing the Dean’s Office at the conference!

My Life wins National Award

Congrats to Laurie Powers and the “My Life” team at the RRI who have just won a national award through the Center for the Study of Social Policy as a “Youth Thrive Exemplary Initiative.”  CSSP recognized 15 exemplary initiatives that are focused on programs making a difference in the lives of youth in foster care or the child welfare system.   Here is a link to the press release announcing the good news!

Introducing TEAM SWag

Team SWag

Shout out to Karissa Moden, Erin Heinemann, Becky Jones, Jocelyn Wagman, Guy Tyler, Skyler Whitley, Jocelyn Wagman, Chloe Pete, Jamie Hamsa, Joshua Wrolstad, Kira Meyrick, Matthew Olguin, Jacquelyn Serrano, Seth Cohen, and Melissa Rochford – all members of the SOCIAL WORK ACTIVITY GROUP (or maybe you’ve heard them referred to as TEAM SWag), an all inclusive, socially conscious group of social workers at PSU dedicated to community building, organized activity, and FUN.

TEAM SWag helps organize and promote student led activities that fosters community building and good self-care practice. You can join the group by searching “TEAM SWag” on Face Book and you’re invited to use this public forum to plan, organize, and promote fun activities and your passions.

The 50/50 Project 

5050crowdOn January 30, we had a  very successful event (launch of the 50/50 Photography Exhibit) celebrating social work, our alums, and their mentors.   We had over 100 people in attendance, including participants in the photo project, their families, faculty, staff, community members, and donors. Here are a few snapshots from the event – with many more to come.    We are excited to install them permanently in the school in the near future for all to enjoy!

julienancylauraJulie Keefe, Portland’s “Creative Laureate” spoke to the group about the deep impact this project has had in her life and the life of her family (she shared that one of her children who helped with the interviews and photos has expressed an interest in the Child and Family Studies Program).  Her photos, and the way in which she worked with the participants to capture the stories and inspiration of so many, is nothing short of remarkable.  Many described the dynamic, creative and special way it demonstrated the legacy of social work in our community.   

TerryCrossPEG1-1It was a special honor to have Katryn Adams, former Dean Kristi Nelson’s daughter with us for the evening too.  This project was very much an element of Kristi’s legacy – and her spirit was present in our celebration.  Extra thanks must be given to:  Ian Timmons, Melissa Penners, Katie Cagle, Roxanne Dinca, Erika Gitchell, Erin Bray-Salensky, Crystal Froembling, Aaron Pearlman, Nancy Koroloff and SPECIAL THANKS to Lisa Cordova who went above and beyond at every turn to make sure this effort was a success.

(Photo above is of Julie Keefe, Nancy Koroloff and myself, and at the right is of PSU Alum and long term SSW friend, Terry Cross.)


Last but not least, Associate Dean for Research and Professor Tom Keller shares the great news that since June of 2013, the following members of our SSW community have submitted the following research proposals.  Terrific effort!
  • Junghee Lee – NIH, PMT for Asian Immigrant Parents with Youth at Risk for Alcohol Use and Depression
  • Mary Oschwald – NIH, Pregnancy Decision-Making Supports for Women with Developmental Disabilities
  • Karen Cellarius – Providence, Providence Friends/SEI Prevention Project (subcontract from FOTC/SEI)
  • Susan Richardson – U.S. Dept. of Justice, Reclaiming Futures, Federal Sites
  • Tom Keller – OJJDP, National Mentoring Resource Center (subcontract MENTOR)
  • Marty Lowrey – ACF, Putting the Pieces Together for Oregon Youth (PPT)
  • Alma Trinidad – IES, Dimensions:  Development of an Innovative High School Curriculum of Social Justice, Youth Empowerment, and Leadership
  • Said Amali – QU, Digital Preservation of Middle East’s Historical Manuscripts
  • Rollin  Shelton – OHA, Community Integration Specialists for Recovery Outcomes (CISRO Project)
  • Mary Oschwald – SEIU, Bridge to Care:  Empowering, Connecting, Working Together for Better Health
  • Christina Nicoladis – NIH, African American IDEA:  A Community-Driven Wellness Initiative for Depression
  • Ryan Melton – PDORI, Reducing Disparities in Employment for Persons with Mental Illnesss


Here is a sampling of a few of our recent publications from the faculty and researchers in the SSW Community.

Congrats to all!!!

Bates, L., Curry-Stevens, A. & Coalition of Communities of Color (2014). The African-American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile. Portland, OR: Portland State University.

Miller, K.M., Orellana, E.R., Briggs, H.E., & Quinn, A. (in press). Influence of caregiver substance dependence and serious mental illness on children’s mental Health: Moderating effects of social support. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.

Orellana, E.R., El-Bassel, N., Gilbert, L. Miller, K M., Catania, J., Epperson, M., & Wu, E. (in press). Sex trading and other HIV risks among drug-involved men: Differential associations with childhood sexual abuse. Social Work Research.

Miller, K.M. (2014). Maternal criminal justice involvement and co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems: Examining moderation of sex and race on children’s mental health. Children and Youth Services Review, 37, 71-80.

Quinn, A., Briggs, H.E., Miller, K.M., Orellana, E.R. (2014). Social and familial determinants of health: Mediating effects of caregiver physical and mental health on children’s mental health. Children and Youth Services Review.

Miller, K.M., Anderson-Nathe, B., & Meinhold, J. (2014). Gender and culturally grounded practice. In W. Church, D.W. Springer, & A. Roberts (Eds.). Juvenile justice sourcebook: Past, present, and future. (2nd Ed.). Oxford University Press (in press).

Wahab, S., Anderson-Nathe, B., & Gringeri, C. (2014) Feminisms in Social Work Research: Promise and possibilities for justice-based knowledge. Guilford Press.

Social Work or CFS-Related (Research or Practice)

For more information about job trends in social work, check out the most recent U.S. Department of Labor statistics/projects for the field.   Special sections of this site include helpful overviews of the social work sector,mental health and substance abuse-related work,  healthcare social work,  and child/family as well as school social work.  

Oregon NASW’s Winter Newsletter includes some great resources and news including information about social work workforce data, information on strategic planning, and more.     

Higher Education

Important brief article from Inside Higher Ed discussing overall increases in state funding for higher ed in the last few years, but generally still well under what they were before the recession.  See a state by state chart showing where Oregon falls.

Curious about how the sequester has impacted academic research?  This brief piece provides an update.

What do the Presidents of Oregon’s largest public universities have to say about the higher education landscape locally? Check out this December 2013 City Club conversation among Presidents of PSU, UO, and OSU on the future of higher education in Oregon.   Worth a listen.

What if higher education was free for everyone?  Fascinating national conversation exploring this question. 
Need current information to share with students about the federal “Student Loan Forgiveness Program?”  Here is the website. 

Social Justice/Social Problems/Social Issues

Pedagogy/Student Learning

Beyond any specific discipline, what are the “work skills of the future?”  The Institute of the Future has developed the following ideas – worth a look.

Oregon Policy

Mitch Greenlick describing what is coming up in the 2014 Oregon Legislative Short Session

PSU Related

PSU Student Health Newsletter – good resources for students here.   Great to be reminded of the helpful resources we have right here in our own back yard at PSU!

Author: sswdeanconnect

Laura Nissen is Professor and Dean of the School of Social Work at Portland State University.

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